4K TV: Should You Upgrade?
You’ve been hearing about 4K TVs for a while now. And if you managed to either read about – or even attend – CES 2015 this year, you would have noticed manufacturers are pushing more than ever for the 4K experience. If you’ve taken a trip to your local electronics store, then I’m sure you’ve come across displays of these new types of TVs. People are talking about 4K – they either love it or think it’s stupid. You’re probably wondering if it’s worth the upgrade, right? And with the prices comparable to other quality TVs, the jump to a higher resolution TV might be worth it. Let’s weigh in on what 4K is really about and if it’s time to make the switch.
What is 4K Really?
In simplest terms, 4K technology (also known as 4K UHD and 2160p) means you are getting four times the resolution and four times the pixels – that’s about 8 million – than you would typically get on a standard 1080p television. What this means is the more pixel data you have, the more information you’ll receive. And more information equates to sharper pictures. And who doesn’t want to see every freckle or beauty mark on his or her favorite action figure? Certainly this isn’t a gimmick or fad, much like 3D TVs were a few years ago – and how curved TVs are right now. A higher resolution means a better picture and nobody can argue with that fact. So, why wouldn’t you step up and buy a new 4K television? Let’s look at some reasons why it might not be a good decision.
Benefiting From 4K Means a Living Room Makeover
A small, but substantial caveat to getting the full benefit of 4K technology is you need to sit really close. How close? Here’s a chart showing the viewing distances against screen size. According to most TV enthusiasts, in order to get the most enjoyment out of your 4K TV, you need to sit closer than you already are with your current TV – an average three feet closer when talking about a standard 55-60 inch television. And this might mean a complete living room makeover – or a bigger TV.
There Isn’t Enough 4K Content – But It’s Coming
When it comes to watching movies and TV shows on your 4K TV, you’ll notice there isn’t many content to choose from. Why is that? The main reason is the difficulty in delivering these big files. Since 4K has four times as many pixels, there’s four times the data to be transmitted. While this type of higher resolution isn’t exactly new, the film industry and electronic devices haven’t yet caught up – but they are going to. Ultra HD Blu-Ray players will hit stores in time for Christmas 2015, allowing you to view 4K content as well as your legacy Blu-Ray discs. And while there isn’t much 4K content available, Jeff Park, senior manager of product marketing and technology evangelisms with HDMI Licensing said,
We expect the Ultra HD BluRay release, and many content releases that will be coming this fall, to really drive content and maybe even adoption of these 4K-enabled products.
For now, Netflix and Amazon offer some 4K content, like House of Cards, but you need to have a 4K smart TV with the Netflix app directly on the TV. This means the few 4K video services that are available require you to stream your movies and TV shows online – typically over a subpar broadband connection – and, in reality, there isn’t enough Internet bandwidth to handle files that large. See, every part of the pipeline has to handle 4K video and if it doesn’t you aren’t getting the ultra high-definition 4K is all about. To combat this Samsung will be releasing a 4K movie download service that uses an Ultra HD Video pack to store all your movie content. This means you won’t have to subscribe to a service to receive ultra-sharp media. All your 4K content will be stored on Sony’s Video Pack.
What’s the Answer?
If you truly want to enjoy your 4K TV, why not wait until later this year to see what’s in store for 4K content? Of course, if you’re in need of a new television immediately, you can’t go wrong with buying a 4K TV and future proofing your investment – just realize that it may be a while before you can take full advantage of its features. Once there is enough 4K programming, you can take advantage of this new and impressive type of technology. And with your trusty SURE Universal app to change channels with, what could a person want more? Now it’s your turn – are you teaming to buy a 4K TV this year?