The term ‘4K’ is commonplace nowadays. Whether it’s 4K HDR, Ultra HD or UHDTV, there’s a ton of jargon out there ready to confuse you when it comes to buying a new telly. Things of the distant past like Blu-Ray and VHS seem like child’s play. TV technology has developed rapidly in the past 20 years, there’s no need to fight over your favourite programme anymore, everything you need is right there on your massive, super-smart TV. So why bother upgrading to the newest 4K TV? Read on to find out what 4K stands for and what to look out for when you are buying a 4K television.
Lets make it simple…
4K in it’s simplest form means 4,000. You get about 4,000 pixels across and 2,000 pixels down. You’ll get the full 4K experience in the cinema with the resolution being 4,096 x 2,160; your home cinema (UHD) experience will be a little smaller at 3,840 x 2,160. In total 4K resolution gives you a whopping 8 million pixels to watch from the comfort of your own home. This is a huge leap in comparison to your standard HD, which offers about 2 million.
With so many pixels to look at, there’s no wonder 4K gives you the best viewing experience yet. It’s sharper, it has more intricate detail and it’s bursting with true-to-life colours. And with all the smart add-ons brands such as Samsung and LG are creating, it’s unsurprising 4K is the new standard of viewing.
Why upgrade to 4K?
If you’re in the market for a car, you’re not going to go out straight away and buy a Ferrari. It’s the same with buying a TV, just because 4K TVs are out there, doesn’t mean they’ll fit your budget or your living room.
Even though 4Ks are becoming the new standard, normal HD TV (1080p) isn’t being removed from your TV channels just yet. However, buying a 4K TV will future-proof your home. It’s an investment. 4K content is constantly being released and it’s only going to get better further down the line. And with a lot of budget friendly 4K TVs being released, you’re sure to get your moneysworth whether you go for a cheaper or a more expensive model.
What 4K features to look out for…
HDR: Or High Dynamic Range is the first thing you want to look out for when buying a 4K TV. Although it’s rare they don’t come as a package deal, you should make sure that HDR is listed somewhere in the description. HDR has improved contrast ratio and colour accuracy, meaning you’ll get a richer range of natural colours and a more realistic image.
OLED: OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. It means the TV will organically emit light without the need for extra backlights in the TV. This is what makes the TV so thin, yet so bright and full of colour. OLED is next up from LCD: it’s more durable, has a lower power consumption and gives a fuller, true-to-life viewing experience.
QLED: This is Samsung‘s answer to OLED. The Q in QLED stands for Quantum Dot. A thin layer of these Quantum Dots are placed in front of the lights in the TV and create seriously strong colour for you to enjoy. Take it one step further with their Neo QLED, which have thinner Dot’s, creating a more vibrant contrast between the darks and lights.
How much 4K content is out there?
With the world of 4K TV getting bigger everyday, the demand for 4K content is high. If you’re 4K ready, there’s a lot of popular, well-known brands that you can stream 4K content from. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix and many more offer a massive range of movies and TV shows. If you’re in the UK, there’s some particularly good free 4K content out there for you to watch.
There’s also a number of 4K streaming boxes out there for you to get your hands on. The Amazon Fire TV Cube, Apple TV Smart Box and Chromecast with Google TV are affordable hubs where you can get all the 4K content you need. And with all these streaming giants launching 4K content, there’s sure to be more readily available in the future.
When it comes to gaming, 1080p has always been the champion. To a lot of gamers, a TV is just a TV. It’s something you can play your game on. But with new consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, they’re designed to be played with a 4K set. It’ll improve your gaming experience.
Playing on 4K means you’ll get magnificent detail and a better refresh rate. The refresh rate refers to how many images are shown on the screen in one second. 120Hz is new with 4K and 8K TVs. It’ll give you smoother gameplay, improving the motion of your graphics and giving you an advantage in the playing field.
What’s Next for 4K?
TV technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade. And even though 4K seems like the next big thing, it’s big brother 8K is already here to show you more insane colours and details. It’ll cost you a pretty penny, and there’s not a huge amount of optimised content out there yet, but you’ll certainly have bragging rights for a few years to come. Of course we’re not all rich, so you might want to opt for QLED or OLED model that will serve you better in the imminent future. 4K has a refreshingly beautiful display and hundreds of interesting features that will keep you entertained for years to come.