Remember when you got your first HD television in your home and it felt like you just stepped into a new world of home entertainment? By now you may have heard that your HDTV you fell in love with is no longer the latest and greatest. You may find yourself wondering if it is too soon to make the jump to an Ultra high-definition television (also known as Ultra HD television or UHDTV).
Currently, an HDTV with 1080p resolution will give you a well-defined picture, but an Ultra HDTV allows for a 2160p viewing experience by doubling the amount of vertical pixels on the screen. This amped up resolution is commonly known as 4K and eventually there will be 8K (4320p) televisions as well.
Due to lack of available content, 4K compatible technology has yet to be prevalent in the mass market. Television stations have just begun to consider recording in 4K format and so television content providers do not yet have Ultra HD channels. This makes feeding an Ultra HD device a bit challenging. You could consider using a device that will boost the signal up to Ultra HD standards so that your home theater can be a step ahead. Many higher end Blu-ray players and home theater audio amplifiers now include the capability to “up convert” the content to take advantage of these new TVs that support 2160p.
The television world isn’t the only one impacted by Ultra HD—the 2160p resolution has made it to computer hardware as well. Asus has released the PQ321 4K monitor which is sure to turn some heads in the gaming world when paired with a Radeon HD 7990 or NVIDIA Titan graphics card. Soon the Dell UltraSharp 32 will follow giving PC gearheads something to save up for. The new generation of console games (such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4) both support the 2160p resolution for video playback. I am personally interested to see how it changes my gaming experience.
But, the question of whether or not now is the time to upgrade depends on three factors:
1. Your vision capabilities. Some people may not be able to see the difference between 1080p and a 4k television due to the physical limitations of their eyes. There is nothing today’s technology can do to overcome that barrier, but it means that it might not be worth the expense to upgrade.
2. The size of your TV can most certainly bring value to this technology. It is likely you will not see the Ultra HD difference on TV under 55” or so. The difference will be very clear on an 80” or 100” screen. If you are only in the market for a 40” – 46” TV, then 1080p will likely suffice.
3. Your technology budget should probably be the biggest factor in the decision. If you don’t have access to a money tree, you might not think an upgrade like this is worth your while. After all, you might have other things to can spend that hard earned cash on.
One more note about the new 4K TVs: If you stand up close to a new Ultra HD screen you will be amazed, but the truth is people normally sit around 6 to 9 feet away from their home television. The wow factor diminishes quite a bit at that distance.
I find myself in my local electronics gadget dealer gazing at one of these devices about 2 feet from the screen with a 14K price tag thinking, “I have to get one!” Honestly, if I had less of a limited cash flow I would have it in my home theater now. However for me only the smaller screen versions of these TVs are within my reach, and I don’t feel the real Ultra HD rewards exist in those sizes. If you are in the market for a really large screen in excess of 80 inches, this is something you have to see before making your final decision. It just may be the next standard in large format televisions.
Guest blogger: Mike Manley
Mike Manley is an associate manager at TDS providing technical support and system administration for the internal contact center applications including the automated call distribution (ACD) system. Mike has interests in everything involving technology and has a background in computer repair as well as audio and electronics engineering. His favorite hobbies include home theater, custom built computers, new gadgetry and attending live music events. When Mike isn’t working you can find him at a concert, researching technology, or playing computer games.