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What is 4K TV?

The 4K TVs are about to change how you see, well, everything. Currently under production by all the big names, like Sony, LG and Panasonic, these wonder machines are the next step in visual technology. While the first products are televisions, this is a snowball effect that will eventually grow to cover and transform all aspects of technological life, from gaming to cameras.


Why “4K”?


The lovingly applied name “4K” refers to the pixel width of the screen. While 1080 screens were named after their height, 2160p just wasn’t as catchy or marketable as “4K.”


What is 4K?


In its simplest form, 4K means more pixels. Estimates put the count around 8 million. In just a single upgrade, the old 1080p screens are now four times smaller than what can fit in a new screen. If that is hard to understand, imagine your screen like a grid. Each pixel takes up a square. A 1080p by 1920p screen has 1080 pixels going up and 1920 pixels going across. Should they be condensed to fit inside the new 4K, they would only occupy a quarter of the screen.


Why does this matter?


To understand this, set your computer settings to 800 by 600. Now switch it back to 1080 by 1920. See the difference? The biggest reason this matters is that it revolutionizes how much data and detail can fit onto a screen. Unfortunately, this does not translate to physical size nor mind-blowing difference. As you upgraded from the old CRT to the new flatscreen, the clarity and sharpness was stunning. There was also the factor that the screens jumped in size as well. This time, the size is not changing much, meaning the only visible difference is the enhanced sharpness. This, of course, is provided you are even watching something formatted for 4K and are seated close enough.


What does proximity have to do with anything?


The term “retina” covers this. Basically, there is a set distance you can sit away from a TV where your eyes can no longer determine the different pixels. This logically means that the smaller the pixels are, the closer you have to be to the television to be able to tell them apart. With the 4K, this means you can sit even closer without breaking the illusion. A closer screen means much more immersion. Because of this, 4K computer screen production has been skyrocketing. With images that stay sharp no matter your distance from the screen, gamers are losing their minds with excitement.


What is UHD?


Since we are on the topic of 4K screens, it would be remiss to simply ignore the UHD term being thrown around by those that think themselves technical savants. Basically, UHD simply means ultra high definition. Anything higher than a 3840 by 2160 screen is a UHD. This term is a catchall for every resolution above that mark, including 8K.


What is 8K?


8K is the next generation after this next generation tech becomes available to the masses. It will double the 4K amount and fit in about 32 million pixels. However, do not wait for this one to hit the stores for Christmas. These TVs are still in a very early period and are only really useful for places like theaters. In addition, each one is custom built which is not affordable by the regular person. Finally, no one makes 8K content, and I think we all remember how long it took even basic cable to switch everything over to plain old HD when that happened.


What’s a 4K OLED?


Organic light emitting diodes are stunning lighting devices that enhance the colors and the price tag. Currently, the main issue this technology has is its price. LG has created a 4K OLED, but again, they are just not feasible purchases for the average home these companies are selling to.


Where’s the 4K content?


Truth be told, there is not much right now. Since four times more information can be fit into a single frame of a single show, compounding that into an entire program that airs without any glitches is still a tad tricky for TV providers. Luckily, though, Blu-ray is already in the works standardizing 4K movies, and experts report that the 2015 holiday season will feature the first 4K discs. If you’re looking for content now, check out Sony’s Video Unlimited or Netflix. Certain shows are available in 4K for certain TV brands as they test out the new technology.


Should I get one now?


The choice is yours and yours alone. 4K is still the premium screen and, as such, is at premium pricing. If you can’t go without the best, go for it. However, if you don’t mind waiting for the price to fall and content to come out, there is no need to spend the money now.