What is 4k resolution?
Lately TV’s with 4k resolution are trending, but what does 4k means? Originally 4k is a professional production and cinema standard. It defines how 4k content is encode. Furthermore it refers to 4k resolution, to be exact to the horizontal pixel count, which is almost four thousand (4096 to be precise).
The industry is using mostly the term 4k in context with their products, probably for marketing reasons. This is not always right because for example a 4k TV or 4k monitor has only (horizontal) 3840 pixels. For TV they also use the term UHD, what stands for Ultra High Definition. Anyway it looks like the term 4k is established now because the industry is using this term now for almost all of their products. So I will use the term 4k from now on to keep things simple, although technical it will not always be right to use it.
4k TV, what’s all the fuss about?
Well see it like this. If you do not have the correct glass strength, your sight probably get less sharper. So when you get the correct glass strength, you will see much sharper.
In fact this also happens with 4k resolution. To illustrate, let’s say you have now a common HD TV. With a 4k TV you will get four time more pixels and therefore more definition. Not to mention more detail and a much more sharper image. The only problem is that you will need a bigger TV screen and/or sit up closer to the TV, to make it all more noticeable. You don’t want to sit closer than let’s say 8 feet to the TV? Well you should buy at least an 65inch 4k TV, as you can see in image 1.
Maybe a solution would be to go for a 4k projector, though you do need a big wall in your living room. Problem is that 4k projectors are just getting commercial and are a bit pricy at the moment. If money is not a problem, just have a look at my review of 4k projectors (read it here) on the market now. If you still are looking for the best 4k TV deals, just read my review about 4k TV deals (read it here). Let’s have a look now at LED LCD, OLED and QLED.
The most televisions with 4k resolution are now equipped with LED LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology. This is the successor to LCD, which uses LED lighting instead of a backlight. This makes the TV flat and energy efficient, what is always a good point.
Beside resolution, there is another important aspect of picture quality called contrast ratio. Contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest part of the image and the brightest. It is giving the image depth, punch, and is one of the main factors in making an image seem more real. The 4k TVs with LED LCD screens, have most of the time a limited contrast ratio. So it was waiting for a new development and it arrived!
OLED is using a different technology because OLED pixels produce their own light. This is in contrary of LED LCD because it uses LED light as a backlight to illuminate their pixels. In that way the contrast on an OLED display is way higher. Does that make OLED better? Well for sure OLED is better in handling darkness and it’s lighting precision. Though LED LCD has the ability to go brighter and still maintaining colour at bright levels. One thing is for sure at this moment an OLED TV is more expensive than LCD TV. Yet prices are going down and it looks like OLED is getting the momentum. If budget is not a problem, I personally would go for an OLED 4k TV. At the end the best way is to go to a shop and see it yourself.
Wondering which TV manufacturers are using OLED? At this moment you choose between LG OLED TV, Sony OLED TV and Panasonic OLED TV. There is no Samsung OLED TV, because Samsung decided it was to difficult to make and therefore to expensive to produce. Are you looking for an OLED monitor for your computer? There are not many OLED monitors yet, but if you are looking for one, you should definitely go for the Dell 30 UltraSharp OLED Monitor | UP3017Q, as the first OLED computer monitor. Since early 2016 you can also buy an OLED laptop.
OLED vs. LED
Why is OLED getting more popular than LCD? There are a couple of reasons, like:
- The picture quality of OLED is much better with faster refresh rates, better viewing angles and infinite contrast;
- OLED consumes less power, because only lit pixels draw energy;
- OLED can be made more flexible and transparant;
- It’s possible to make OLED much thinner and lighter than LCD. Have a look at the new LG OLED77W7P to get an impression.
Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes abbreviated QLED is a technology, like OLED, that is not using a backlight unit. Simply put, QLED is a combination of OLED (the leds emit light itself) and quantum dot (a layer of nano-crystals for wider color range and higher brightness in LCD televisions). The benefits of QLED: lower production costs, longer-lasting televisions, and more color display. This is because no organic material is used, as in OLED. It is in fact an improved LED technology. Having said that, QLED TV in 2017 is just another LCD TV in another jacket. Unfortunately Samsung QLED TV doesn’t really contain QLED technology yet. Samsung is using the term QLED probably for marketing reasons.
QLED vs. OLED
You may ask yourself what should I choose? Well it depends on what is important for you, like for example colour volume or motion blur. Below you will see a comparision of the both on how they score on different aspects.
As you can see for yourself, overall OLED beats QLED, but if different aspects are more important for you, you could choose for a QLED TV as well.
You may ask yourself, is there even more after all this? The answer to that question is yes! Let’s have a look at HDR (High Dynamic Range).
One of the big TV features of 2017 is probably HDR. This is a number of improvements that allows more detail in darker parts of the image, deeper blacks and brighter whites and better colour reproduction. On the whole a wider range for contrast and colour. Just bought a 4k HDR TV and asking yourself if there is already HDR content? Yes, for example on Netflix you can watch for Marco Polo in HDR. Point of attention is that you need HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) 2.0a, otherwise the current standard does not recognize the HDR content. By the way HDMI 2.0a is the latest standard in video and audio through a single cable. The good news is that HDMI 2.0a is probably to be made available through a firmware update to most 4k TVs with HDMI 2.0 minimum. Though this is depending on manufacturers and their system designs.
4k resolution and the future
In 2014 I bought my first 4k TV with LED LCD. In those days there was not much 4k products and 4k content, so most of the time my 4k TV was upscaling the HD content. This is not what you want! Now 3 years later you see 4k already back in a lot of products. You have 4k streaming, 4k TV, 4k monitor, 4k wallpaper, movie 4k, 4k games, 4k cameras, 4k videos and so on. So if you like it or not, 4k is coming!
Next time I also want to write something about 8k resolution and how soon we will see it in new products. Let me know if you would like a blog about this subject.
I hope you have now a beter concept about 4k resolution. If you look for the best 4k products in the market right now, have a look at my reviews. Also don’t forget to like me, I would appreciate that.