4K – Is it here to stay?

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4K, or Ultra HD are the names of the latest trending flat screen technologies, but are they here to stay or simply a fad?

We’ve all heard of HD and 1080p televisions which boasts a clear, high definition image with greater colour rendition, but there are still a vast amount of people and businesses which haven’t adopted this technology in their homes or businesses yet. 4K, which is only beginning to emerge, promises an even greater viewing experience with crystal clear and vibrant lifelike images.

Any televisions advertised as 4K, or Ultra HD, should have a resolution of 3840 X 2160 consisting of an incredible 8.3 million pixels. In comparison, today’s HD TV’s only consist of a ‘lousy’ two million. Now, obviously as 4K flat screen TV’s are only beginning to emerge, with the likes of Sony’s 55” KD-55X90000A retailing at £4,000, there’s a good chance the average consumer won’t see it in their home any time soon. So the question is when will we be able to affordably adopt 4K in our homes and businesses, and will it be worth the effort?

The good

4K technologies have already been rolled out in many cinemas across the world and the adoption among cinemas is accelerating with the likes of Sony pushing its 4k cinema projectors. 4k at home will undoubtable deliver the ultimate home theatre experience with the viewing quality comparable to the likes of your local cinema. LED TV, another emerging technology, complemented with a 4K resolution will deliver the sharpest and most vibrant image you have ever seen with next to perfect contrast ratios. The price of 4K TV’s and projectors, though astronomically high at the moment, are actually becoming accelerating more affordable, with the likes of Samsung launching £4,000 4K TVs, compared to prior £20,000 models. In terms of content, the likes of Sony, Netflix and YouTube are already planning 4K content delivery (in fact, with a powerful enough graphics card you can already watch some 4K clips on YouTube on your PC).

The bad

The question of how 4K content will be delivered is still unanswered. The bandwidth required for 4K transmissions is obviously much greater compared to current 1080p transmissions (which are already presenting capacity problems with broadcasting networks). Additionally, current 50GB Blu-ray disks are too small to host a feature length movie in 4K. Fortunately there is talks of 200GB Blu-ray disks launching in the future which would easily solve this problem, but that raises another question of whether these disks will be compatible with current Blu-Ray drives.

It’s probably here to stay!

As a summary, 4K will make a good investment offering you a truly cinema like experience at home (at a premium) and should be affordable in the near future with prices being reduced further and further all the time. However, many people are/have only started purchasing HDTVs and current Blu-ray players so does this mean our recent big investments are already moving towards becoming obsolete? If so then perhaps this means HD will in actual fact be a fad!

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