The Ultimate FAQs for 4K TV and Ultra HD TV
Baffled by 4K TVs? Not sure what they are or why you should get one? You’ve come to the right place. Your friends at Finlux have put together the ultimate guide to 4K, and what this resolution standard means for the quality of the images you can view. So sit down, put your feet up, and discover everything you need to know about this exciting development in the world of televisions.
Back to basics: what is resolution?
When we talk about resolution in this guide we’re talking about the number of horizontal rows of pixels and vertical columns of pixels on a flat-panel display.
What is 4K TV?
4K, also known as Ultra HD, refers to a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. To give you an idea of what that means, a full HD TV has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. 4k resolution then, gives you a resolution 4 times that of a full HD television.
What is UHD TV? - Are 4K and Ultra High Definition are the same?
Yes and no. Strictly speaking 4K describes the 4096x2160 resolution that was first used in digital cinemas. Ultra HD refers to the 3840x2160 resolution you'll find in 16:9 ratio TVs; the TVs that you have in your home. However 4K and Ultra HD, or UHD, are used interchangeably in relation to domestic TVs. So whether you see a television described as 4K or as UHD, it’ll mean the same thing.
If you want to read all the minute 4K resolution detail Wikipedia has a breakdown here.
What does this mean for picture quality?
Put simply the higher the resolution, the better the picture on the screen will be. Let’s go back to basics. The image on an HD Ready TV is made up of just 720 rows of pixels. Go up in resolution to Full HD 1080p and you’ll get 1080 pixels. Then up again to 4K UHD and you’re looking at a massive 2160.
Rows of pixels only refer to one component of resolution of course. 3840x2160 4K TVs not only have double the number of pixels horizontally, but also vertically, which is where the fourfold increase in pixels come from. The more pixels, the more information on the screen, making the pictures sharper, with greater texture depth and an almost photographic smoothness; bringing you a better viewing experience.
You’ve probably already seen the difference between standard definition and Full HD TVs, and already know how much better the picture is. Well 4K TVs take those improvements even further. 4 times as far in fact!
Shouldn’t I wait for 8K TVs?
Well you could, but you may be in for a very, very long wait. 8K is the next resolution standard up from 4K. Doubling the pixel height and width to yield approximately 32 million pixels, it certainly ups the picture quality, however 8K TVs are really still at the concept stage with many industry experts suggesting that there will be no broadcast content for 8K TVs before 2020, and that will only be in Japan! Some industry experts have even expressed doubt that we’ll ever see 8K fully rolled out beyond professional movie theatres. So while you may hear a lot of noise about developments in 8K, don’t expect to see domestic TVs for a good few years yet: if at all…
What are 2K TV & 2.5K TV then?
It’s a term that never caught on from the movie projection industry, basically any display that has a resolution of around 2,000 pixels. Full HD TVs at 1920x1080 pixels qualifies as 2K, but no one calls it that!
2.5K TV isn’t a TV isn’t a television format at all; the TV industry skipped it altogether. On PCs and laptops there are many screens at the resolution 2560x1600 (2.5k). This makes a big difference when working with a spreadsheet, or having two documents open, but on a TV looks very little different to Full HD, so TVs went straight to 4K, which looks massively higher resolution.
Will there be anything to watch?
Yes! Don’t forget all standard definition & Full HD broadcasts can be watched on a 4K TV.
Most production companies and broadcasters have adjusted to work with 4K technology in order to bring you the best viewing experience possible. This means that more and more, high quality content is being produced on a daily basis. And there are loads of options if you want to experience the great picture quality: from films and TV programmes to computer games. So let’s take a look at some of those options.
If you’ve got a Sky Q box, or are thinking of upgrading to one, you may already have noticed that 4K content is available. From sports to documentaries, to great dramas like The Blacklist there’s a wide range of programmes available on Sky Q with on-demand movies and Sky Cinema options also offered.
Find out more about Sky 4K TV
BT & BT Sport
BT now has an entire channel broadcasting in 4K. BT Sport 4K UHD shows Premier League football, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup matches, in addition to other sports such as Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and Moto GP races.
Find out more about BT 4K TV
Virgin Media have just launched their new TV V6 4K UHD TiVo box in time for Christmas 2016. This 4K UHD ready box centralises content from Virgin TV, Catch Up, On Demand, Netflix1 (depending on your subscriptions) and more with the push of a button on the V6 remote, or through the Virgin TV Anywhere app.
Find out more about Virgin 4K TV
The Netflix subscription on-demand service offers an increasing range of 4K content. TV shows such as Breaking Bad and House of Cards are available, as are movies like The Da Vinci Code. There are also documentaries, and, like other services, content is being added all the time.
Find out about Netflix 4k Streaming
Amazon Prime Instant Video & Amazon Fire TV 4K
Offered as a stand-alone subscription service or as part of Amazon Prime membership, this service provides unlimited streaming of films and TV shows. Once again as more 4K TV programmes and movies become available, more are being added to the platform.
Amazon Prime Video Benefits
Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD lets you watch HD & 4K content without needing to connect your laptop or PC to the TV. Connect the setup box via HDMI to your TV and to the internet using Wi-Fi or Ethernet & away you go.
See Amazon Fire TV 4K
Available now in time for Christmas, the new Chromecast Ultra plugs straight into your 4K UHD TV to allow you to stream 4K content accessed via your computer or mobile device. Select what you want to watch, then your mobile or computer will tell Chromecast what you’ve chosen and it will be streamed directly from the web onto your TV.
Read about & order Chromecast Ultra
If movies are your thing you may want to think about getting a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. If you do you’ll be able to play a load of top films on your 4K TV, including blockbusters like Deadpool and The Revenant.
Read more about Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD
Sony PS4 Pro
The newly released Sony PS4 Pro brings 4K Ultra HD quality to gaming via upscaling content. This won’t only apply to new games. Sony is releasing upgrade patches for a number of existing PS4 games, including favourites like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy and The Elders Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. There is also access to 4K subscription streaming content.
Explore PS4 Pro
Xbox One S
Not to be outdone, Microsoft has launched a 4K Ultra HD version of their console, the Xbox One S. With 4K streaming via Netflix & Amazon Video, plus Ultra HD Blu-ray, this console upscales all content to native 4K, including existing games, apps and video.
See the Xbox One S in detail
YouTube also has a number of 4K videos for you to watch. As long as you’ve got the right TV you’re away.
Search YouTube for 4k content
Do I need to know anything else?
There are just a couple of technical things you need to know to help you get started with your 4K UHD TV.
Will you need a special HDMI cable?
While a standard HDMI 1.4 connection can deliver 4K video, it can only transfer data at up to 10.2Gbgps. In other words, up to 30 frames a second. HDMI 2.0, in comparison, increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps, bringing you almost double the amount of frames (50 to 60) per second.
Bear in mind that the HDMI cable is only a transmitting device for the 4K content to your TV, so you’ll need to make sure that both ends of your entertainment chain (your Blu-ray player and your TV for example) support the standard.
All Finlux 4K TVs have a built-in HDMI 2.0 port, which allows you to watch content on 4K Blu-ray players or other 4K sources in as premium quality as possible.
What about Internet speed?
If you’re accessing content on any of the services that use an Internet connection to deliver data, streaming services such as Netflix and other services like BT Sport 4K UHD for instance, you’ll want to ensure that your bandwidth is up to the job. The amount of information necessary to produce fantastic 4K Ultra HD pictures means that you require a download speed of 25 Megabits per second for most services. Finlux Smart 4K TVs come with built in Wi-Fi so as long as your Internet speed is OK, getting connected couldn’t be easier.