Just what is Ultra HD and 4K television?
This year we will see the arrival of the next generation of television. But what exactly is Ultra HD and 4k and why is it going to be the ‘next big thing’?
It’s only a few years since the great wave of HD reached our shores and showed us just how terrible our televisions were. Other technology fell in line and eventually we were left squinting at our old CRT sets struggling to play video games or failing to read subtitles clearly. Ultra HD 4K has been tipped to have the same effect.
There is a marginal difference between Ultra HD and 4K however and this lies in the display resolution. Ultra HD has a resolution of 3840 x 2160, whereas a 4K television refers to anything with around 4,000 horizontal pixels, often 4090 x 2160. The current generation of HD TVs are running on a resolution of 1920 x 1080 often called “1080p”, making the new generation technology exactly four times higher, richer and clearer than the current models.
But just what do all these numbers mean? Put very simply, the more pixels the better. When you increase the number you can get a greater level of detail and clarity, making lines crisper and angles sharper. The diagram below shows this in a simplified form, though the principle is the same.
Movies are already filmed in 4K and higher, but television is a different thing. The country at the forefront of Ultra HD broadcasts television is South Korea, but the rest of the world is hot on its heels. The BBC have said that they will start filming some of their documentaries and Wimbledon footage in Ultra HD and the in the US Sony Pictures are already filming their programmes in 4K.
The televisions are due to start arriving on shelves this summer, however you may need to brace your bank account for the impact. New tech isn’t cheap. Sony will be launching 55-inch and 65-inch models with the smaller of the two set to be priced at the rather ironic price of £4,000.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony
Pixel diagram: Indra Wignall
For further information you visit the official Sony website here.