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4K Ultra HD TV

The brilliant new way to watch TV


4K Ultra HD TV graph

What is 4K Ultra HD TV?

4K Ultra HD TVs offer four times the resolution of 1080p HDTVs (twice as many pixels in each direction, horizontally and vertically). The decreased pixel size of 4K UHD TVs dramatically improves picture clarity. Meanwhile, 4K Ultra HD's deeper, broader color palette makes everything you watch more vibrant and lifelike, giving you a phenomenal viewing experience.

If you're interested in an amazing home theater experience, keep reading to find out what you need to know about 4K Ultra HD TV.

4K Ultra HD TV Technology

The technology for 4K Ultra HD TV had to be developed from scratch. So not only did manufacturers need to build a video device capable of displaying the higher resolution, they also needed cameras that were able to record the content. A camera manufacturer called RED built a camera that can shoot video with the higher bit rate required to capture 4K UHD TV's finer resolution and broader color gamut. Resolution is made up of tiny picture elements called pixels. The pixel count for 4K Ultra HD is 3840 x 2160, compared to 1080p HD at 1920 x 1080. (The "4K" that Ultra HD TV is paired with represents an approximation of the horizontal pixel count.)

4K Ultra HD TV graph

How can they fit all those pixels into one screen? Special cameras, like the one developed by RED, are used to record a movie or TV show in 4K Ultra HD TV. The content is then electronically compressed to allow the large amount of data to be transmitted more efficiently. An advanced processor within the TV receives the compressed data and restores it to its original 4K UHD TV format for display. Even with lower-resolution signals like 1080p HD, your 4K Ultra HD TV can upconvert the resolution, intelligently filling in the missing pixels to create the Ultra HD experience.

What Does OLED Mean?

4K Ultra HD TVs are already available with LCD and LED displays, and now we'll begin to see them with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays, as well. The OLED option will arguably provide the best possible picture. OLED technology is lightweight, superthin and gives you crisp, vivid color from wider viewing angles than either LED or LCD displays.

How 3D Works with 4K Ultra HD TV

Most 4K Ultra HD TVs include support for 3D that looks better than ever. Passive 3D technology is widely used by 4K UHD TV manufacturers because each eye will see a full 1080p image. With a full 1080p picture for each eye, you experience greater detail and less eye fatigue. In addition, passive 3D glasses are lightweight and cost much less than active glasses.

Finding the Right Cables for 4K Ultra HD TV

The primary factors affecting an HDMI cable's ability to provide a picture are the amount of data being sent and the length of the cable. 4K Ultra HD takes up much more bandwidth — four times as much, to be exact. This means the cable needs to handle four times more data, and your picture quality will diminish with the length of your cable. HDMI cables still play a vital role in your 4K Ultra HD home theater, which is why choosing a high quality cable will make a big difference.

Industry recommendations provided by AudioQuest and Atlona.

What Does the Future of 4K Ultra HD TV hold?

4K Ultra HD TV graph

One of the best things about 4K Ultra HD TVs is they can upconvert your current HD picture to near 4K UHD for a phenomenal viewing experience. While the amount of "true 4K" content is now limited, that will begin to change rapidly as more 4K Ultra HD TVs enter the market.

The advancement of Ultra HD cameras provides the opportunity for many more TV shows and movies to be recorded and edited in 4K Ultra HD. Also, starting in May, 2013, a number of Sony Pictures Blu-ray discs optimized for 4K Ultra HDTVs (labeled "Mastered in 4K") became available, and more have followed since then. And if you have a camera that shoots 8 megapixels or more, you're already recording 4K Ultra HD content.

Because 4K Ultra HD uses more bandwidth, it will take some time for broadcasters to catch up. A few networks around the world are starting the trend, such as a network in Europe called EUTELSAT that is broadcasting via satellite in 4K Ultra HD. And DIRECTV has already trademarked five different 4K Ultra HD channels; 4K, 4KN, 4KNet, 4K Network, and 4KNetwork.