The future of television has arrived. 4K Ultra HD TVs offer four times the picture resolution of 1080p HDTVs. Plus, all of the 4K TVs at Best Buy do a superb job of upscaling the movies and TV shows you currently watch to near-4K Ultra HD quality.
What is 4K Ultra HD TV?
4K TV. UHD TV. Ultra HD TV. Ultra High-Definition TV. 4K Ultra HD TV. 4K UHD TV. It can get confusing, but they're actually all the same thing. Within this guide, we'll mostly be using "4K Ultra HD TV" and "4K TV," but keep in mind there isn't a set term that all manufacturers are using.
4K TVs display 4K content at 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall (2160p TV). That's over eight million pixels per image, compared to just over two million pixels for a 1080p TV (1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels tall).
Beyond the technical details, this means the images you see will be incredibly realistic, with a level of detail you have to experience for yourself. Objects in the distance will appear with much greater clarity. Shadow and light will be more nuanced, black tones will be blacker, white tones will be whiter, and the entire picture will look sharper and have a greater sense of depth. 4K TVs with High Dynamic Range (HDR) will make your pixels look even better, with a dramatically wider range of colors and contrast.
If you're wondering where the term "4K" comes from, UHD specifications used in Hollywood films are slightly different (4,096 pixels wide). So "4K" was a convenient way to describe technology with a specification so close to 4,000. UHD TVs require the slightly smaller 3,840 pixels wide to fit more properly on a television, but the "4K" term has stuck.
Upscaling to 4K Quality
In addition to the rapidly growing amount of content already available in 4K resolution, 4K Ultra HD TVs make even your current movies and TV shows look fantastic. This is because of advanced video processing chips that upscale all of your content to near-4K Ultra HD quality.
Best Buy is committed to carrying only 4K TVs that have demonstrated the finest upscaling. This is an impressive feature, and you'll definitely want to try it out in our stores.
Take Your Picture to the Next Level with High Dynamic Range
While 4K Ultra HD TVs give you many more pixels than 1080p TVs, High Dynamic Range (HDR) is what makes those pixels look dramatically better, delivering real-life color, clarity and contrast.
High Dynamic Range gives you a wider and richer range of colors, with brighter whites, and deeper, darker blacks. It also increases the range of your contrast, as HDR preserves details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture (details that are usually lost in Standard Dynamic Range TVs).
Not all 4K Ultra HD TVs that claim HDR or to be HDR compatible will offer the fullest benefit in picture quality. In some cases, it may simply mean the TVs will be able to play HDR content, but the picture quality won't improve. You can be assured that Best Buy will help you understand the benefits of High Dynamic Range and which TV is right for you.
Overall, High Dynamic Range is a feature to strongly consider, as 4K TVs with HDR deliver a wonderfully true-to-life, dynamic look and feel.
What 4K content is currently available?
There's been a revolution happening in the movie business for a number of years now. Hollywood has been filming the majority of their big-budget films in 4K Ultra HD (moving away from 35mm film), and an increasing number of movie theaters are projecting in 4K. In addition, more and more TV shows are starting to film in 4K Ultra HD, so there is actually a large archive of great 4K content out there. The real question is how it will be delivered to your UHD TV in the coming years.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Players and Discs
With the release of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players, your options for viewing great 4K content at home have increased. 4K Blu-ray discs have massive storage capacity, so they have enough space to store uncompressed video. This allows the quality to be preserved from the original source to your TV screen. Learn more about how you can enjoy four times as many pixels as Full HD for vivid colors and the crisp contrast of High Dynamic Range video.
Plus, if you're a gamer, you can now play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies on some gaming consoles.
Streaming 4K Content
Overall, we're seeing a big push to release 4K content. Netflix provides 4K streams of titles, including the television shows House of Cards and Breaking Bad for UHD TVs with HEVC/H.265 built in (all UHD TVs at Best Buy will have this capability). Amazon Instant Video delivers original content shot in 4K, as well as titles like Hitch and the Orphan Black TV series. Vimeo has an expanding collection of downloadable 4K clips and videos. And newer app-based services like UltraFlix and FandangoNOW let you stream 4K movies, concerts and television shows for a growing number of UHD TVs. And finally, YouTube offers a wide range of free 4K content, including videos on travel, nature and more.
4K Streaming Media Players
Roku Ultra, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast Ultra and NVIDIA SHIELD all have 4K streaming capabilities built in. In addition to 4K streaming, all of these players offer a wide selection of apps, streamlined user interfaces, full gaming options and more.
Plus, select gaming consoles offer 4K streaming capabilities.
PlayStation 4 Pro: PS4 Pro enhances PS4 games by supporting the latest in imaging technology through 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR), as well as smoother frame rates. Games that already look extraordinary on PS4 will look richer and more detailed, thanks to the more powerful GPU and faster CPU at the heart of PS4 Pro. Even if you own an HDTV that does not support either 4K or HDR, PS4 Pro still runs games in 1080p resolution, and some will even run in a higher or more stable framerate.
Plus, you can use the PS4 Pro to enjoy up to 4K streaming and 4K auto-upscaling for your favorite video content.* With more pixels, 4K's higher resolution delivers graphics that are sharper and have greater detail than ever imagined. HDR delivers visuals that look much closer to the way your eyes see the real world.
Xbox One S: Experience richer, more luminous colors in games like Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3. With a higher contrast ratio between lights and darks, High Dynamic Range technology brings out the true visual depth of your games.**
And you can go beyond gaming with the Xbox One S when you stream 4K video on Netflix and Amazon Video, and watch UHD Blu-ray movies in stunning 4K Ultra HD. With four times the resolution of standard HD, 4K Ultra HD delivers the clearest, most realistic video possible.
*Compatible 4K display required as well as subscription to 4K-compatible content streaming service. PS4 Pro does not support 4K Blu-ray Discs. PS4 Pro provides auto-upscaling for standard Blu-ray Discs. **HDR functionality available with supported games and TVs.
4K Cable and Satellite Providers
Television service providers are rolling out 4K titles on demand and upgrading set-top boxes to be 4K ready. You can watch TV shows like Chicago Fire and Suits with Comcast's XFINITY in UHD app on select Samsung UHD TVs, and XFINITY has also announced their X1 Platform set-top box for 4K content. DISH Network has On Demand 4K content with their new Hopper 3 and 4K Joey set-top boxes, with more content being added all the time.
DIRECTV offers a rotating selection of 4K movies, which can be viewed with the Genie HD DVR (Model HR54) on a DIRECTV 4K-ready TV or a 4K Genie Mini (Model C61K). In addition, DIRECTV is the first pay TV provider in the United States to offer a fully UHD TV channel, delivering 4K programming 24/7. Learn more about DIRECTV's 4K options.
In short, there's a huge amount of 4K content available right now, with even more planned for the near future.
Create Your Own 4K Content
The amount of available 4K content continues to grow, and so is the number of devices you can use to create your own 4K content at home. High-end video cameras and camcorders are available to capture everything from your latest film project to your family's special moments in 4K. Drones can take photos and record footage from overhead, allowing for magnificent views that would otherwise be impossible to capture, and several drones come equipped with 4K cameras. Plus, many smartphones can now capture images in 4K resolution. Learn more about the various types of tech that allow you to create your own 4K content.
Not All 4K TVs Are Created Equal
While this advancement in TV technology is very exciting, some manufacturers may release TVs with less developed technology at discounted prices. That's why it's important to understand the technologies within your 4K Ultra HD TV, whether they'll allow you to stay up to date as 4K standards change, and whether they'll allow you to watch all available content in 4K now and in the future.
- All 4K Ultra HD TVs at Best Buy will be equipped with HEVC/H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding). This allows the demanding size of 4K content to be compressed and streamed over the Internet. This is critically important, because for now, most 4K content can only be streamed or downloaded. In addition, all Netflix 4K content requires HEVC to be built into the TV.
- Upscaling the picture quality of all your current movies and TV shows to near-4K Ultra HD quality is a fantastic feature, and Best Buy is committed to carrying 4K Ultra HD TVs that offer the finest upscaling.
- All 4K Ultra HD TVs at Best Buy have HDCP 2.2 installed, which will ensure you can view all 4K content now and in the future.
- We recommend an HDMI cable with 4K and HDR support (or a minimum bandwidth rating of 18Gbps) for the best performance with your new 4K TV.
Overall, you can purchase your 4K Ultra HD TV with confidence at Best Buy. All of our current 4K TVs have passed our strict requirements for a high-quality 4K picture, premier upscaling of content, and the ability to display all available 4K content today and in the future.
LED or OLED?
All 4K Ultra HD TVs use one of these display panel types. Depending on the TV manufacturer, you can also choose either a flat-panel or curved screen.
The majority of 4K TVs currently use LED (light-emitting diode) panels. They are also the most popular HDTV type on the market, delivering excellent overall picture quality. They often have very thin profiles, allowing for easy placement in any viewing space. LED TVs are actually part of the LCD TV family, with the LEDs providing advanced edge lighting or backlighting.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) 4K TVs offer an extremely high degree of color accuracy, great contrast, wide viewing angles and a picture that is virtually blur-free. Each one of the millions of pixels is individually illuminated, producing true blacks, whites and a brilliant range of colors. Images are processed in a similar fashion to plasma TVs, which makes them ideal for viewing sports and action movies. OLED technology also allows for extraordinarily thin screens.
Sit Closer to a 4K TV
The pixel density is so great on 4K Ultra HD TVs that you can move extremely close to the screen without sacrificing picture quality. For 4K TVs, the minimum "unofficial" recommended viewing distance is one and a half times the height of the TV screen (compared with three times the height for HDTVs). So for a 65" class TV with a screen height of 35", you can sit as close as 4.5 feet away for an incredibly immersive experience.
Since you can sit closer to the screen, 4K makes it possible to "go bigger" with your screen size, adding to the overall immersion. Most 4K Ultra High-Definition TVs are very large (the main selection at Best Buy falls between 55" and 85" class). While 4K looks great in any size, you’ll see the biggest difference on larger screens, as the impact of the pixel density will be at its most impressive.
Keep Your Connection Up to Speed
Whether you're streaming 4K shows on Netflix or downloading 4K clips from Vimeo, you'll need adequate Internet speeds to ensure crisp, seamless viewing. Internet speeds of 25 Mbps are optimal for the large file sizes required for 4K content. If you're looking to upgrade your connection, Best Buy offers a wide selection of providers and plans so you can find the optimal connection for your needs. And if your networking hardware has outlived multiple generations of your other devices, consider upgrading your router for a faster, more secure connection. Choose one that allows you to set device priorities, giving your 4K TV viewing precedence over your tablet or phone.
Prices Are More Affordable
With the large quantity of 4K UHD TVs now available, Best Buy's selection of 4K TVs is more affordable than ever. Plus, Best Buy will match prices of identical products sold at qualifying online and local retailers.
More 4K Ultra HD Products
Want to know more? Whether you're interested in learning about making the leap to 4K, or you want to shop for 4K products like TVs, camcorders, Blu-ray players, smartphones and more, we've created an online hub for all your 4K needs.
Are You 4K Ready? We Are.
Let us show you the difference
Words can only go so far in telling the 4K Ultra HD TV story. Visit your local Best Buy store to see these amazing TVs in person and speak with one of our home theater experts. They'll help you discover everything you need to create a premium 4K Ultra HD experience in your home. Plus, Best Buy will match prices of identical products sold at qualifying online and local retailers, and will ship or deliver your brand-new 4K Ultra HD TV for free.