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What Is 4K Television and Where To Find Ultra-High Definition Televisions

Updated on December 19, 2017
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I have been a writer in some capacity since I graduated from college. I thoroughly enjoy writing, especially about my travels and science.

What Is 4K Television? | An Explanation of 4K Television

Are you wondering what is 4K television? If you are a technophile, you probably are well aware of this new television format by now, but many people are just discovering this ultra-high definition television format that is poised to take over as the dominant television format in coming years. Perhaps you have seen a commercial for a 4k television, seen them mentioned in an article, overheard other people talking about them, or just happened upon one at an electronics retailer. In any case, the awareness of these ultra-high definition televisions is growing, and it will not be long before they are the only types of televisions available to buy, as the public demands higher picture quality. They have reached the consciousness of many people, but many do not understand what they are.

4K television is an ultra-high definition television (UHDTV) format with a picture display that is 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall. This delivers approximately four times high picture resolution than the standard 1080p high definition (HD) television format that is widely used on flat-screen televisions. This four times resolution improvement is the reason for the 4K moniker; 4K for four times. Perhaps 4X would make more sense, but the television industry has settled upon the 4K name.

The professional organization that sets television industry standards is known as the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). This organization has decreed that any television that has a 16 by 9 aspect ratio and has at least a 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall display can be considered ultra-high definition television (UHDTV). Since 4K televisions meet this criteria, they have commonly become known as ultra-high definition televisions (UHDTVs). Although they are not the only televisions that meet the ultra-high definition television standard, the term 4K television has become synonymous with ultra-high definition television, with the two terms often used interchangeably by writers and marketers.

I can tell you from experience that the difference between the currently dominant 1080p high definition (HD) television format and the emerging 4K ultra-high definition television (UHDTV) format is noticeable to the naked eye. When one looks at televisions with either format side by side, the difference is clearly noticeable. 4K television is undoubtedly clearer and more vivid than 1080p. This is not just a small incremental improvement in viewing experience that only certain people will notice or that is only noticeable on the largest flat screen televisions. It is a big enough leap in resolution and improvement in the viewing experience that it is clearly noticeable to anyone. It appears that it is only a matter of time before this new television format becomes the standard that all television owners will want to have.

Ultra-High Definition 4K Television

4K Television Is Poised To Become The Television Standard
4K Television Is Poised To Become The Television Standard | Source

How To Purchase a 4K Television

How do you purchase a 4K television? It is not very difficult. All of the major television manufactures now have 4K products that come in a number of size. Familiar brands, such as Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (OTC Pink: SSNLF), and LG Display Co., Ltd. (NYSE: LPL) are selling 4K televisions that provide ultra-high definition television resolution. These televisions are also smart televisions that allow you to surf the Internet and run apps that expand the television’s power, meaning you can watch movies on demand or watch videos on YouTube.

4K televisions can be purchased at major electronics retailers, such as Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), as well as many other retailers that sell televisions. Just make sure you check product reviews before buying one of these state-of-the-art televisions. While ultra-high definition 4K television provides a dramatic improvement over the current high definition 1080p format, some televisions are better than others, so check product reviews and comments from those who have already bought a television in this new format.

4K televisions are not terribly expensive, given their newness and the leap in viewing clarity that they provide. They typically cost about two times what 1080p high definition televisions cost. Over time, electronics tend to come down in price, as a new standard is adopted, products are mass-produced, and competition ramps up. It will not be long before 4K television is the standard and prices come down to current 1080p price levels, after the later format has disappeared from store shelves.

The Current Limitation For 4K Television Is Content

The one factor that is currently limiting the adoption of 4K television is a lack of 4K content. There just isn’t very much in the way of television shows, movies, and documentaries available for viewing content in ultra-high definition 4K quality. That will change over time, as more people purchase 4K televisions and content providers eventually rush to provide 4K content for viewers that want it. Right now, some of the big television content providers, such as NetFlix and Hulu, are starting to provide limited 4K content. There are also some smaller companies such as NanoTech Entertainment (OTC Pink: NTEK) that offer 4K content via an app called that UltraFlix Network that views can select on 4K televisions.

The lack of 4K content may limit growth in this new television format slightly in the near-term, as people weigh the higher cost of 4K televisions versus how little 4K content is available to justify paying twice as much for a new television. However, one can still watch regular 1080p content on 4K televisions, so there is no disadvantage to upgrading to the latest television format and waiting for additional 4K content to become available. I am sure everyone can think of a movie or documentary that would be awesome in ultra-high definition 4K format. Most will be available at some point, as content providers react to market demands. It will just take time and consumer pressure to undertake the vast task of converting programs to 4K format.

An Example of An Incredible 4K Television Image

This Is Just One Example of The Incredible Clarity Provided By 4K Televisions
This Is Just One Example of The Incredible Clarity Provided By 4K Televisions | Source

What Comes After 4K Television? | Keep An Eye On 8K Television

Is there anything beyond 4K in the future of television? The answer is yes, there is already a higher-resolution ultra-high definition television format known as 8K television that provides a viewing experience that is on par with incredibly brilliant and sharp I-Max movies. However, 8K television will not be competing with 4K television any time soon. The higher resolution 8K format is just too expensive at this time for manufactures to be able to market 8K televisions to consumers. That will likely change at some point in the future. For now 4K ultra-high definition television is poised to become the new television standard.

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4K Television - Taking It To The Next Level

4K Television Is a Leap In Television Technology
4K Television Is a Leap In Television Technology | Source

© 2014 John Coviello


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    • David Lombarson profile image

      David 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's really innovative technology comes in television. High definition television gives you amazing experience of objects.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      We are still in the dark ages as far as televisions go. High Def is pretty amazing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting, I learned a lot and this was well written. I am still catching up with HD :-)