Sunday, August 18, 2013

Might Want to Wait to Buy a 4K TV

If you have ventured out to purchase a new TV recently you may have been confronted with some new and often confusing options.  Now that the manufacturers have essentially given up on 3D TV they have released a new line of models that boast extraordinary clarity and color.  Dubbed 4K TV, these sets provide resolutions up to four times that of the regular HDTV.  The screen on the HD set in your family room has about 2 million pixels while the new 4K model boasts more that 8 million.  So is more, better?

Like most simple questions, there is no simple answer.   For sure if you have a large TV, i.e. 50 inches or more, the clarity of the picture will be noticeable.  On the other hand, if you are watching on a 27 inch screen the difference will be negligible.  It is similar to still photography resolution.  The high resolution is really not noticeable until you enlarge the print. That 3” x 5” baby picture of Aunt Emma you found in the family album looked great until you blew it up for that poster celebrating her 90th birthday.  The kid looks like she had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The set manufacturers will claim, with some veracity, that even a standard HD program will look brighter and the colors more vivid when displayed on a 4K set.  Only you can decide if the extra cost is worth it with a side by side comparison.  Beware, as some less than reputable salespersons will show you a side by side comparison but have the TV’s brightness and contrast set very low on the model they don’t want you to buy.

Another consideration you might keep in mind before you spend the extra bucks for a 4K TV is that right now there is little or no 4K content available.   The higher resolution makes for major program storage and transmission challenges.  Where an HD DVR might only need a few terabytes of storage, a single 4K movie would fill up that same DVR.

Just coming on the market are 4K receivers and program storage devices that connect to the internet.  Only downloaded material is possible now.  Real time program delivery is not. It requires such high bandwidth that no cable, satellite or traditional over-the-air broadcaster and only a handful of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have the ultra high transmission capacity to handle live programming.

Since the technology is still developing, 4K programs are not yet readily available and the prices are still high, I would wait to purchase a 4K TV.  But if you are one of those people who just must have the newest and greatest, go for it.  Oh yes, invite me over to watch.  I’ll bring the beer and chips.



Post a Comment

<< Home