4K TV: Should you make the jump?

Monday, February 2, 2015

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Do you remember the first time you saw a gorgeous 1080p HDTV? Probably not, since our world is saturated with them at this point, but I can assure you were amazed. It was an incredible step up from the old box in the corner of your living room. It might seem like the 1080p standard is still relatively new, but it’s actually been about 10 years since it was introduced into the mainstream. In today’s fast-moving world, that’s ancient. Now it’s time to make room for the next big thing: enter 4K (Ultra HD).

I’m not going to lie… 4K is beautiful. Check out the 4K display at any electronic store and you’ll feel the same. It’s the big new trend for TVs and cameras, and eventually will become the standard. Before you jump on the bandwagon and buy that big new TV, there are a few things you should know. In my opinion, they’re deal breakers.

Lack of native 4K content

Although certain companies are beginning to offer 4K content, it’s still far from becoming widely available. And if you’re streaming 4K content, make sure your Internet can handle it (Netflix requires a 25mbps connection or higher). Over time, content will become more available, but by then the price of the 4K TVs will also drop.

Upscaling just isn’t the same

When you watch 1080p (HD) content on a 4K (UHD) TV, the signal must be upscaled. As much as the companies might tell you the image is better, it’s really the same 1080p image with some sharpening applied. This may often look better, but other times it can make the images look unnatural.

Distance is key

Remember when you were a kid and your parents said, “Don’t sit too close to the TV or you’ll go blind?” Well, with a 4K TV you’ll have to take that risk if you want to fully appreciate it. At a certain distance, the human eye cannot distinguish the individual pixels, so you wouldn’t be able to notice a difference between 4K and 1080. For instance, THX states if you’re TV is 55 inches you’d have to be within six feet to tell a difference.

All in all, I’m not quite ready to make the jump. Once more content is readily available (and Google Fiber makes it’s way to Cincinnati), I will most likely reconsider. For the time being, I’ll stick to my 1080p TV.

Will you be updating to a 4K TV anytime soon? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter via @IntrinzicSays.

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