What could be better than watching a high-def image on a really big screen from the comfort of your own couch? How about an image that takes the already amazing resolution of HDTV and doubles it? Ultra HD—also known as 4K—is the latest in display technology with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (compared to high-definition’s 1920 x 1080), delivering an image so realistic some mistake it for 3D. And the best part is, it’s already on the market.
Ultra HD has its origins in commercial cinema. 4K projectors were originally installed in movie theaters as they transitioned from analog film reels to digital technology because they offered video quality that looked nearly as good as film. Now, Ultra HD TVs have made their way into the residential market. As of this writing, in fact, most of the major TV manufacturers have jumped onboard with Ultra HD technology. Ultra HD sets start at 55 inches and go all the way up to 84 inches and range anywhere from $1,500 to $40,000.
Why buy now?
Like nearly all video formats before it, the hardware became available before the software—Ultra HD movies and TV. While Ultra HD sets are on the market now, content is just becoming available. However, now is a great time to jump in.
Content is here…and more is coming
First, there is some great content available now. A handful of movies have been remastered in Ultra HD and will get you started on the road to the holy grail of picture quality. For example, The Other Guys, Bad Teacher, Bridge Over the River Kwai, the Karate Kid, Glory, Angels & Demons, Taxi Driver, Total Recall, Spider-Man, and Ghostbusters have all been remastered in Ultra HD. There is one Ultra HD player on the market that comes preloaded with native Ultra HD films so that you can actually watch a true Ultra HD film on an Ultra HD set. Many movies are already shot in Ultra HD so that they can be shown in Ultra HD commercial theaters. YouTube supports upload and playback of Ultra HD; Netflix plans to have streaming Ultra HD in the next year or two; and broadcasters are playing with, and shooting TV shows, in 4K. These are all promising signs that more content is imminent.
Enjoy “upconverted” content now
Another reason to consider an Ultra HD set now is that many sets include incredible video processors that can make any content—from Blu-ray discs to home movies—look dramatically better. These processors are also available in some home theater receivers and Blu-ray players. The processors, also known as scalers or upconvertors, take regular content and scale it to near-Ultra HD resolution, effectively rendering the “no content” issue a moot point. Sure, this is not “native” 4K content, but picture quality is see-it-to-believe-it good.
But really…why wait?
For now, shopping for an Ultra HD set means looking at how good they will make non-4K content look. With the right set, once more Ultra HD content becomes available, you’ll be poised to experience the staggering difference between HDTV and Ultra HD, which is in a league of its own. Ultra HD color reproduction is wonderful, images have more dimensionality and detail, and the experience is way more immersive and lifelike. Whether you are in the market for a new TV or not, if you value an excellent image, we invite you to come in and check out the very latest in cutting-edge video technology.