I’ve had several questions about 4K TV’s as of late. It seems like 4K TV deals are everywhere right now as we lead up to Thanksgiving and the holiday season, so let’s try and make this simple. Depending on what you use a TV for, be careful on what is really a deal and what is really unnecessary. Very little content like sports, TV programs, and movies are being filmed in 4K. Very few of us have internet capable of streaming 4K video. The standards for broadcast over the air antennas haven’t even been finalized for local TV stations to transmit in. Additionally, most cable and satellite TV boxes can’t even do 4K, or don’t have any 4K content. I wouldn’t throw out or replace an HDTV that’s working just fine for a 4K TV unless you had a very specific reason.
What is 4K?
4K is a very high quality video that is 4-5 times the quality of your typical high definition television. There are in the neighborhood of 4,000 dots when you look across the horizontal axis of a TV screen. There are many synonyms for 4K like UHD and SUHD, Quad HD, etc etc. 4k.com has more if you want to dive into the details.
Why would you want a 4K TV?
Good question, you probably don’t need it, but it seems like almost every quality model year 2015+ TV offers some form of it.
One scenario is using a 4K TV as a computer monitor. Prices on 4K TV’s have fallen so fast, they’re often cheaper than good quality computer monitors. Often times you can get twice the size of screen for less money. Just be careful to do your homework here. You’ll want to make sure you have a computer that can handle 4K and I’d very highly recommend a set that can do chroma 4:4:4 in at least 30hz if not 60hz (I’ve been doing research shopping for one myself). I think this is a very legitimate scenario, especially if you have drone footage that’s been shot in 4K.
Also new to the 4K device arena is the new gaming consoles Xbox One S and PS4 Pro. These can benefit from HDR High Dynamic Range with makes colors more “lifelike”. Of course it’s not that simple with multiple standards here too, but some TV’s do both.
If you’re just out for a new TV and want a deal, then the specifics of 4K probably don’t matter. Get something cheap and hope it lasts more than a couple years. And no big deal if it fails, go buy another one even cheaper yet at that time should it fail.
But if you care about using 4K and want a quality set, I’d highly suggest reading up. The best resource I’ve found is Rtings.com . Check out their sections on use case. They do a really good job responding to comments too. I’ve been an LG buyer for quite some time since their picture quality for the price is great, but I do have an eye out for the Sony X700D series for it’s great viewing angle in a small office and Chroma 4:4:4 @ 60hz (and it’s not $2,000+ like the OLED’s).