8 reasons to buy a 4K UHD TV now
Loads of content, cheaper prices, smaller screen sizes, the next generation of Blu-ray – now really is the time to go 4K UHD…
‘You have more choice, the prices are coming down,’ says Daler Bhaker, our large-screen TV buyer.
If you’re wanting to spend less on going out in 2017, then a 4K TV is a great investment. With loads of movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime and Sky Sports available in 4K, staying in could be the new going out.
‘If you buy a 4K TV today you’re only going to reap the benefits more and more as time goes on and more content becomes available,’ Daler explains.
Still not convinced? Here are 8 reasons to upgrade to 4K UHD this year…
1. You can buy a 4K UHD TV for less than £450
Prices really are coming down. Take the Panasonic TX-40DX600B – this 40-inch set gives you great 4K UHD detail, built-in Netflix and HDMI 2.0 ports. What’s more, it’s a What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision award-winner – named the best 40-60in TV of 2016! And it’s only £419.
When 4K TVs first launched in 2013 they cost around £20,000 – but now you can get a high-end, premium 4K TV for under £1,000.
Save or splurge? We’ve got 4K TVs for every budget
2. Most 4K TVs are future-proofed
Want the best from 4K UHD? Look out for these future-proofing features:
- HEVC decoder for 4K streaming of Netflix
- Processing engine to upscale regular movies and TV shows
- HDMI 2.0 ports for plugging in a Ultra HD Blu-ray player
- Web-connected smart TV capabilities for catch-up TV and streaming apps
- HDR compatibility to get the best from Netflix/Amazon Prime/Ultra HD Blu-ray
3. Smaller screen sizes are much more common
The first 4K TVs were huge. Starting off with the 84-inch models launched by Samsung and LG, then the still-not-small 65-inch sets.
These were not TVs built for small living rooms.
Now you can choose a 4K UHD TV with a 40-inch screen – or a 43 or 48-inch. Perfect for smaller living rooms (and budgets).
4. There’s loads of 4K content to watch
The past year or so has seen a massive increase in 4K content. From Netflix and Amazon to Sky and BT Sport – there’s loads to watch in super-sharp resolution.
You can still watch HD content on a 4K TV of course, but proper 4K content gets the best from a proper 4K TV – packing in 4 times the detail that HD can manage.
Netflix has Stranger Things and Amazon The Man in the High Castle in 4K – both massive 2016 TV highlights. Of course there’s loads more to stream on both channels – from 4K TV shows to movies.
Watch top-flight football in 4K with Sky Sports and its new Sky Q service. And get more of the same on BT Sport Ultra HD. The BBC has also been trying out 4K, with Planet Earth 2 clips in 4K on the iPlayer.
5. Proper 4K content will knock your socks off
Whether it’s the White House or a top-flight football match, everything looks better in 4K UHD.
Netflix streams award-winning drama House of Cards in 4K. The result? Facial expressions, interiors of Congress and the White House all look sublime, completely rich in detail and colour.
Over to BT Sport Ultra HD for the football.
‘The level of detail and clarity is remarkable, you can make out individual beads of sweat on players’ faces,’ says Andy Clough at What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision.
6. HDR makes 4K sharper – and 2017 is all about HDR
2017 is all about HDR, a video format that makes 4K even sharper.
Netflix and Amazon both have 4K HDR content, and it can be found on loads of 4K TVs from mid-range to premium models – this LG 43UH668V TV delivers 4K HDR for a budget-friendly £549.
Stranger Things is among the things you can watch in 4K HDR on Netflix. While Marvel’s Iron Fist is actually being shot in HDR for an even better experience. On Amazon Prime you’ve got movies like Men in Black 3 and Smurfs 2.
HDR takes the additional pixels of 4K and makes them better by adding oodles of extra layers of detail between the darkest blacks and the brightest whites.
Dark shadowy scenes are deeply atmospheric and stuffed with detail. Bright skies, football pitches and sunshine reflections are positively popping with colour.
7. Blu-ray has had its long-awaited 4K upgrade
Movie buffs have long been committed to Blu-ray for its better-than-DVD picture quality and great audio. Now it gets upgraded for 4K UHD TVs with Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Samsung and Panasonic have Ultra HD Blu-ray players, while movies studios 20th Century Fox, Universal and Sony are releasing stacks of 4K Blu-ray discs. What I can watch in 4K Blu-ray?
Why do I need Ultra HD Blu-ray? Blu-ray was designed for HD TVs not 4K TVs. With a 4K UHD TV you get 4 times the picture quality of a Full HD TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray has 4 times the resolution of regular Blu-ray players.
8. Regular TV will look much sharper
Having said all this. A lot of what you watch on your TV won’t be in 4K resolution, like when you’re watching normal BBC 1 or ITV.
But you won’t be missing out because 4K UHD TVs will upgrade regular (non-4K) content. Shows and movies are upscaled to near-4K quality by the TV’s processing engine.
For the best upscaling, watch the HD channels. The more you spend on your TV, the better upscaling it will provide.