What is 4K TV?
With more choice and falling prices, 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR is fast becoming the norm. Learn about the future of TV technology in our guide…
Some of the best TVs out there are all 4K Ultra HD (UHD) with HDR. With Sky, Netflix and Amazon all geared up with 4K content – and 4K TV sets going for less than £500 – they’re fast replacing HD models as the TV of choice in our living rooms.
What is 4K UHD?
To get better picture quality, you need a TV screen made up of more pixels. The number of pixels is measured in the screen resolution.
HD TVs have a screen resolution of 2 million pixels, whereas 4K TVs have a resolution of 8.3 million pixels. This means they offer you 4 times the detail of a HD TV.
High dynamic range – aka HDR – essentially increases the difference between light and dark in your TV’s picture. The colour onscreen will have more depth, so you’ll see the detail even in the lightest and darkest areas of the screen.
HDR is built into many of the latest 4K UHD TVs but not all. So if you want HDR make sure to check it features on your preferred model.
How will a 4K UHD TV with HDR look better than my HD set?
Your picture will be packed with detail and have more depth with a vivid contrast in colour and brightness compared to your Full HD TV. It’ll be much sharper too and have a wider range of colours.
The razor-sharp picture on 4K UHD HDR screens puts HD TVs far in the shade. And the bigger the screen you choose, the more noticeable the improvement. Go 50-inches or above and your retinas are in for a treat!
Manufacturers like Samsung combine the above with quantum dots – a tiny layer of crystals added to the screen for even more life-like colour.
What can I watch on my 4K TV?
Loads. Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Netflix, Amazon Prime, BT Sport Ultra HD – allhave decent amounts of 4K content – provided you have the right subscription package for each TV service. Plusmost 4K TVs have apps for Netflix and Amazon Prime built in.
And there’s something for everyone…
Watch the new season in style on Sky Sports – over 120 matches will be broadcast in Ultra HD with up to 4 times the detail of HD. To watch Sky in Ultra HD you need the right Sky Q box and package.
Netflix offers big hitters like Stranger Things, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Crown in 4K.
The Grand Tour with Clarkson and co is on Amazon Prime in 4K. Prefer 4 legs to 4 wheels? Then check out David Attenborough documentaries on Sky.
Spectre and The Martian are among the films you can enjoy on Sky Cinema. While Ultra HD Blu-ray delivers an incredible experience for home cinema enthusiasts.
The choice of 4K programmes is growing all the time. Invest in a 4K model and you’ll have a TV that’s future-proofed for years to come.
Don’t forget: To watch Sky in 4K Ultra HD you need the new Sky Q 2TB box with multiscreen subscription
And when I’m watching BBC One and ITV?
4K sets are clever things. Even when you’re not watching 4K content the TV will use its built-in processing engine to upscale the picture. So you’ll enjoy greater depth and more vibrant colours even when you’re watching terrestrial telly.
You’ll appreciate this most when watching HD channels like BBC One HD and ITV HD.
Tip: For better upscaling it’s worth investing in a more expensive TV with a better processing engine.
What is Ultra HD premium?
The latest high-end 4K Ultra HD TVs have an Ultra HD Premium sticker to show they meet certain criteria.
They include minimum requirements for resolution, colour bit depth, colour gamut (the range of colours it can show) and high dynamic range (HDR).
The idea is if you see an Ultra HD Premium logo on a TV, you know it’s future-proofed to give you the best possible 4K experience.
The standards were created by the UHD Alliance - a group made up of names like Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Netflix, Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox.
Is now a good time to buy a 4K UHD TV?
There’s never been a better time to buy a 4K UHD TV. The technology is getting better and better – and the prices are getting lower.
You can now buy a 4K UHD TV for under £500 with 40-inch screen sizes available for smaller rooms (previously 4K UHD TVs only came in 50-inch plus.)
With the LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic all getting on board with 4K you know this is one TV tech that is here to stay.
Buy a 4K set now and you’ll been soon reaping the returns of your investment – especially with more and more content becoming available.