Everything You Need To Know About 4K TV

Plus, How To Prepare Your Customers

4K, UHD, 2160p…there’s an alphabet soup of abbreviations and designations floating around the concept of high-definition television. We’re here to help you understand it and help you future-proof your customers.

First off, what is 4K? It’s the most commonly used term for the next level of high-definition television, which basically has 4 times the resolution of 1080p.

Technically, 4K refers to a display size of 4096 x 2160 pixels, an aspect ratio of 1.9:1. But this is not the resolution that most of the industry is referring to when they say 4K. That resolution is Ultra HD, or UHD.

UHD is a slightly smaller resolution than the technical 4K specifications at 3840 x 2160, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, it’s gained much more mainstream acceptance than the original 4K standard, and any content that you see labeled as 4K is usually UHD. 2160p is also used as a synonym for this standard.

YouTube and the television companies were the first to get on board with UHD, and it seems likely to be the main option for the foreseeable future. From this point in the article, we’ll refer to this standard as 4K UHD, as the television companies generally do.

In May, the 4K UHD Blu-ray standard’s final revision was approved. With the 4K UHD standard now watchable on optical media, televisions and other accessories that support it should start to really take off. Upscaling players have been around for a while now, but 1080p upscaled to 4K UHD isn’t always a big enough upgrade to justify. For most it will probably be better to wait for the 4K UHD Blu-ray players and their associated media.

The new 4K UHD Blu-ray players haven’t hit the market yet, so we’re partly working with unknowns. They should be hitting store shelves right around the holidays, though. These should (hopefully) be backward compatible with the optical media people already own, with upscaling support for 1080p content.

Streaming content in 4K UHD is also available, though not widely. Netflix and Amazon Prime already have a few offerings, and YouTube supports 4K UHD streaming for some video. This should continue to grow.

4K UHD video is considered the next big push for people to upgrade their televisions—it was hoped that 3D would reinvigorate the TV market, but lack of interest in 3D programming means that the expected bump in demand for new televisions and accessories hasn’t happened. 4K UHD has much more widespread support. Your customers will have to upgrade more than one component of their system in order to ensure that they can watch 4K UHD-grade video at the maximum quality.

So what do they need? 

The new 4K UHD standard will require support for HDCP 2.2 copy protection and HDMI 2.0 from every device in the chain. That includes everything from the televisions to the soundbars to the receivers.

Most 4K UHD equipment supports both, but some very early equipment may not have the support necessary for this. It’s worth checking every piece of the system that you’re building.

A television like this 50″ Smart 4K Ultra HD LED TV combined with a receiver like the CE Labs® Ultra HD 4K 1 x 4 HDMI® Distribution Amp and HDMI cables would give your customers the capability to watch the 4K UHD content that’s already out there, while also getting them ready for the influx of Blu-ray and streaming options that will continue to hit the market.

Your customers need to be ready for the future of home entertainment, and you can make sure they are with help from Petra Industries. Keep an eye on the Petra Blog for all the latest news about industry trends.

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