SOUNDS CONFUSING RIGHT?
And it can be. 4K is the big buzz in the AV industry at the moment and we know it can be hard to get your head around. So we’ve put together this little article to help demystify the mysterious phenomena of 4K.
IT’S A PIXEL THING
A what thing?
You probably understand that ‘4K’ refers to the image quality of a screen. Well, screens are actually made up of tiny little dots called pixels (Picture-Elements), and it’s the number of these pixels on the screen that make-up the screen’s resolution.
The more pixels the sharper the screen!
‘OK, but what does 4K really have to do with pixels?’ you ask – let’s learn a little more.
4K – COUNT ‘EM
So 4K actually refers to the number of pixels across the screen – horizontally, approximately 4,000. In the 4k-UHD standard there are 3,840 pixels across the screen.
Did I hear you say ‘that’s not quite 4k’? Well, you would be right.
SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO 4K
Here’s the strange part – two industry standards have collided in the vernacular and no one knows how to un-collide them.
Simply put; two competing standards met the marketing department and were forever intertwined.
You will see the terms 4K and UHD (Ultra High Definition) used and advertised around these days but they are actually very different.
WOULD THE REAL 4K PLEASE STAND UP
The official ‘4k standard’ actually belongs to the cinematic industry. The 4k standard revolves around the recording and projection of high quality productions like feature films.
Technically the cinematic 4k standard is a little bigger than UHD, at 4096 pixels horizontally & 2160 pixels vertically vs the 4k-UHD standard at 3840 horizontal and 2160 vertical pixels.
The UHD resolution is 4 times the current HD (High Definition) resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.
Why don’t they just call it 2160p, just as HD is referred to as 1080p? It was so the cinematic and television standards wouldn’t get confused, as they both have 2160 vertical pixels.
WANNA PLAY? – It’s complicated
Let’s say you have a brand spanking new UHD screen and you’re ready to be amazed by spectacular vision! Unfortunately playing your UHD content is not that simple – yet.
HDMI IS NOT READY
The HDMI ports on most new TV’s are not currently ready to accept full featured playback requirements of UHD content. The new HDMI standard has just been released, however it’s not prevalent in the market – yet. That’s not to say that UHD content will not play over the current HDMI cables, it’s just you will need to test it first.
BLU-RAY IS NOT READY
The Blu-ray standard for playing back UHD content is not yet ready, it simply doesn’t exist. Watch out for those pesky marketers promoting ‘Mastered in 4K/UHD’ Bluray discs, the content is still only 1080p.
COMPUTERS ARE NOT READY
VGA and HDMI ports on computers aren’t yet ready for UHD content, some DVI ports or Display Ports are ready for Playing UHD content but you need to check.
NEVER FEAR – THERE ARE SOLUTIONS!
The USB interface on your UHD screen should allow you to play your content at full spec providing you use the correct CODEC (see our handy hints on these)
If you have a Smart TV that has the Netflix or YouTube streaming app enabled you will be able to access UHD content online and play on your screen, watch those data limits.
HIGH END VISION EQUIPMENT
If you have a major production and solid budget we have industry grade vision solutions that will bring your 4k/UHD content to life.
DO YOU REALLY NEED 4K?
There’s no doubt that the Ultra High Definition picture is spectacular. However, the impact of Ultra High Definition relies on having content produced at its proper resolution.
At the moment most media content is being produced at Full HD (1080p) which is one quarter of the UHD resolution. So when you play Full HD content on a UHD screen you lose all that impact available to you. Much like playing 720p content on a 1080p screen.
Bringing spectacular visual content to life is what we do. With a host of projection solutions, vision mixing and highly trained production staff we are expert at delivering spectacular vision.
Contact Alastair or Jason on 1300 134 841 to chat with us about your next event.