Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why to wait on 4K

I've seen a few people start getting excited about 4K TVs, monitors, and more, and I keep coming back to the same question: Why is everyone buying them now?  Don't get me wrong, higher resolution screens are nice, and 4K screens look fantastic, but that's not the next step in resolution jumps.  In fact, 4K is just a beginning step, and upgrading this early on is kind of like buying a 720p television when HD was just coming out: It's better to wait!

But 4K is the future!

From bottom left to top right, you have Standard Definition, Full
High Definition, 4K Ultra High Definition, and 8K Ultra High
I've heard a lot about how 4K is "the next big thing", but let me ask you: What are the next few standards of resolution that come with 4K?  Remember how HD had 720p, 1080i, and 1080p?  Well believe it or not, there is a next set of standards call UHD (Ultra High Definition, very creative name), and they're on their way now.  You can see a comparison of the resolution standards to the right.  You start with standard definition in the bottom left, then you get FHD (full HD), then 4K UHD (ultra HD), and then finally 8K UHD.  Yes, that's right, 4K is another middle step that TV companies are pushing very hard for some reason.  Don't believe this is real?  Check out this Wikipedia article for a bit more information.

Okay, but at least I'll be ready!

Not exactly.  You see, when 8K UHD comes around, I'm actually kind of curious if we'll even be using the same types of TV connections to watch things on them.  8K is a totally different beast than full HD, or even 4K.  The amount of data that cable companies, internet service providers, and more have to output is incredibly high, especially while maintaining a certain frame-rate on your screens.  8K is going to require a huge leap in bandwidth, and I wonder actually if we're going to need newer cables to support this.  The HDMI standard has already been updated with HDMI 2.0, but only mentions 4K support, which kind of worries me personally.  The chance of new cables is fairly likely, especially considering that cable companies don't even stream proper 4K to TVs yet.  So all of those cables you may buy for your 4K TV could be out of date very quickly.  On top of that, 4K TV prices are going to go down drastically once 8k UHD becomes standard, similar to what happened when 1080p HD originally came out.  Why buy it now for such a high price when you can get it significantly cheaper in the (most likely) very near future?

What Should I do?

I know this has been said about a lot of things, but just wait.  Samsung unveiled an 8K TV at CES 2014 last year, and that's surely a good sign that 8K screens are on the way very soon.  While there's still a bit more time to go, what's coming should be well worth it.  4K screens look fantastic already, and I imagine 8K screens are going to look brilliant.  Once the support comes and 8K screens are the "norm", prices should once again start dropping like they did when HD TVs first came out.  In fact, there are rumors of phones with 4K screens already, which could indicate a much quicker price drop than HD TVs had since this means they can be made more compact more quickly.  Only time will tell however.  What are your thoughts on UHD?  Are you excited for this new standard?  Leave your comments below!

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