Everything You Need To Know About 4K TVs

4K Ultra HD are the words on everyone’s lips this year. It’s the hottest technological trend right now but what exactly is it? You may have seen 4K TVs and wondered whether or not they’re worth investing in. for those considering buying one, here’s everything you need to know about them.

What Exactly Is 4K?

It sounds powerful and with good reason. Essentially 4K televisions deliver four times the quality as a device with 1080p Full HD – a whopping eight million pixels in comparison to the two million you get from 1080p. So what does that mean for you as a viewer? Well, it means images are shown in greater detail and clarity. In fact, the quality is so good you’d think you were looking at a photograph.

Is There A Difference Between Ultra HD And 4K?

4K is the digital cinema standard, while Ultra High Definition is a derivation of that. There is however a small difference: your local cinema will show films in 4096 x 2160 4K resolution, while Ultra HD televisions (also known as UHD) come with a lower resolution of 3840 x 2160. For this reason, many manufacturers only use UHD to describe their devices.

Samsung UE65JU6500 65" Curved Ultra HD
Samsung UE65JU6500 65″ Curved Ultra HD, shop.bt.com

Will I Need a Big Screen To Take Advantage Of 4K?

If you’re considering buying a 4K TV, the chances are you’re looking to upgrade your current model to something bigger and better – and that’s exactly what you’ll get. It’s standard for a 4K TV to come in at around 55-inches and above. Why? The smaller the screen size, the less need you’ll have for such a pixel-dense display as you won’t really notice the difference.

In the long term however, you may notice smaller models appear on the market that offer high frame rate broadcasting – which is a feature not purely restricted to a large screen. So it all really depends on how soon you want one.

Do I Have To Sit Far Away From The Television To Get The Best View?

The larger the 4K screen you have, the further back we recommend you sit in order to obtain prime viewing. If you buy a 4K television with a 65-inch screen for example, you should really sit around 1.5m back from it for optimum viewing. Such distances are not always practical and it depends on the shape and size of your living room. It is recommended to watch a 4K screen from 2-3m away.

I’ve Come Across 4K OLED – What Is It And Is It Better Than 4K?

OLED stands for organic light emitting diodes – and while such technology has existed for some time, it has traditionally been very expensive which has prevented it from becoming widely available. All of this is set to change though as LG has launched the very first 4K OLED TV.

LG Electronics 65" Curved 4K Ultra HD OLED Smart TV
LG Electronics 65″ Curved 4K Ultra HD OLED Smart TV, shop.bt.com

So what benefits does OLED offer? Well, it provides stunning images and boasts vibrant, lifelike colours and sharp definition between black and white. While it’s still on the pricey end, expect the cost to come down significantly once people start buying OLED televisions.

What Channels Are Available In 4K?

4K channels are slowly becoming part of mainstream television both in the UK and the USA, offering improved colour and image definition. BT Sport already offers an Ultra HD channel, while Sky is planning to launch a 4K-ready box later this year, Sky Q. To take advantage of these Ultra HD TV channels though, you’ll need to invest in a device that’s compatible.

Is There Any 4K Content I Can Watch Now?

In short, yes. Netflix, Amazon and Vudu all offer content in UHD. With Netflix, it’s super easy to access too – simply open the app on your 4K TV and the content you choose to watch will automatically be streamed in 4K where possible. Again, in order to take advantage of it, you’ll need a 4K-compatible device or a PC with a graphics card with 4K capabilities – and a minimum broadband connection of 15Mbps to stream 4K.

Do I Need A Certain Cable For 4K To Work On My Television?

There are two cables you’re likely to use to access 4K: a standard HDMI or DisplayPort if you plan to connect your PC to an Ultra HD monitor.

There are four types of HDMI cable to choose from: high-speed with Ethernet, standard speed with Ethernet, high-speed without Ethernet, and standard speed without Ethernet. For resolutions higher than 1080p, you’ll need a high-speed cable.

If you’re using DisplayPort, this allows 4K images and audio to transfer from a high-end graphics card to your monitor for easy watching.

LG Electronics 65UF770V 65" 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV
LG Electronics 65UF770V 65″ 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV, shpo.bt.com

I’ve Heard That 8K Will Soon Be Available. What’s That?

Like 4K, 8K television is all about improving the definition, delivering 16 times more resolution than Full HD. At the moment, there are no plans to bring 8K to the mainstream, other than Japanese broadcaster NHK which has revealed its intentions for commercialising the technology – and intends to shoot the Tokyo Olympics (2020) in 8K format.

If you thought 4K screen sizes were large, they have nothing on 8K TVs. It is thought that in order to reap the benefits of the image definition, you’ll need to invest in a screen that is 84-inches or bigger – something that will not only set you back in terms of cost but will never really be practical for the everyday home.

To Buy Now Or To Wait, That Is The Question

There isn’t really a one size fits all answer to this question. For those who want to buy the best TV technology available right now, and who have an unlimited budget, we recommend 4K all the way. Future-proof for a good few years and unrivalled in quality, it’s a sound investment that is a stunning addition to any home. If you’re happy to wait for the price to come down, you’ll benefit from a greater choice of video content available in 4K format and be able to afford a higher-tier model for your efforts. It’s up to you.

Browse the full range of 4K TVs at BT Shop to upgrade for your home today.

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