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10 Things You Must Know About 4K UHD and HDR TVs Before You Begin Your Year End TV Shopping

Technology advancement is happening at an amazing speed; it was only a few years ago when everyone is ditching their old TV in favor of full High Definition (HD) 1080p TVs! Nevertheless, before you know it, the 4K Ultra HD (UHD) technology has heralded another era where the TV viewing experience is evaluated to a whole new level!

1. What is a 4K UHD TV?

Image from Broadband TV news

UHD is synonymous with 4K. To explain in layman’s terms, a 4K UHD TV has enough “colored lighted dots”, also known as pixels (a pixel is a lit-up square that produces a specific color), to fill up a whopping 4 full HD 1080p TV screens! Hence, a 4k UHD TV screen is able to display 4 times more details as compared to a full HD TV. Having 4 times extra pixels make a huge difference in the TV viewing experience as more pixels carries more detailed information and produces more vivid, sharper and crisper images!


2. What is the resolution of a 4K UHD TV?

Image from 4k News

The resolution of a TV is the number of pixels a TV is capable of displaying. Hence, a 4K TV has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 as compared to a full HD TV which has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 resolution. Therefore, a 4K TV screen has nearly 8 million pixels (3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400); around 4 times a full HD TV is capable of displaying (1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600).


3. Does using a 4K UHD TV automatically guarantee a better quality viewing experience?

Image from Vizio

The generic answer is no; 4k UHD TVs have superior display quality as compared to a full HD QLED TV or even a full HD OLED TV only when you are viewing video content from 4k sources. This is because video sources with 1080p resolution or less which are made for full HD TV, will be viewed as it is on a 4k UHD TV. Nevertheless, there are also 4K UHD TVs, which are equipped with upscaling features to “upscale” lesser resolution video sources to make the images appear as if they are from 4k sources.


4. Is there a lot of 4K UHD content?

Image from Decider

Currently, the 4K UHD content is slowly gaining traction. As streaming services such as Netflix and cable services are gradually steaming more 4K content, the network effect will bring about an abundance of 4K UHD content soon.


5. Ultimate Question: Should you get a 4K UHD TV?

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You can make your decision based on the following 3 factors :
Investment in upcoming technology
It is apparent that full HD TV Technology is a sunset technology. As a TV device typically lasts for at around 5 years, you should consider investing in an upcoming technology to future-proof your purchase. In addition, to make the best bang for the buck, you can wait for mid or year-end sales to get your hands on a 4K UHD TV.

TV viewing distance
Another consideration is the TV viewing distance: the nearer the viewing distance, the more apparent is the difference in resolution. Hence, if you need to sit near to the TV due to the space limitations of your living room, you should consider in investing in a 4k UHD TV.

Video content sources
If you spend almost all of the time viewing 4k UHD content, then you can consider making the switch from Full HD to 4k UHD immediately.


6. Why does High Dynamic Range (HDR) matter when it comes to purchasing a TV?

Image from Quora

HDR is a complementary TV technology and does not replace the 4K UHD technology. They are simply different technologies which enhance the TV viewing experience. The main difference is that the 4K UHD is about packing 4 times the pixel count in the same screen (quantity) whilst HDR is about making the pixels display more life-like naturally (quality).

The term HDR originates from the photographic technique, which is to enhance a picture’s dynamic range, which involves light and colour. The higher the dynamic range, the deeper colour ranges (wide-colour gamut (WCG)) due to the greater the contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks. Hence, the photograph mimics real life, since there are different degree of brightness and darkness. In layman’s term, HDR makes the pictures appear less “flat”, more natural for an HDR TV so that the colours are richer with greater colour gradations and tones.


7. Does a 4K UHD TV automatically have the ability to display HDR content?

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The short answer is no. A standard 4K TV displays their content in a Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) standard. So, if you want a more vivid viewing experience, you should choose a 4K UHD TV equipped with HDR capability. Therefore, a full HD TV with HDR capability is able to display a wider range of colour contrast and hence, their pictures appear more realistic when compared to a 4k UHD TV even though it is of a much lower resolution.


8. Is HDR10+ a better technology than HDR10?

Images from CNET

The short answer is yes. The metadata of HDR10 is static whilst DR10+’s metadata is dynamic. Hence, HDR10+ format allows the video content per-scene or per-frame basis to display varying HDR settings for a better picture quality viewing experience. Similar to the format standard war between VHS vs Betamax and between Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD which took place not so long ago, HDR10 and HDR10+ are competing for technology standards, with one dominating the market. Currently, HDR10 is the most popular format and it can be found in most 4K HDR TVs. HDR10+ is the format created by Samsung with brands like Panasonic, Philips, Amazon and 20th Century Fox adopting this format.


9. Is there a lot of HDR content right now?

Image from HD Report

There is not a lot of HDR content sources at the moment since this technology is still in a state of infancy. You can still get the HDR content from sources such as Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix. Nevertheless, you can expect more HDR video content in the near future.


10. Ultimate Question: Should you own an HDR TV?

Image from PSFK

Unlike the 4k UHD TV, the difference between the SDR and HDR is more subtle. Furthermore, as there is still a format standard war between the various competing HDR standard formats, the future is not certain. Therefore, unless you have the excess budget or really want a much better picture quality viewing experience, you can give an HDR TV a miss.


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