What is 4K television?
The new standard in TV. 4K TVs deliver picture quality 4 times sharper than Full HD. Get the best from Netflix and Sky with our guide to 4K TV.
4K is the successor to High Definition (HD) TV. It is often known as Ultra HD or UHD. If you’re buying a new TV today, it’ll most likely be 4K.
But what is 4K television, and what does 4K UHD stand for? Our guide explains…
Put simply, the screen boasts four times the number of pixels of a HD screen, giving you four times the picture detail when you choose a 4K TV.
The result? Richer, more in-depth visuals that leap off the screen. 4K is fast becoming the norm for filming live sporting events and blockbuster movies. Streaming platforms and movie studios are adding more and more new titles in 4K.
Benefits of 4K TV
- Sharper picture quality with more detail and depth
- The ability to sit closer to the screen without the picture breaking up
- Netflix and Amazon Prime boxsets shot specifically for 4K TVs
- Options to suit all budgets – from entry level to some of the best TVs currently available
How does 4K work?
Your TV picture is made up of pixels, and 4K televisions work by packing in many more than your HD TV. A typical HD screen contains around two million pixels. But a 4K resolution increases that to 8.3 million pixels.
TV screen resolution is defined by the number of pixels crossing the screen horizontally and the number of scanning lines running vertically from top to bottom of the screen.
4K TVs double the number of pixels and vertical scanning lines. So, we have the below…
- HD: 1920 (horizontal) X 1080 (vertical)
- 4K: 3840 (horizontal) X 2160 (vertical)
What does all this mean? Take two 55-inch TVs, one HD TV and the other 4K TV. if you tried to put all the pixels from the HD TV into the 4K TV, it would fill only one quarter of a 4K TV screen.
This means, with HD TV fewer pixels are spread across the same 55-inch TV screen. When pixels are stretched, the picture quality breaks up and the amount of detail you can see is reduced. By packing 8 million pixels into the same 55-inch space, you create a much more detailed picture that looks great even when watched up close.
Why choose a 4K TV?
Now is a great time to invest in a 4K television. You can choose from a selection of screen sizes to suit any budget. Start with an entry-level 4K TV, or enhance your viewing with a top-of-the-range model. Read on to find out more about the key benefits of 4K TV…
4K TV Picture quality: 4 times the detail of HD
If you’re watching 4K content on your TV, the difference will be clear as day – with clearer, crisper visuals than its HD equivalent. Experience games as the developers intended and movies through the eye of the director. Match day is more memorable. Pitch markings are more defined, and the detail true-to-life.
HDR: See more detail in the shadows
4K TV works hand in hand with High Dynamic Range, a video format better known as HDR. 4K increases the number of pixels while HDR improves the quality of those pixels.
Benefits of HDR:
- Expands the shades between the deepest black and brightest white
- Picks out those small, nuanced details in the shadows
- Creates true-to-life colours from a palette of over 1 billion
See bluer skies, snowier mountains and added atmosphere in any environment – whether you’re watching HDR-enabled content on Netflix or playing the latest consoles.
Sit closer to the screen with 4K TV
The 4K display stays pin-sharp at a closer distance than you’re used to. That’s because the sheer number of pixels in a 4K TV can pick out more detail than on the original broadcast.
It isn’t as distinguished a difference if you’re sitting a typical distance from the TV – but budge your couch just a little closer and you’ll be drawn into a completely new level of phenomenal visuals.
What can I watch in 4K?
To get the best from your 4K TV you need to watch 4K content. For several years, there was little content available. Today that’s changed hugely – with 4K content available from:
Netflix in 4K
Original series like Stranger Things and Black Mirror, plus Oscar-winning films including Roma, and the best of the Marvel TV universe.
Amazon Prime Video in 4K
Sports documentaries including All Or Nothing, as well as Amazon Originals The Man In The High Castle, Homecoming and much more
Sky in 4K
The best TV for sports. Live football and cricket, along with gripping drama from the UK and abroad like The Affair and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.
Looking for inspiration? Find out what to watch in Ultra HD on Netflix and Amazon Prime – explore now
Why is 4K content important?
For the same reason HD content was when channels like Sky Sports HD first launched. Put simply, it’s the best possible way to experience your 4K TV.
Frequently asked questions about 4K TV
Got a query about the power of 4K? Going beyond the question of what is 4K TV, there is lots more to learn. Here’s what you wanted to know about 4K.
Is it worth buying a 4K TV?
The likes of Amazon, Netflix and Sky are already turning live events and must-see TV into a visual feast for the senses using 4K. As the technology advances and our appetite increases, more irresistible programming is on the way. Find out how 4K is already reshaping the TV landscape and you’ll be ready for more unmissable action.
What is 4K upscaling?
4K upscaling is the process of converting non-4K images to near-4K quality. A processor in the TV improves the quality of SD and HD pictures, frame by frame, and displays them in a much higher standard. The pictures appear sharpened and clearer, with the same processor improving picture quality. Even if you aren’t watching native 4K content, you’ll experience a much better picture thanks to 4K upscaling.
Is 4K really better than 1080p?
4K TV is not only better – it’s precisely four times better. With a screen containing four times the number of pixels, a 4K resolution display packs in so much more detail. The bigger the screen, the better – especially from close up. Get up close and personal with a 4K screen and the detail stays clear and consistent without breaking up.
Are OLED TVs 4K?
Yes, most OLED TVs boast 4K resolution. It’s important to point out that OLED and 4K are different technologies. OLED is a type of screen technology, whereas 4K is a screen resolution. So, you can have an OLED TV that is also 4K. When OLED screen is combined with 4K resolution, you get one of the best picture quality experiences available.