The term ‘4K’ has become somewhat of a buzzword in projector circles, and its presence is increasingly felt at technology conventions around the world. But what does it really mean when it comes to your home entertainment experience?
What is 4K Technology?
Officially known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), the term 4K refers to a projector or similar display device with a standardized resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, making it the equivalent of four High Definition (HD) 1080p display. The term also refers to the slightly larger ‘native’ 4K resolution of 4,096 x 2,160, which is often used in cinema settings or 4K projectors. Both resolutions offer approximately 8 million pixels.
The most obvious visual difference between 4K and HD projectors is the clearer, sharper image. UHD works by increasing the number of pixels in each ‘space’ on a display, creating a more detailed picture that appears richer to the viewer. More specifically, 4K technology places four pixels inside a space that could only hold one in 1080p resolution, which results in a significant increase in image clarity.
Advancements in 4K Content
The amount of 4K content available is still relatively small considering the rapid uptake of UHD projectors, but experts maintain that viewers will experience the very best the technology has to offer if they take the time to upgrade their content sources.
In some cases this isn’t an issue, and many streaming services have already updated their processes to automatically provide 4K projector owners with 4K content where available. TV channels are also slowly boosting their content output to provide UHD display owners with the best quality content possible.
However, there are still some forms of content that require owners to upgrade if they’re to see the very best of 4K. This is the case for Blu-ray fans, who will need to upgrade their players and replace their film collection in order to take full advantage of the advancements in display technology.
When 1080p Will Do
As tempting as it can be to embrace new technology as soon as it becomes available, there are circumstances where 4K projectors may be an unnecessary addition to your home entertainment system. This is particularly true of projector owners who are unlikely to replace their Blu-ray or DVD collection anytime soon. Although 4K projectors will enhance these images through upscaling, they won’t be able to deliver the full 4K experience, rendering an expensive projector upgrade potentially unnecessary.
The lack of 4K game content should also be considered by any projector owners who have carefully selected their device for gaming. In these cases, delaying an upgrade until more content is available may prevent an inefficient upgrade.
Despite this, change is coming across all content sources and as a relatively future-proof technology, it seems 4K technology is here to stay for a while, and many home entertainment enthusiasts are already taking advantage of the growing list of 4K content.