What is 4K and what it means for the future of high definition

Think you’ve seen all there is to see? Think again. 4K is changing the way you record video. So, what is 4K? And why should you care?

 

While it can be hard to keep up with new camera terms and features, chances are you’re going to be hearing a lot more about the term “4K” in the future. It’s time to learn more about this video-recording technology and why it matters to you.

What is 4K?

The consumer standard for 4K is called Ultra High Definition (UHD). In its most basic concept, it offers a much higher resolution by packing even more pixels into a display.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers:

What is currently considered high definition is referred to as 1080p. That number is derived from the number of vertical pixels in a display (1,080 pixels). And then there’s 4K UHD, which derives its name from the number of horizontal pixels (3,840 pixels). So, a TV with 4K resolution has 3,840 x 2,160 pixels—or 4K x 2K—creating a resolution of nearly 8.3 million pixels. How many pixels are in current HDTVs? Approximately 2 million. So, as you can see, there’s quite a difference in numbers alone.

So what does that mean to you? Content displayed in 4K promises unprecedented high definition. With spectacular color reproduction and crystal-clear detail, 4K is the closest you can get to creating a cinema experience at home. Quite simply, 4K is the future of glasses-free 3D TV.

Where did 4K come from?

Although 4K may sound unfamiliar, it’s not actually that new of a concept. In fact, digital cinema 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) first appeared in movie theaters. Many already have 4K-capable projectors and have since 2006.

In 2001, the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) was formed with the main goal of finding an alternative to film. Why? Film is expensive. It’s more susceptible to damage and is expensive to produce, transport and store. Thus began the search for more cost-efficient ways to produce movies while simultaneously creating an amazing, big-screen resolution. And with that, 4K resolution was born.

Why does 4K matter?

Movie theaters aside, 4K may not mean much to you now, but it probably will. There’s a lot of buzz about 4K resolution and what it means for the future of high-definition viewing. 4K TVs are already available, and now popular streaming services and video forums like YouTube have begun offering 4K content as well.

Where does your device come in?

Here’s the kicker: 4K and mobile technology have already become acquainted. Several mobile devices can record 4K UHD content, including the Droid Turbo 2 by motorola and Samsung Galaxy S7, among others.

There you have it: your 4K 101. Keep an eye out for 4K in the future—it may show up in the specs of your next new device.

 

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