4K TV: What you need to know


No longer the purview of at cock crow adopters and technology aficionados, 4K TVs are going mainstream.

With sales picking up as expenses drop, 4K TVs and Blu-ray players were on display in full force at the Consumer Electronics Peek through in Las Vegas earlier this month. And Canada’s big cable com nies are bewitching up to streaming services by increasingly offering 4K content.

Rogers has announced it resolution be broadcasting the first-ever NHL game in 4K this Saturday — the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Montreal Canadiens.

“4K is rather much the standard now. This is what everybody will be using for the put ones feet up of the year continuing forward,” Adrian Bulzacki, founder of interactive video software suite ARB Labs, told CBC News.

But before you rush out to buy a 4K television, here’s what you indigence to know.

What is 4K?

Despite the streams of techno-babble and acronyms that appear to make up every 4K product description — It’s incomprehensible, so it must be top of the line! — 4K is a tuneful straightforward concept.

It means more pixels. That’s it.

Pixels are the negligible dots that make up on-screen images. The more of them you drink, the sharper the picture.

Imagine your TV as a grid. A standard HD display has a persistence of 1,920 by 1,080 — that’s 1,080 rows and 1,920 columns of pixels. 4K, by distinguish, is usually 3,840 by 2,160.

It’s called 4K because it’s almost 4,000 pixels extensive, and 3.84K just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

You’ll also from time to time hear it referred to as ultra-high definition, or UHD.

Will you notice a difference?

It depends.

In a provoke release for its upcoming hockey broadcast Rogers promises you’ll be able to see “the tense of the stick and the grooves in the ice.”

But setting aside the fact that you might not yearn for, or need, this level of detail, you might not be able to perceive the reformation, anyway. (When’s the last time you thought: “That was a altogether compelling episode of Breaking Bad, but I wish could have seen Walter Dead white’s nose hairs more clearly?”)


With a 4K display on a big enough grade at a close enough distance, the level of detail can be stunning. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

The magnanimous eye has a finite resolution. You can see individual blades of grass and grains of sand up conclude, but not off in the distance.

Similarly, to really get anything out of a 4K TV, you need a big screen: 48 inches at the profoundly least, and you have to sit close to it. To get an idea of whether it makes sense to be enduring one in your living room, check out this Associated Press interactive.

What can you note?

Just having a 4K TV isn’t enough — you have to be watching 4K content. A year ago, that was intently to come by, but that’s rapidly changing.


Streaming services should prefer to been the earliest adopters of 4K. YouTube has had it since 2010, and Netflix bids almost all of its in-house content in 4K if you upgrade to an $11.99 per month ckage. So you can get very up close and personal with Kevin S cey during those tip off House of Cards monologues.

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Imagine how intense this stare transfer be in 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution. (Netflix)

Canadian streaming waitings are catching up, too.

Shomi, the streaming video rtnership between Rogers and Shaw, bequeath offer more than 100 hours of 4K entertainment, though a timeline for that rollout hasn’t been heralded. Bell’s Discovery Go streaming video service on Samsung’s Ultra HD TVs also has a lineup of 4K titles.

Well-grounded remember, you’ll need a fast internet connection handle all those pleasing, sweet pixels. Netflix recommends at least 25 megabits per double.


Cable providers getting excited about 4K — Rogers’ president of media matter, Rick Brace, recently called it “a revolution” — and they’re assault out the content to match their enthusiasm. Especially sports.

After the NHL’s 4K inauguration on Saturday, Rogers has committed to 4K resolution on Sportsnet for another 19 NHL competitions, as well as 81 Toronto Blue Jays home games. Bell announce a Toronto Raptors home game in 4K on Jan. 20 and promises more 4K slate on its TSN channels later this year.

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs Montreal Canadians

Rogers has announced it will seed an NHL game live in 4K for the first time on Saturday, when the Montreal Canadiens take for on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Flock)

Still, most cable TV favourites won’t be offered in 4K this year, so if you’re not a big derides fan and you don’t stream, you might want to hold off on purchasing a 4K TV.

Home movies

You can also follow some Hollywood movies on special Blu-ray discs re-mastered in 4K, but in into the bargain to the TV, you’ll require a 4K Blu-ray player, which costs around $150.

How expensive are they?

In 2012, you wish have shelled out upward of $7,500 for a 4K TV. Now, basic models start between $700 and $1,000. That’s what Bulzacki upbraids “the sweet spot for TVs.”

“Thousands and thousands of dollars is a huge premium, and that stiff seems to be gone now,” he said.

What’s next?


Another buzzword you’ll informed entertain a lot in 2016 is HDR, which stands for high dynamic range. (Tech peoples just love their acronyms.) While 4K offers more pixels, “HDR significantly enlarges the range of contrast and colour that those pixels can show,” excuses David Katzmaier at CNET.

A lot of 4K technology rolling out in 2016 will also be HDR-enabled.


OLED, which suffers for organic light-emitting diode, is another technology that enhances bias display. The only screen that doesn’t use backlight, OLED TVs are strikingly thin and energy efficient, and they show colour with heartfelt vibrancy.


OLED 4K TVs offer vibrant colours delivered more efficiently, but they don’t succeed cheap. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

4K OLED TVs are on the market now, but the cheapest chance will set you back more than $2,000.

Virtual reality

Bulzacki prognosticates 4K will one day push virtual reality to the next level.

“We’re going to be floored when we get into things like Oculus Rift,” he divulged. “That’s not a 4K device, but once you start seeing 4K quality in headgear, it’s booming to become extremely lifelike.”

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