4K and Ultra HD: Everything you need to know about the hot new resolution

If you’re only just getting used to the clarity and detail of HD then we’ve got bad news for you. There’s a new high resolution format in town called 4K. If you thought HD had a lot of pixels, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

4K (or Ultra HD as it’s also confusingly known) has enough pixels to fill four Full HD 1080p screens. With four times the amount of pixels it’s able to display four times the level of detail. 

This is especially helpful on television’s that are 50-inches and above. 

Whereas traditional HD is limited to 1920 vertical columns and 1080 horizontal rows of pixels, Ultra HD has a total resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 – a slightly smaller resolution than the 4,096 x 2,160 resolution seen on cinema screens (that, for the record, is called Cinema 4K).

We’re used to being slightly wary of new television technologies that try to entice us into parting with our hard-earned cash (thanks 3D), but when it comes to 4K there are relatively few downsides – except, perhaps, price, but even that is changing over time.

It used to be the case that you’d have to part with thousands in order to purchase a 4K set, but as technology has improved, prices are rapidly falling with even budget sets now being 4K-compatible. 

At the end of the day it might not be the raw resolution of 4K that tempts you into your next TV purchase, but the inclusion of other cool technologies like High-Dynamic Range, Quantum Dot and OLED panels. Before we get into the specifics of each technology, here’s a video outlining 4K in a nutshell.

Check out our video below for an introduction to the world of 4K.