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1080 HD vs. 4K UHD: Is There a Difference?

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UHD is a resource hog. It gobbles up bandwidth and energy, to deliver an improvement in video quality that few will actually enjoy. At best, users may be dazzled by a placebo effect. If the specs are better, they may psychologically perceive better video quality. Unless you have a very large screen or are sitting close to your TV, you will not notice a difference.

Why You Should Buy a UHD TV Anyway

Reading this article, you may get the impression that buying a 4K UHD TV is foolish. The reality is, there are some good reasons to buy a 4K UHD TV. For one, they’re inexpensive. You can buy a decent 55″ UHD TV for less than $700. They have really come down in price. In fact, most home appliance stores have more UHD TVs on display than HD ones.

Although HD TVs are much cheaper than their UHD counterparts, there’s a good reason to spend a little more money. UHD will eventually be the new standard for television. This will probably take several years, but UHD content is become much more available. In time, it will be the new standard. Buying a UHD TV now will help “future proof” your purchase, ensuring that it will be compatible with the next standard.

Most of the new TV appliances, such as Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV, support 4K resolution. Unfortunately, Apple TV still does not support UHD. I can’t be too critical of this deficiency. After all, there isn’t a lot of UHD content. The processing power would also slow down the overall performance of the TV appliance, at least while 4K video is being played. Furthermore, most households don’t have 25 Mbps of bandwidth to spare. I recently got upgraded to just under 30 Mbps. If everyone in your household is watching UHD programming, you’ll need a really fast Internet connection, which simply isn’t available in many regions.

In theory, Apple could enable UHD on Apple TV 4 through a software update. They may also defer this upgrade to a later model. I personally don’t care. I still have an HD TV. UHD hasn’t impressed me to the point of replacing my television. I’ll keep the one I have until it is no longer useful. If, however, you are in the market for a new TV, it’s probably a good idea to go for UHD. You can watch HD content on a UHD TV, but most importantly, you’ll be ready for when UHD becomes a standard.

We already have 8K TVs on the market now. This is where it all starts to get a bit silly. The difference between HD and UHD is barely perceptible. Going up to 8K resolution is idiotic. Most people are not going to have a 120″ screen in their living room, and watch it from one foot away. It all goes to show how ridiculous this is.

The compelling evolution in technology is HDR — high dynamic range. This technology dramatically improves contrast and color reproduction. This is far more meaningful and perceptible than resolution, but maybe not as marketable. My hope is that the industry stops focusing on how many pixels they can cram onto a screen. Instead, the pixel’s quality and dynamic range should be the new frontier of TV technology. 8K? No way!

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