You might have come across the “4K” term while looking for a TV, o most probably, for your gaming PC. However, even though 4K seems to have taken over our displays and video devices, you might be confused about what it means and, more importantly, why it is preferred.
In today’s rapidly developing society, the term “4K” appears to be used casually about everything from televisions to smartphones. For that reason, we have put together this in-depth reference to 4K resolution so you can learn more about how it affects your gadgets. But first, this article will define what the 4K is and what its benefits are.
So, let’s begin!
What is 4K Resolution?
“4K” refers to a horizontal screen resolution of 4,000 pixels. That’s four times as many pixels as you’d find in a regular 1080p screen. The increased horizontal resolution is one of the main benefits of 4K technology. In addition, there is now no blurring of text as the greater density of pixels on a high-resolution display allows for sharper images of more minor things.
Furthermore, 4K TVs have software to aid in visual quality. Manufacturers have generally improved 4K TVs’ local dimming zones and backlighting power (nits) over ordinary FHD TVs because of their increased awareness of how much light can alter a picture.
However, there are two types of 4K resolutions.
- The resolution of the images of the first type is 4096 x 2160. It is known as DCI-4K (Digital Cinema Initiatives) and has 4096 x 2160 pixels, or 8.8 megapixels. The aspect ratio of the Digital Cinema Initiatives-4K resolution is 256:135 (1.9:1). It is widely used in professional videos and film production.
- Another is the 3840 x 2160 resolution. This 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) is standard for consumer electronics such as TVs, monitors, and video games. Additionally, it is also known as UHD-1 or UHDTV resolution. This 4K UHD has a 16:9 aspect ratio.
In addition, there is the 8K resolution, often known as Ultra HD, with a pixel count of 7680 by 4320. When compared, its result is more crystal-clear than the two types of 4K because of the increased resolution.
Applications of 4K Screen
Since 4K is currently tending in the world of screens, it is preferred in various gadgets you see daily. However, 4K loses its worth due to increasing advancements in visual quality.
Although 4K displays are decreasing in price, high-end central and graphics processing units are still required to ensure fluid gameplay at this resolution. In addition, getting a playable framerate in 4K will need at least an RTX 3060 or 6600 XT, with many parameters pulled down.
However, you’ll need an RTX 3080 or 6800 XT in the latest games to get high picture settings and framerates in 4K. Thus, you will need a DisplayPort 1.2 or higher, USB-C (with DP 1.2 Alt Mode), or HDMI 2.0 ports on your graphics card for regular 4K content at 60Hz.
Use a FreeSync or G-SYNC monitor with your AMD or NVIDIA graphics card to improve performance. Unlike lower resolutions, where anti-aliasing is required to remove the staircase effect,’ this one doesn’t need to be used because the picture is incredibly crisp and clear. As a bonus, this will reduce the time it takes to load a new scene in video games.
Overall, 4K gaming now necessitates a compromise between smoother gameplay and higher image quality. As a result, a 1080p or 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor is preferable for competitive play, while a 4K display is the way to go for those who value visual fidelity above all else.
Most console games can only run at 30 or 60 FPS, so it’s well worth it to upgrade to a 4K display for a 4K-capable console like the PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X. Even though the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X can be 120Hz at 4K, most players choose the easier-to-use 120Hz at 1080p or 1440p instead.
If the content you enjoy watching at home is available in 4K quality, a 4K TV will elevate your viewing experience to a whole new level. However, to watch 4K content online without interruption, you’ll need a connection speed of at least 25 Mbps.
These days, you can watch various episodes in glorious 4K resolution on platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, and many more. But, also, certain broadcast/cable services still need to get 4K material. Thus, be careful to have a content plan before getting a 4K TV.
Is 4K Worth It?
When deciding on a resolution, it’s essential to strike a balance between price, image quality, and power consumption. The level of detail in Full HD or 1080p is lower than at higher resolutions, such as 4K.
However, laptops with a 4K resolution display will have excellent pictures, but they will drain the battery faster and utilize more power than their Full HD counterparts. This is because shooting in 4K can drain your battery quicker and fill up your storage space more quickly than 1080p (Full HD).
On the other hand, televisions do not require batteries, making 4K a better option for television, consoles, and PCs.
Factors to Consider Before Opting for 4K
Now, if you plan to opt for 4K, you must consider the following factors to get the best view.
Screen size matters when shopping for a 4K display because it determines the pixel density. Therefore, a 43-inch 4K TV will have 102 PPI (Pixels Per Inch), whereas a 55-inch 4K TV will have 80 PPI. This means that to enjoy a more giant TV without noticing its pixels, you should sit further away than you would from a smaller screen.
If you’re looking for an upgrade from a 4K screen, a 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) display is the way to go. For compatible content, HDR provides an expanded color palette, a more excellent contrast ratio, and a higher brightness level, improving the image quality and getting it closer to the creator’s original vision.
The Right Screen
Moving on, you’ll have to choose between an ordinary LED LCD and an organic LED display. OLED televisions are becoming increasingly commonplace, while OLED monitors are still relatively uncommon.
Self-emissive pixels set OLED apart from other displays like LED, micro LED, and QLED (quantum dot + LED). On the other hand, screen burn-in can occur on OLED if a picture with static elements is left on the screen for too long. Moreover, its lack of brightness is also disappointing compared to LED/QLED screens of comparable cost.
However, your final decision between the two should be based on how much you can afford to spend and how much you like one over the other.
Due to the demanding nature of 4K gaming on a personal computer, even those who can afford it will have to forego the frame rate in favor of better visuals. Modern gaming displays make it possible to have both a fast refresh rate and a 4K resolution. But a high-end graphics card is needed to take advantage of the high refresh rate in 4K UHD.
Simply put, given recent price cuts and the growing library of 4K content, buying a 4K TV or monitor to view your favorite shows, streams, and movies is easy.