We are getting a lot of questions about 4K / Ultra HD Video – here are some answers…
Do I need an Ultra HD TV?
4k is the new big thing, available on the very best televisions and projectors now.
If you see one you will want one, virtually guaranteed. Given the high cost and other factors most of us will opt to wait a while since we don’t actually need better looking TV’s… we just want them.
The current 1920 x 1080 (1080P) resolution TVs give us around 2 megapixels, but this new generation of Televisions and Projectors will deliver an 8 megapixel image. See this YouTube link for more info:
Yes. There are a few available, but be wary of 4K branded projectors which actually deliver a 1080P HD picture but use pixel-shifting technology to produce a more textured and detailed image.
Will Ultra HD ever be broadcast on TV?
Europe already has an Ultra HD demo channel. The BBC plans to film some documentaries using 4K equipment this year, presumably to also broadcast in this resolution soon. A trial is underway to broadcast of Ultra HD TV signals in the Baltimore area and the 2014 World Cup Final from Brazil will be shown in Ultra HD in Japan.
Will Blu-ray support Ultra HD discs?
Hollywood has also begun shooting movies in Ultra HD, and increasingly movies are mastered at 4K resolution. Naturally Ultra HD Blu-ray discs would also require a new generation of BD hardware to play the yet-to-be-invented new Ultra HD discs, but it is in the works.
How can I get Ultra HD films onto my Ultra HD TV?
Crestron DM systems now support 4K resolution, as does the Sony hard drive system, with others following suit quickly including Netflix. Video up-scaling will once again be included in Televisions and video processors, and as always you will get what you pay for.
When will Ultra HD become standard?
With a current lack of industry standards for Ultra HD material, the introduction of these cutting-edge TVs will be complex; however the march of technology will no doubt continue unabated.
What about Ultra HD for photographers?
The picture’s brighter for digital photographers. The PlayStation3 now displays digital still images at 4K resolution, and Panasonic recently presented a 4K tablet aimed at designers, photographers and architects.
On the technical side, where will the common mistakes be made?
I include this bit only to illustrate how complex this is getting… The guy at the big box store / electrician etc. is not likely to be up on this stuff…
Cables mislabeled: 4K is deliverable via HDMI at one fixed clock speed of 297MHz (up to 30 frames). This equates to an aggregate data rate nearing 9Gbps, which before the year is out will double again with an upcoming new HDMI spec. Although the existing ‘High Speed’ HDMI cable spec technically has this 9Gbps rate covered, many HDMI cables are not accurately labelled.
Many HDMI extenders, switches, splitters, matrix switches etc., on the market also contain this restricted silicon, and are not adaptable to 4K applications. CAT5 or Cat6 cable has become a standard but 4K fundamentally challenges the limits of this cable type. Technologies like HDBaseT already address this through proprietary firmware driven timing technologies, but it’s no longer native HDMI. Matrix switches with HDBaseT will generally still perform the cross-point switching in the HDMI space, and will still be restricted even though HDBaseT is capable of more.
4K is not only coming, it’s here. We’ll exist in a world of up-scaling and some proprietary file delivery for perhaps a year or two, then things will turn very quickly to mass-market. The challenge for us at Beyond Audio is we will be expected to pre-wire jobs for future 4K support NOW, even though we can’t yet even test what they’re putting in for validation. We will need to rely on their product suppliers and a leap of faith that the products will deliver as expected, when expected. The phrase ‘future proof’ is scarier and more difficult to define than ever.
Since we have been using Fiber Optic cable for over 15 years, and fibre optics will be needed to deliver these signals over even fairly short distances, we are ready to deliver this to our customers today.
4K Video Chart
This chart shows the differences between a few Televisions resolutions. HD 720p is typically what the cable companies and TV stations send us, 1080p is what we get from blue ray and a couple other sources, 4K is the next generation. The will allow either higher resolution pictures or much larger pictures that still look crisp and detailed.