We've come along way since the first national colour broadcast in 1954. Right now you likely have a HDTV but soon 4K televisions will be the standard, but what exactly is the difference and do you need one? 4K offers four times as much detail as 1080p Full HD, that's eight million pixels compared to two million pixels on your current set. This means that images look sharper, have greater texture and look even more realistic.
Is it worth buying 4K?
4K content looks amazing, and while currently there is a limited amount of 4K content to watch, 4K TV's can upscale HD content to 4K, that includes Blu-ray discs and HD TV shows. Show broadcasting companies have even started shooting things in 4k including the latest World Cup and Wimbledon. So should you buy 4K? If you're totally happy with your current setup and not planning to purchase a television soon we'd say no, but if you're planning on getting a new set and can afford to splash an extra bit of cash then you should really consider it. Usually we keep televisions for years and by buying a 4K set you're ready for the future. Photographers and video makers may also want to take a look at 4K sets. Both roles involve getting the best quality possible and with a 4K set you'll be able to see much more detail than ever before.
How expensive are 4K televisions?
Not as expensive as you likely think. Panasonic's Smart Viera 4K Ultra HD sets start at just £799.99 for a 40-inch set. Panasonic's sets come with 4K Ultra HD LED LCDs that provide vibrant and beautiful images, a 176 degree viewing angle, a super thin bezel as well as internet apps and 3D capabilities.
What distance should I set from a 4K TV for the best picture?
In our experience it's best to experience a 58-inch 4K teleivison at around 1.5 metres away as it feels just like a cinema. But this isn't practical in many homes, so a large 4K screen is probably best viewed at around 2 to 3 metres away.
Currently no 4K TV channels are being broadcast, but in July of this year the DVB steering board approved the DVB-UHDTV Phase 1 specification, this allows over-the-air transmission of 3840x2160 resolution pictures at 60Hz. The standard is expected to be made formal by ETSI at some point soon which will likely open the doors for broadcasters to start launching 4K TV channels, but of course to watch them you will need to get a new set.
Netflix currently provide some shows in 4K which are supported by some televisions, including Panasonic's AX800 4K TVs. A ton of YouTube channels are also shot in 4K so you're bound to find some high quality content to watch.