Television has been the planet’s primary source of entertainment for seventy years. Almost every household in the world has a TV set of some kind – a box in the corner reliably delivering drama, comedy, films, sports coverage and news. It’s an essential part of the modern home, and is quite often the hub of family relaxation. And so because it gets a lot of use and because it’s the focus, the importance of ensuring you have the best quality television available can’t be overstated.
There have been many advances in the quality of TV technology during the decades since the first sets were available to each household. The impact of television going from black-and-white to colour in the 1960s was an absolute game-changer, for instance.
But the most significant developments in the modern era have been smart TV and the upgrade in picture quality brought by 4K televisions.
Since its inception 4K has, rightly, been seen as a revolutionary leap in the quality of TV on the market. 4K refers directly to the picture you view when you watch your television. Also sometimes referred to as Ultra HD, a 4K television offers one of the highest picture resolution standards currently available. Though it may seem hard to believe, watching a 4K television is a significantly huge upgrade even over the impressive quality of Full HD TV.
As with all other technology, as 4K has become more widely adopted by the industry, the cost to the global public of a 4K television has dropped significantly. These days it’s possible to buy a state-of-the-art 4K TV for just a fraction of the original $20,000 launch price (back in 2012).
What does 4K mean?
Full HD (otherwise known as 1080p) was the TV standard for a while. With 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically there were around two million pixels in total per frame. But 4K offers TV viewers a 400% increase in quality. To qualify as being 4K, the resolution of the television’s picture has to be in the range of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. The pixels are the dots of colour which make up the image you see on your screen. In total, 4K means that the picture comes in at over 8-million pixels on the TV screen.
That is an incredible amount of resolution per picture. So, as you’d expect, with approximately four times as many pixels as a regular Full HD picture, these specifications make for an absolutely cutting-edge TV viewing experience. Every hair on your favourite character’s head, every blade of grass on the football, rugby or cricker pitch, every star in the sky as the spaceships go whizzing by… All of it is brought vividly to life on a quality 4K TV set in a way you just wouldn’t quite get from an HD model.
While watching 4K TV, you’ll see crisp and clear outlines and vivid colours, plus a huge amount of detail, in each picture. The ‘depth of field’ also seems to be a beneficial factor in using 4K technology – pictures look deeper and ‘more three dimensional’. 4K offers the opportunity to view your favourite shows and films in astounding clarity and supreme definition, which is obviously a huge benefit to anyone owning a 4K television.
With certain models of TV you can enjoy 4K visuals with high refresh rates – which means the number of times the picture changes on the screen per second has a direct bearing on reducing things like motion blur. Motion blur is the softening of the image when an object, or the entire screen, is in motion. With a high refresh rate, a 4K picture always retains its sharpness and clarity.
The ‘extra’ resolution of 4K images means that what you watch will retain its quality on bigger screens. This means 4K offers a perfect picture which can fill your field of view without any compromise in the quality – in effect meaning you’ll be able to recreate the immersive experience of going to the cinema. You’ll have to provide your own ice cream, of course – there’s no 4K television yet capable of doing that!
Can I watch non-4K things on a 4K television?
Yes, of course you can. But if you view standard or HD footage on a 4K television, it won’t be 4K quality (as the picture will not originally have been filmed in 4K resolution using 4K technology). However, some 4K televisions do have a fantastic feature referred to as ‘upscaling’. This feature converts the quality of standard or ‘normal’ HD footage to approximately 4K quality. Upscaling works by using software to estimate which colours would fill the pixels ‘missing from’ 4K in the standard or HD footage, and then it fills them in using digital technology. This process can create an impressive effect which has a result similar to 4K quality (though it’s obviously not ‘true’ 4K).
Are there many shows and films in 4K?
These days there are plenty of TV series and films made and broadcast in 4K quality. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video offer a lot of 4K content. For instance, Martin Scorsese’s award-winning epic The Irishman is as visually outstanding as anything the director has made, and 4K really shows off his talent. The Irishman was made in 4K and Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino look truly spectacular on a 4K TV. The 2018 sci-fi thriller Annihilation was made in 4K and didn’t even get a cinema release – the 4K TV tech is so good it was given to streaming services.
If you have a 4K Blu-ray player you can also buy the latest 4K releases to watch on your 4K television. Some studios have also ‘retro-fitted’ movies by rescanning the original elements at 4K resolution – for instance the original Star Wars trilogy is now available in the 4K format and looks far better than you will ever have seen it before. Similarly, Steven Spielberg’s 1998 World War II classic Saving Private Ryan has been rescanned and the opening D-Day landing scene has never looked more awe-inspiring than on the 4K disc release. The brutality of war was never so vividly captured on film.
You can also find plenty of high-quality 4K videos available to watch through YouTube, as the website now provides users with the ability to upload their 4K footage without any loss of quality.
What is the best 4K TV?
Ebuyer stocks a huge range of carefully selected 4K TVs. All of these 4K TVs have an array of impressive built-in special features – and with screen sizes ranging anywhere from a trim 40” to an astounding 75”, all of these 4K televisions will transform your viewing into something truly spectacular. But – depending on your viewing habits – certain brands and models of 4K television might be more suited to your needs than others. If you are someone who like to watch films and TV there will be models of 4K TV which are better options for you than if you are, say, a serious gamer.
4K TV for gamers
LG 4K TVs are the ideal 4K choice for frequent gamers. With almost no motion blur they’re the perfect 4K TV to cope with the high quality graphics of so many computer games currently on the market. If you plan on using your 4K TV for a considerable amount of gaming action, it’s a very good idea to make sure it supports VRR. Some LG 4K TVs use VRR (variable refresh rate), which means they’re more compatible with console and PC-based games which change frame rates from one section of the game to another.
If you have a PS4 Pro which is capable of handling 4K games, then you will be able to play such modern classics as God Of War, The Witcher 3 and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, each of which is optimised for 4K game play. If you have an Xbox One, you can fight off the Martians in Doom or race through more than 200 circuits in Forza Motorsport 7 in unparalleled quality.
A 4K TV which is great for gaming is also a really solid choice for watching fast-moving sports action. Football, rugby and cricket have never felt more exciting than when they’ve been broadcast in 4K. The technology keeps you right there in the heart of every pass, every goal, every catch or every boundary.
Do I need a smart 4K TV?
Most 4K televisions on the market these days have built-in smart capability, so a host of amazing features will help you increase your entertainment connectivity. Smart TVs have become pretty standard in the last decade – as the ‘online age’ has advanced. In short, a smart TV is a television set with an interactive interface and internet connectivity – so easy access to on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. More advanced smart televisions usually also have a range of apps, and may even include full web browsing capability (like that found on your PC or laptop).
What are the different display types of 4K TVs?
Most modern TVs around the world are based on LCD technology. These TVs use an LED backlight and are referred to as LED LCD TVs – or just LED TVs. They involved an intricate system of producing your television’s picture, using extremely small liquid crystals controlled by tiny electrical charges. The liquid crystals’ responses to those charges are then illuminated by backlighting LEDs (light emitting diodes). The result is exceptional picture quality.
Some of the best LED TVs have featured backlights enhanced with quantum dots. These tiny crystals are stimulated to produce the correct lighting for 4K content. TVs with this functionality are known as QLED TVs.
A more advanced system is OLED (which means Organic LED). In an OLED TV each pixel is its own light source – meaning that there’s no need for a backlighting system. Every pixel and sub-pixel can be switched off – the effect being absolute black. So OLED TVs have incredible contrast and black levels. OLED TVs are more expensive but they offer a level of precision and control over colour and contrast far better than any current standard LED system – so the picture on your TV screen is about as good as it’s possible to get.
What devices can I connect to a 4K TV?
Each 4K TV in Ebuyer’s range will have similar but subtly different specifications, so it’s very important to check out your individual needs for connectivity with the model of TV you are thinking about buying. For instance, you should check which 4K TVs will have enough HDMI ports for all of your devices and, similarly, you should check the number if standard USB ports too. You can connect an array of devices to your new 4K television, including Playstation, Xbox One, a DVD or Blu Ray player. With HDMI, USB and VGA inputs you can easily connect your media player, games console and you’re your computer. It’s probably also worth checking whether the 4K TV you are thinking of has the correct type of headphone socket (so that you can listen to the television discretely with a headphone socket) and an optical port so that you will obtain high quality audio connection for sound bars.
Other great features of a 4K TV
Most 4K TV sets have a feature known as HDR. This means High Dynamic Range. It expands the TV’s contrast ratio and colour palette so that a more realistic image is possible than with a standard HDTV.
But aside from the excellence of a 4K television picture, it’s possible that sound quality is your biggest concern. If that’s the case then we’d suggest investing in a Panasonic. The brand has a reputation for great audio, and the quality of the sound systems used within their 4KTV range is as excellent as you’d come to expect.
For those big box-set bingers who rely on Netflix and Amazon, we recommend a Smart TV, as it will take all of the stress out of accessing your favourite apps. Streaming services are easily accessible and look great. All those films and shows have never looked better than on a 4K TV.
Is it worth upgrading to a 4K TV?
Straight away you will notice a massive improvement in both the colour and contrast of what you are watching if you decide to upgrade from a standard TV to a 4K television. Even if you currently have an HD television, the enhanced quality of what you see on a 4K TV screen will be immediately apparent.
By purchasing a 4K TV, you will elevate all of the on-screen entertainment you enjoy at home to new heights. Movies will suddenly become that bit more magical on 4K. Sport will be crystal clear and get your heart pounding faster for your team. Gaming on a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X will suck you in for a truly immersive experience… From film fans and gamers to families and box-set bingers looking to upgrade their home entertainment system, a 4K TV offers just about the best that there is. Unrivalled picture quality alone means it’s worth investing in a 4K TV.
It’s the best choice you can make, and Ebuyer stocks an impressive range of great value 4K TVs from various providers.