4K – Next Generation Resolution

4K1Have you ever heard this 4K thing? It’s a number, letter and Ultra HD but what does that mean, what do you need, how can you use it?
Let’s take a history lesson first! The original HD 720P was 1280×720 and so was a quite small image, and when you blew it up, it started to look little pixelated. While full HD 1080P was 1920×1080 means 1080 pixels high and 1920 pixels wide making it look much sharper especially as displays started to reach much larger formats.
Now, with 4K we’re taking another huge evolutionary step in resolution giving better clarity, better picture sharpness as well as enabling newer larger format displays to look as good as those older displays looked with those lower resolutions. 4K is 3840 pixels wide and 2160 pixels tall, giving it about 4 times the resolution of Full HD 1080P. The new standard is going to be called as ULTRA HD.
However there are few challenges with 4K such as availability of displays. Currently available monitors and televisions are extremely expensive, but that is going to change very soon as we have seen this with other technologies. Cost is going to reduce and availability is going to increase. So you might have 4K monitor on your desk and television in living room soon. Next challenge is interface – right now DisplayPort is really, truly capable of driving 4K displays at 60Hz which particularly for computer users or gamers is needed to perceive a smooth image. HDMI is still away from catching it up, however HDMI 1.4 with latest revision can drive 4K at 30 FPS which is enough for movies but not for 3D and work is going on HDMI 2.0 which could potentially be a competitor to DisplayPort. Perhaps the biggest challenge lies in delivering the content from producers to end users – and that is where the focus will be in coming years.
You can have a 4K capable PC but it might not necessarily be cheap if you wish to have an ultimate gaming experience of 4K because you are going to need a ton of VRAM, something like high end graphics card with 3 GB of memory to play reasonably high end game at that kind of resolution. And the next generation gaming console from SONY PS4 is going to be a 4K capable player.
In addition services like Netflix and YouTube will support 4K. However YouTube already supports 4K resolution though it is extremely compressed and is doesn’t have any noticeable difference in image quality between 1080P and 4K but it is supposed to be improved in future.
So in the end this may be a time to invest in 4K TV or monitor otherwise you can wait and see as to how it will go in future.
Mihir Patel,
5th Sem, CE.

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