What is 4K TV? Full HD vs 4K TV (Buyer’s Guide 2020)

If you are about to purchase a brand new 4K TV for your home, this article will help you to make your selection super easy. I have explained all the important features that your first 4K TV should have.

No doubt television is a great source of entertainment and who don’t like watching movies on a large screen? However, a large screen doesn’t always necessary means better quality unless it has more pixels and colour depth. Yes, I am talking about the resolution and contrast here. The more screen is jammed with pixels and deeper blacks, the sharper image the TV produces. So as a conclusion, we have understood that the density of pixel matters to see more details on the TV screen.

what is 4K TV

What is 4K TV?

Today, 4K TV is also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition) and also 4K TV has 4 times more pixels than an HD TV. So 4K refers that the screen has 3,840 x 2,160 pixels = 8.29 million pixels (3,840px horizontally and 2,160px vertically). Your television screen is jammed with tiny bulbs called pixels. The more of these pixels, the better the sharpness you see on the screen.

pixels and resolution of a 4K television
Individual pixels of a 4K television

4K display has achieved the maximum resolution the human is capable of seeing. The picture quality is never like before with more natural contrast and vivid software generated image.

Example: Likewise, if the 4K TV has a super large screen size (for example 75 inches or more), the less sharp it gets. It is because there are fewer numbers of pixels per inch (PPI). Therefore we should avoid buying 75+ inches of 4K TV, instead go for 8K TVs for that much size.

Difference Between 4K and Full HD TV?

Take a good look at this image below. It itself explains a lot.

full hd vs 4k resolution

The main and only difference between a 4K and Full HD television is the resolution. However, this main difference creates more other smaller changes to what we see on the screen. These points make them distinct from each other.

  • 4K TV has 4 times more pixels than a Full HD TV (also known as 2K)
  • 4K TV produces more HDR images as compared to a Full HD TV
  • 4K TV creates a sharper image than a Full HD TV
  • 4K TV emits better blackest blacks and whitest whites (contrast ratio)

Is 4K TV is Worth Buying in India?

The basic reason to buy a 4K television is to watch 4K content and the availability of such content is not much. However, after the arrival of streaming media in India, like Netflix and Amazon, the availability of 4K content is easily accessible now. That being said, a smart 4K TV is a good choice here. Not only you can watch thousands of 4K content online but can easily connect blue-ray disc or other devices that output 4K content. On the other hand, there are hardly a few satellite channels that broadcast 4K channels.

So the answer is yes and no. If you enjoy watching streaming services and you have at least 15 Mbps internet connection ready, 4K TV is definitely worth buying.

What is HDR in 4K TV?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it is the most essential feature of television. It is a software-generated process that covers a dynamic range of the image to create a more blackish black and whitish white clip. As a result, you can see a wide variety of vibrant colors on your screen. Take a look at this image below.

4K TV with HDR enabled

In the 1st image, you can see that all the black tone is washed out and only fair whitish image can be seen. The clouds in the sky aren’t visible at all. However, in the 3rd image, the majority of the white tone is washed out which makes the image darker. So to fix such kind of problems, HDR technology is being used that dynamically illuminate the white and black portion of the image to make it look more natural (see image 2nd).

It’s not new that TV brands sometimes lie to the customers about the actual HDR technology they are using. So it’s good to check what the reality is. There are two major HDR technologies available right now i.e HDR10, Dolby Vision.

HDR10

HDR10 provides “Static Metadata” to tell your TV what is the darkest and brightest parts of the picture so that your TV can process natural colors. HDR10 is one of the most popular and royalty-free HDR technology. It means that manufacturers don’t have to pay anything to implement this technology in their 4K TVs. For this reason, 4K TVs with HDR10 often come with a cheaper price tag. Nowadays almost 80% of the video content (format) supports HDR10 which makes it obvious to by a TV that supports HDR10.

Dolby Vision

Instead of “Static Metadata”, Dolby Vision uses “Dynamic Metadata” which tells your TV to produce a better contrast ratio, dynamically. It makes the image more realistically vibrant and more natural than HDR10. Adding to this, Dolby Vision charges TV manufacturers a good amount of money and that’s why the 4K TVs using Dolby Vision are generally costly. However, there is a lack of content in the market that supports Dolby Vision right now. Only Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV have quite an impressive amount of content that supports Dolby Vision. Maybe in the future soon?

Here is how you can watch Netflix in your 4K HDR10 or Dolby Vision TV.

Comparison Between Dolby Vision and HDR10

difference between HDR10 and Dolby vision in 4K TV
Credit: dolby.com

What to Look for in a 4K TV?

I have explained quite a few 4K technologies but what is more important is the correct buyer’s guide, right? So here are the essential features that you should look for, in your first 4K TV. Here is how you can select a 4K TV.

1. Select the Size of the TV

The size of the TV should depend on how far you want to sit from your TV. Here are the optimal distances depending upon the size of your different TV resolutions i.e 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K (UHD).

optimal viewing distance of 4K TV graph size
Credit: www.rtings.com

2. Pick the Highest Contrast Ratio

Find a 4K TV that delivers a better contrast ratio. A 3000:1 contrast ratio means that the TV emits whiter parts 3000 times brighter than the darker parts. Therefore the contrast ratio has to be better. As a result, you can see a deep black image that will look more natural. See this image for example.

different contrast ratio comparison in 4K televisions

As you can see, the 500:1 contrast ratio seems very dull and all the white are washed out while 2000:1 looks better than it. However, if we have a more contrast ratio, we can see a more natural image like an 8000:1 contrast ratio.

3. Check if the TV Offers HDR Technology

As I have mentioned above, HDR can really bring the image to life so 4K TV without HDR isn’t a good choice. Find the TV that has at least support HDR10 or better to enhance your viewing experience. Currently, here is all the HDR technology in increasing order (last is better).

SDR < HDR10 < HLG < HDR10+ < Dolby Vision

SDR is bad and Dolby Vision is the best.

  • SDR (Standard Dynamic Range or No HDR): Supports 8-bit (16.78 million) colour depth spectrum. It produces brightness levels ranges from 300 to 500 nits at most.
  • HDR10: Supports 10-bit (1.07 billion) colour depth spectrum. It produces brightness levels of around 1,000 nits.
  • HLG: Supports 10-bit (1.07 billion) colour depth spectrum. It can produce 500, 1,000 or 4,000 nits of brightness levels.
  • HDR10+: Supports 10-bit (1.07 billion) colour depth spectrum. HDR10+ produces a brightness level of up to 4,000 nits.
  • Dolby Vision: Supports 12-bit (68.68 billion) colour depth spectrum. As it is far more advanced, Dolby Vision has the highest capability of producing up to 10,000 nits of brightness.

Practically, HDR10 is a clear winner here as the majority of content support HDR10 only. No doubt, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ emit far more saturated and dynamically correct image however the lack of digital content makes them useless as of now.

4. Look for Smart 4K Television

As I have explained above, Smart TV can really make your 4K TV worth it. You can watch your favourite content online in 4K HDR. Also, navigation and connectivity become much easier by having wireless technology like Wi-Fi. Also, most of the Smart TV support RJ45 ethernet port so that you can plug your ethernet cable right away to access the internet.

Different Smart TV brands use different OS which is mentioned below. We have rated some of the best TV OS interfaces of the year 2020.

OS PlatformBrand NameOur Score
webOSLG9.2
TizenSamsung9.0
Roku TVTCL and Hisense9.0
MyHomeScreenPanasonic6.8
Android TVSony and Other6.8
Amazon Fire TVToshiba6.6
SmartCastVizio6.4

Currently, LG webOS and Samsung Tizen are the two well designed, smooth and interactive OS so far that you can get in any smart TV. They provide better content sharing experience, lag-free performance, and smart home interation tools. Also, they have a good amount of entertainment apps collection.

That’s all folks. Pick your 4K TV as per your budget and make a smart choice. Never fall into any advertisement promises and always look for a better hardware combination.

Next Article: Best Smart TV in India

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