If you venture into any electronics section, the first thing you are likely to see are massive TV screens playing clear, realistic video images. It can be an amazing thing to behold. These magic portals range in price from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending upon screen size.
How did HD video start?
HD (high definition) was introduced to the consumer world in 1998. With that introduction, TV screens went from a 4:3 aspect ratio (square) to a 16:9 aspect ratio (rectangle). It was felt that 16:9 more closely matched our natural vision.
The HD TV picture was noticeably better than the TV picture we had been watching up to that point in time. 4:3 screens had a pixel configuration of 720 wide x 480 high (standard definition). 16:9 screens introduced a pixel configuration of 1920 wide x 1080 high (high definition).
More simply: more pixels means a more realistic-looking image.
To see this effect for yourself, look closely at an image in a newspaper or magazine. With careful attention, you’ll likely start to notice that newspaper images are made up of colorful, little dots. The further away you move from the newspaper image, the fewer dots you see and the more realistic the image appears to be.
If that same newspaper image had been composed of even-smaller, colorful dots, then the image would appear realistic even when the viewer is physically close to it. It’s the same with TV. More pixels mean that the image will still appear sharp and realistic, even when viewed up close and/or on enlarged 100″+ screens.
High definition (as well as 2k) catapulted TV picture quality into something quite spectacular compared to standard definition. And, for several years, it was loved and appreciated by the TV-watching public. All the while, engineers were working on the next generation of TV’s and in 2016, Ultra HD sets were introduced to the market.
What is UHD?
Ultra HD sets (UHD) doubled the pixel count from 2k to 4k or 1920 x 1080 to 3840 x 2160 for a great viewing experience. If you stand next to a UHD TV you will notice that the picture is very clear. Comparatively, an HD TV requires a viewer to be at least six feet away from the screen to see clarity. Again, more pixels make for a better picture and the potential for larger screens.
Should I get an UHD tv?
If you haven’t’ already guessed, work is being done to improve our TV-viewing experience even further. We are about to see 8k sets come to market. One can only imagine how nice that picture quality will be. Do you hold off buying a new set until that time?
The best advice for any high-technology purchase is this: find what you like, buy it, and don’t concern yourself with the next best thing.
Unless you are an avid early adopter with a lot of money to spare, what you have now will serve you just fine.