The craze to own the latest gadgets is a never-ending one. Smartphones, laptops, consoles, – you name it; everyone wants the latest and the best. That’s because manufacturers are always shouting to anyone who listens as to how their latest product is the best. This ‘latest equals best’ philosophy rules many of our purchase decisions, and we end up making purchases only to later convince ourselves of our sound decisions. 4K televisions are the mother of all such latest offerings presently in the market. There is a lot of frenzy around these televisions, and consumers can’t simply wait longer for these TVs to drop down in prices, so that they can own one of these. But, should you? The below points will help you in making the decision.
Effect of Higher Resolution
First things first. Does 4K resolution matter? The manufacturers want you to believe it; the dealers want you to believe it. But, does it really make so much of a difference to your television viewing experience? Experts do not think so. According to THX, the golden ratio for the human eye to actually notice 4K resolution is 55:6. This means that the human eye can actually notice the higher resolution of 4K only when the television screen is 55 inches or higher, and the viewing distance is lower than 6 feet. In other words, if you are watching something on a 4K TV at a viewing distance of anything more than 6 feet, you won’t be able to make the difference in picture quality if another 1080p resolution TV is put beside the 4K TV.
Now, take a moment to understand this. The conditions wherein 4K actually becomes relevant are simply unrealistic for most homes. Sure, some people might have a better vision. But, even then, the difference is only marginal, and will not result in exceptional picture quality enhancement, in case of 4K. So, it does not make any sense to buy a 4K TV, when you can’t even enjoy the improvement. This is especially true, when 1080p TVs are now available at impressively inexpensive rates.
Huge TVs Will Never Become Mainstream
In the previous point, when we discussed the 55-inch lower ceiling for 6 feet viewing distance, you might have wondered – since the TVs are growing bigger with each passing day, wouldn’t the 84-inch TVs become mainstream? If that thought crossed your mind, then here’s the thing about 84-inch TVs. They are the kind of TVs that are a novelty for everyone. They look great in showrooms, at public places, and even at a friend’s place. But, a practical person would never buy them. They will be the “elephant in the living room”. No kidding. They will occupy an entire wall. Every time you pass by your living room, there will be this huge screen occupying a large section of your wall. After the initial delight of owning such a TV subsides, it will increasingly irritate you.
No Console Support
The next generation gaming consoles, Xbox One and PS4 do not support 4K screens. This is not something that can be fixed later with a software upgrade. The hardware of the two consoles isn’t just cut out for it. The GPUs in both the devices are not capable of rendering content in 4K. As simple as that. So, if you were planning to enjoy some graphically fantastic games in 4K on your consoles, then your dream just went ‘puff’. But, everything might not be lost for you. According to Kotaku, Sony has plans to release an upgraded, new version of PlayStation that will supposedly support 4K. Sony itself has not made any announcement on whether the PS4.5, as it is being called now, is under development or not. However, they have categorically clarified that PS4 simply can’t handle 4K resolution at present. So, why not wait until they are out with a 4K compatible console?
4K Isn’t Everything You Ever Wanted
4K is projected to be the next step in the evolution of television by the manufacturers. Sure enough, it sounds logical too. We graduated to Full HD from 720p. Now, it only appears logical that we take the next leap forward. However, this is far from the truth. Marketers focus more on 4K because it is easily marketable. They don’t even have to convince the consumers the benefits of 4K. Consumers already think that since it is the next big leap in resolution, it obviously is better. Half the job of marketers is done there. All they now need to do is just put a tag of 4K on their television screens, without actually delivering more advancements that actually matter.
There are many things that matter much more than resolution. The reason is not that resolution does not matter. But, TV resolution has hit a point where its improvement does not necessarily translate into a much better experience. You could notice the difference when you upgraded from 720p to 1080p. That is not so with 4K. On the other hand, there are other things that you should care more about. These include sharpness, contrast, color accuracy, motion blur, and so on. At present, there is a lot that the manufacturers can do on these fronts. To be fair, manufacturers are actually doing them.
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In addition to all these major issues, there are still a number of other issues, which will be addressed in the future. But, at present, there is no solution to them, and you have no option but to suffer through them. These issues include no 4K content to enjoy, compatibility issues due to non-existent industry-wide standards, not supporting HDMI 1.2/1.4, most cameras don’t record at 4K, and so on. Even when these issues are addressed, 4K is nothing more than a fancy number, and does not add much to your television experience. Eventually, consumers will take the advice of early 4K TV buyers, and simply ignore the new technology.