4K TVs are Mainstream but Don’t Expect More Resolution Any Time Soon

As anyone who's purchased a new TV this holiday season surely knows, 4K is here, and it's unavoidable — at least as far as displays are concerned. You simply can't walk into your favorite electronics store and buy a TV that isn't 4K capable. Yet the vast majority of consumers buying 4K TVs are not getting the benefits of that increase in resolution — and TVs with resolutions higher than 4K aren't going to help. Some of the technology at CES indicates that this will change in the future, but despite what the tech companies want you to believe, resolution beyond 4K will never add anything to your home viewing pleasure.

There are two issues at hand. The first is that, at the time this article is written, mainstream television content isn't being delivered in 4K, let alone 6K or higher. It's true that online viewership is growing quickly and TV viewership is declining, but the gap between them is still huge. While online platforms might have an easier time delivering 4K content, TV is still very popular. As such, most video content the public consumes is HD or lower resolution, despite the growing adoption of 4K TVs.

The second issue is that, even if the screen is displaying 4K content, it's likely viewers are sitting farther away from their screens than is optimal, meaning their eyes can't distinguish the difference between 4K and HD anyway.

The average person sits nine feet from their TV. At that distance, the difference between HD and 4K doesn't even begin to become noticeable until the screen size is 75 inches or larger, and isn't entirely noticeable until the screen is 140 inches. If you sit further than nine feet from your TV, you'll need and even larger screen if you want to benefit from 4K.

The good news for TV lovers is those giant TVs actually are on the way. At CES this year, Samsung revealed a 146-inch TV they call The Wall. The name is pretty smart, considering your TV needs to take up the entire wall for you to be able to see all the detail 4K has to offer.

TVs jumping from 4K to 6K or 8K would exacerbate the optimal viewing distance problem. Living rooms don't get any bigger when you're ready to buy a new TV, nor can we expect people to buy new homes to accommodate display technology.

Display resolution technology will certainly improve, but the area of greatest potential advancement is in VR headsets. For home TVs, 4K is the most we should ever expect to get any real value from. Beyond that, innovation in TVs will show up as improved contrast ratio, HDR and refresh rate.

Mike Wilhelm
Mike Wilhelmhttps://www.videomaker.com
Mike is the Editor-in-Chief of Videomaker and Creator Handbook

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