20th Aug2019

The growth of 4K, UHD and HDR television

by James Smith

Trends like 3D televisions have surfaced and subsequently fizzled out due to lack of consumer interest, but that hasn’t deterred the television manufacturers, and the industry as a whol, from trying to create the next big thing, designed to make consumers turn in their current, serviceable, TV for something newer and flashier – and it seems 4K, UHD and HDR are the buzzwords of the season.

panasonic-4k-tv

Most TV providers have been broadcasting in digital and HD for some time. However 4K and UHD are becoming the norm – especially through providers like Rakuten TV and Apple. Featuring four times the number of pixels as a conventional HDTV, 4K TVs have quickly caught on and with it has comes UHD and HDR.

However, in order to notice a difference, consumers need to watch a screen that is a minimum of 50 inches, driving up demand for bigger TVs. But bigger is not always better. A 4K television can still have terrible picture quality is the end user doesn’t set up the TV correctly. And to that end manufacturers have moved to producing TVs featuring HDR. But what is HDR TV?

4K TV displays might produce four times the number of pixels of tradition HDTV. But are more pixels necessarily better? What HDR does is get more dynamic pictures out of those 4K pixels – bright whites get brighter, dark blacks get darker, and 10-bit HDR televisions can display the 1 billion colors you’ve often been promised by TV manufacturers in the past.

In short, 4K is the number of pixels but is HDR (high dynamic range) the provides the quality of the picture. HDR makes television look even more true to life than ever before, giving TVs much more natural expressions of light and shadow.

Thankfully the slow uptake of 4K and UHD has meant that prices on 4K TVs have actually fallen, thus creating more of a demand for large-screen, 4K televisions from the general public now that – finally – they are at a reasonable price point. Combine that with the growth in Smart TVs, which combine traditional set-top boxes AND access to internet services, negating the need for tablets, boxes or even phones; and the TV is once again becoming the centre of the [media] home.
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