June 29, 2016

Is It Really Worth It To Upgrade to a 4K TV?

4K televisions are the latest and greatest offering from the TV world.  Touting twice (you read that right) the resolution of a 1080p TV, doesn’t it make sense to upgrade your television now to what sounds like an amazing jump in picture quality?  The answer seems simple, and it is, it’s just not the answer your expecting.  No, you shouldn’t.

Don’t get us wrong, the picture on new TVs is definitely better than ever, but the jump in picture quality isn’t quite as evident as it sounds.  Read on and we will explain a bit further about why we don’t really think that it’s necesarily worthwhile for you to run out to upgrade your 1080p resolution TV, as long as its working just fine.

The Human Eye Can’t Really See 4K Resolution

We are at a very interesting time in the evolution of picture technology.  It has now gotten so good, that it is starting to outpace the capabilities of the human eye!  Amazing! Also it is kind of sad.  Your eye actually can see the difference between a 4k TV and a 1080p TV, but just barely.

If you have a 55 inch or less tv, and you are sitting 10 feet or more away from the TV, you eye is physically incapable of seeing the difference.  Here is a really cool info-graphic taken from a CNET article on the same subject (definitely worth a read).

screen size benefit

As you can see you need to have a large screen, and sit unnecessarily close to the television in order to have the picture look any better.  I’m just guessing that most people aren’t going to rearrange their living rooms just because they got a TV with slightly better resolution, and most people would be extremely uncomfortable sitting 5 feet away from a 60 inch TV.

Our eyes are physically limited by evolution.  Harsh but true.

There Are More Important Aspects Of Picture Quality than Pixels

Pixels are easy to understand.  Consumers are used to seeing them front and center with branding, and people assume that one (lets use 1080p TV as an example) is essentially the same as any other 1080p TV.  The reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth.  While more pixels do generally mean the picture will be clearer (from up close) the human eye actually picks up on other features of TV quality more readily.

High Quality TV’s Are High On Other Features

What is much harder to improve and quantify for consumers are features like motion blur, contrast ratio, and color accuracy.  When people see a very clear picture, they think it is because there are a lot of pixels.  What they don’t realize is that what they are really seeing is the color contrast and the quality and accuracy of the colors.

The problem that consumers have is that there are not readily quantifiable and comparable metrics for comparing the quality of these features.  This leads to pixels being the one aspect of a television’s quality that is advertised front and center, and it’s what most people base their purchasing decision on.

Buy a TV On These Features Before Pixels

You are better served to do your research and get a television that is actually made with a very high quality picture, because the reality is that a 1080 TV has plenty of pixels already to make a crystal clear picture.  Even if there were 8K TVs but features like contrast ratio didn’t improve, you wouldn’t notice any real difference in the quality of the picture.

Get a high quality TV, not one with more pixels.  4K televisions offer little upside over a 1080p if the other aspects affecting the picture aren’t improved along with the higher pixel count.  If you already own a high quality 1080p TV, you probably will get little upside from a 4K TV.

Reality: 4K is Here

The truth is that you may not have a choice.  If you are getting a new television anyway, chances are most of what you will see for sale will be 4K, so you probably won’t be able to avoid it.  Once one TV company introduces a higher pixel count the others don’t have any choice but to match them.

If you look at cost, they aren’t really that much more money than a 1080p.  There are small improvements in the picture if you are looking at it extremely closely so don’t feel bad if you do end up with one.

What we want to leave you with is that if you have a 1080p television with a good picture, you shouldn’t worry about upgrading.  Unless you are getting a top of the line television with all the other aspects of high quality picture, you shouldn’t waste your money.

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