What You Need to Know Before Buying a 4K TV

Ambrosic Home Theater Designs, LLC

April 18, 2022

So you want a 4K television. You are not alone. It’s all anyone can talk about on social media. The terms 4K, HDR and UHD are everywhere. At four times the pixels of 1080p, about 8 million pixels, the picture is incredible! Consumers love the latest technology and want 4K televisions in their homes. But before making an investment in a 4K TV, here is what you really need to know to make an educated purchase:

Is it Really 4K?

The packaging may say it’s a 4K TV, but is it REALLY? Does it support 4:4:4 color where every pixel in the television gets color info? Read the specs on the television carefully or call us and we’ll help you understand them. Unless you can confirm that this is a real 4K TV, you shouldn’t move forward with your purchase.

Does it Have HDR?

HDR is the biggest change to come to television in the last 10 years. HDR, aka High Dynamic Range, takes the brightness and contrast controls to a radically new level of performance. This provides much greater detail and shading than ever before possible. To purchase a new TV that doesn’t support HDR would be a waste of money. Read the 4K TV specs carefully and look for HDR or High Dynamic Range. If it’s not listed, move on to the next TV!

Do the TV’s HDMI Inputs Support HDR & HDCP 2.2?

This is important because the 4K content will have the latest in security, which requires HDCP 2.2 compatibility. In addition, the new UHD Blu-ray players needed to play 4K movies will not work if the HDMI inputs will not support 4K. Since the introduction of true 4K sources, most problem calls have been about “getting no picture.” These have mostly been due to the use of the wrong TV input. If you hire an audio visual professional to handle your new system, they will know which is the correct input to use or you can check the display’s manual.

In summary, to have a 4K/60 picture you may have to upgrade your entire system. Which brings us to our next topic…

Do You Have the Right HDR / 4K Accessories?

Once the specs of your REAL 4K TV are confirmed, next comes the right accessories to support 4K content. You’ll want your 4K TV to show true 4K content as it’s intended.  Special cables are made to specifically support the full HDMI 2.0a specs. Your audio visual professional should know if the cables they are using will support these specs.  Ask them. If they can’t answer that question — do not purchase the TV or accessories from them.  Trained audio visual professional installers should know the products they are selling.

Where Do You Get 4K Content?

Now that your new 4K TV system is setup with the proper accessories, what content can you watch to experience the true 4K difference? Mainstream cable services are slowing offering limited 4K content (mainly sporting events), but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Streaming options are available for 4K on Netflix, Amazon, Ultrafix, YouTube, Vudu and various apps (Sony’s Ultra 4K). Your new 4K television may even support internal apps to stream this content. Make sure your home’s Wi-Fi broadband specs support 4K video stream and that you can get the content via streaming with your cable Wi-Fi provider. Movies are starting to be released in 4K versions (like the Blue Ray upgrade) but are only playable with UHD Blu-ray players, which use lasers of a different wavelength than regular Blu-ray players. If you want 4K movies played on your new 4K television, you will have to purchase a UHD Blu-ray player in addition to your 4K television.

Article courtesy of Metra Home Theater

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