back to article WTF is... 4K x 2K?

If you’re a keen Reg Hardware reader, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already got a high definition TV, and possibly a Blu-ray player too. Technology, of course, doesn’t stop there. While the switch over from analogue 405-lines to 625-line broadcasts - and TVs - took decades, changes occur more swiftly in the digital …


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  1. Arctic fox

    Too bloody right!

    "And it’s arguable whether or not you’ll notice the extra definition on a set that would fit in a typical UK sitting room."

    I should cocoa its arguable! If you do not mind sitting at the back of the garden in order to watch one of these hung on your front room wall then by all means go ahead. What would your viewing distance have to be? It is of course very interesting from the tech point of view and I am glad El Reg is covering it, but it is no way realistic technology for ordinary punters with an ordinary home even if they could afford one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What is "a set that would fit in a typical UK sitting room"?

      I use a 1080p HD projector, project it as a 90-inch wide image onto the wall above the fireplace and sit about 8 feet from it. You don't need any higher resolution than that for a sharp picture and the apparent image size is roughly the same as if you are sitting in the middle of a cinema.

      Also, it has the advantage of not being interrupted by dickeads talking, playing with phones or shaking popcorn buckets!

      1. Wize


        but then you are missing half the cinema experience.

        The other half is being ripped off price wise.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      405 lines is enough for anyone...

      See above

  2. Simon Harris

    Asus Lady

    Having studied Asus Lady in some detail, the right hand side seems to be one third, rather than half the resolution of the left.

    Just in case I made an error in my measurements, I think I'll go and study her some more :)

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      Eee PC girl

      Clicked on the Eee PC girl, then admittedly rapidly lost interest in the article content.

      More of her please.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    1080p vs 4k - simulated image

    It looks like each image pixel on the right-hand side takes up 9 actual pixels, instead of 4. That would make it a comparison between 4k and 720p, not 4k and 1080p.

    Tsk, tsk.

    1. Chris 244

      Au contraire!

      Every 9th vertical line is only 2 pixels wide rather than 3.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    On the other hand...

    I currently amuse myself by scanning 4x5 negatives at about 11,500 by 9,000...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Market Complexity

    I want to get a HDTV this summer - around 50 inches. If I'm sat 2m from the screen, would I be able to tell the difference ?

    3D, Google TV, LED, Edge LED, Plasma... I can read up about these, but last week I got asked by my mother what TV to buy - just try explaining the differences / merits to a 70 year old lady (she has a degree, but not in engineering !).

    1. ThomH

      According to my maths...

      1080p has a diagonal of almost 2203 pixels, so on a screen with a 50 inch (or 127cm) diagonal that's 44 PPI (or, the other way around, each pixel is about 0.058cm across).

      So if you sit 2m away, each pixel subtends an angle of about 0.02 degrees on the retina, or very very close to 1 arc minute. A human eye in optimal illumination conditions can distinguish two lines if they're 0.6 arc minutes apart, so technically a higher resolution could be beneficial. But I imagine not really in any of the scenes you're likely to see on TV, which tend to be moving scenes featuring large objects rather than perfectly static shots of typography or, ummm, rakes at a distance. And probably not at all if, like most of the people here, you've spent most of your life staring at a screen that's maybe 45cm from your face.

      It's probably worth someone else checking my maths before you take this as a definitive answer...

      1. Jim Wilkinson
        Thumb Up

        4K for optimal viewing

        Some non-rigorous visual acuity tests I did around 10 years ago suggested that 4K was needed for immersive viewing (i.e. when the image extends across the whole retina). Beyond that, there was no discernable viewing difference.

        So the current HD does well for sit-back TV viewing, but D-Cinema was right to select the 4K*1080 images as many in the audience will get a fully immersive view (at least on the front rows).

        The NHK work for 8K is a logical next step, but probably the best part of that package was the 24-channel 3D sound system (yes - sounds from above!). I saw the 8K work over a couple of years and it provided images that extended beyond your view. This is the real-world of course - you focus on what you want to see then move your head to see something else. So super-immersive viewing does have some application. But the main thrust of the NHK work was to show a long-term plan and no-one expects this to be in a private home any time soon.

        But there are those who have special needs - think military and marketing. Maybe 8K will make its mark sooner in such specialist markets.

  6. Fab De Marco

    Love the marketing term 4k

    Previously it has been referred to as 720p or 1080p referring to the y axis of the display. If they launched this as 2160p it would just sound silly. The average guy will simply say Pah! that is only and extra 180p's I will wait untill 3096p comes out!

    In all seriousness, great that technology is taking leaps forward but not really viable for the residential consumer.

    Now this is something they could put up to finally get rid of the sanyo and TDK boards that have been in London's Leicester Square for much longer than thos brands have been successful.

    1. mccp


      You mean the average guy who mistakenly assumes that 1080 + 180 = 2160?

      1. LaeMing


        Typo, more likely.

    2. Ammaross Danan


      From the article: "for most of us, a 4k TV set still remains years away. So too does suitable content. Most broadcasters are still not solely operating in HD, and Blu-ray capacities aren’t high enough for 4k video right now."

      OP: "great that technology is taking leaps forward but not really viable for the residential consumer."

      Even though the storage medium isn't there to use this "4K" set natively, upscaling can be more than useful as a stop-gap. Many people are quite happy with how their DVDs upscale to their 1080p displays. So much so that Bluray uptake might have been hampered by the prolific upscaling support in modern DVD players. I've seen 1080p on even a 48" screen look grainy (from a Bluray over HDMI btw), being clearly able to see pixels (dot pitch was the likely culprit, I'll admit). 4K with upscaling will make Bluray quality leaps and bounds above DVD (DVDs would likely look quite horrid at 4K upscaling compared to Bluray).

      Once a proper size format comes out (multi-layer Bluray or the return of the superior capacity HD-DVD [yes, unlikely I know]) then people can start having native 4K video. But until then, start mass producing these things so by the time 4K video comes out, the TV prices will be within reason.

      1. Daniel B.


        Superior HD-DVD? I thought only Toshiba thought that. 2-layer Blu-Ray already had more storage capacity; a 16-layer BD would probably be capable of even 8k video. HD-DVD was the VHS of the latest format wars from a technical standpoint. Unlike other battles, the superior tech prevailed this time.

  7. Ommerson

    Solution looking for a problem

    Since the human eye can't even resolve the pixels of a 1080 display in a standard living room, this is massive overkill that will satisfy consumers who believe that bigger numbers are always better.

    1. TheItCat

      you seem to be missing something...

      Pretty sure the size of the pixels depend upon the size of the display, not the resolution.

      As in, I can discern the pixels on my 1080p projector screen (90") from 2m if I look hard enough. Now if you're talking about poxy little LCD panels, then sure, but nobody who cares about quality has one of those anyway. Hell, my mum still uses a 20" CRT - and I challenge you to resolve the 576 pixels on that one from 2m away!

    2. Greg Adams 2

      Difficult but not impossible

      The only difference between 720p and 1080p I have noticed is the text was sharper.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      When I had a naff little Xbox media center, my old 640x480 DVD rips where good enough, when I bought ( and jailbroke ) my Apple TV box I instantly hated them and started ripping my favourite DVDs all over again in higher quality.

      For the first 5 mins of any video you sit there picking holes in the quality of the rip but after a while the story takes over and you lose interest, either that or your wife and kids tell you to shut up or go play with your computers and stop spoiling the atmos!

      It's like the old VHS to DVD thing, you don't know what your missing until you step up to it.

    4. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      The Problem Is...

      ...when displaying 3-D using passive glasses.

      One of the monitors I saw Tuesday at the NAB show used the over/under compressed format and passive circularly polarized glasses. The polarization was applied to the screen in alternating stripes running horizontally.

      The picture was beautiful untill you got a bit close to the screen and saw the picture broken up into horizontal lines. So the 1080 vertical resolution became 540.

      In another booth, the problem was elegantly solved by using a 4K monitor. This was, to a certain extent, overkill, but 4K glass is now a production commodity item, so cheaper than setting up new manufacture.

      The rumor i heard was that active glasses were becoming a thing of the past, but then i was hearing this from guys selling passive glasses.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I haven't even got a TV. I've never understood the fascination with bigger and "better" idiot boxes when the only decent programmes are perfectly watchable on a 12" screen. Not that I can name any since the last Fry & Laurie finished.

    Anyway, the point is that I read Reg Hardware for news about interesting hardware. Not consumer stuff.

    1. seanj

      Re: Blu-ray?

      Perhaps if you hadn't posted as an Anonymous Coward, then the Reg could have run any future articles by you to ensure they are of interest - I mean, heaven forbid that you be disinterested by an article (though clearly not disinterested enough to keep your yap shut and not moan about it!), even if it may be of interest to the vast majority of the millions (thousands? hundreds?) of people who read this site.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The millions (thousands? hundreds?) of people who read this site.

        Or maybe just half a Dozen with a number of different usernames/ip addresses.

      2. The Fuzzy Wotnot


        Or perhaps you leave the guy alone while he injects a note of sanity into this whirlwind merry-go-round that we all seem so obsessed to ride, the "the bigger the number, the better the gadget" ride we seem unable to get off.

        Granted I appreciate my HD TV but DVD upscaling is good enough for me, Blu-Ray is overrated to my personal opinion. I upgraded from a 22" CRT TV and VHS player that was over 10 years old, of course I will appreciate the difference. However, I want a Canon 5D, with it's high MBP and full-frame goodness, but my photography is not good enough to warrant the expense. I want an iPhone4, but what would it give me over my old iPhone 3G ( not even a 3GS! ), nothing much in particular to warrant getting tied to 2 years of contract or paying out 700 sovs for a toy. I want a slightly bigger house, not 'cos my family needs more room bit so we can fill it full of more shite gadgets and crap we really don't need and can manage without.

        My mind is awash with bigger, better, faster and more sexy, but somehow I know none of these things will improve much over what I already have. In 5 or 10 years time, things will have moved on sufficiently to upgrade to the latest gadgets, until then I am happy to be satisfied with my lot.

        Relax, calm down and just take 5 mins to survey your lot and then cast your mind back 25 years and realise how lucky you are to live in this amazing age of technology as it is right now.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: Blu-ray?

      No, no, no, no! You got it all wrong. You're supposed to say, "tablets are just toys, I'll never buy one." That's the new mantra of cultural snobbery. "I haven't even got a TV" is so '90s.


  9. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Your 4k vs 2k illustration is a bit off

    Those 'pixels' on the right are actually 3x3, rather than 2x2, so it's more like 6k vs 2k.

  10. Steve 6

    4K is great...

    ... if you like watching fruit bowls or landscapes, with humungus 'depth of fields' (typical for HD demo videos).

    For the rest of the TV or movie watching community, where moving subjects (and viewing angles) are the norm: a higher frame-rate would be a much more useful use of any additional bandwidth.

    The argument that the eye does not benefit from higher frame rates is a moot one, especially when considering HD films. The higher the frame rate, the smaller the visible jumps between frames for moving subjects, resulting with a reduction of the loss of perceived detail.

    (don't forget, the eye scans smoothly; it doesn't jumps 24/50/60 times per second when following moving subjects).

    FPS freaks really were onto something (be it for the wrong reasons).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      4k resolution porn..............................mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

      1. Matt Piechota

        RE: porn

        "4k resolution porn..............................mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......."

        I happen to know someone who airbrushed still-picture porn for awhile, you really don't want to see porn actors in high detail.

        ("eww, herpes scars")

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          serious hat on

          This could have a beneficial effect - herpes is currently considered to be nearly omnipresent among porn performers. Despite the often repeated claims their sexual health is regularly tested (after some HIV transmission scandals) they just don't test for herpes in the industry.

          Moving on, if this can provide a market signal so that herpes-free people are more in demand for porn then the sexual health of the industry should improve.

          Wishful thinking perhaps.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It's hardly selling a fantasy, is it?

            Porn sells a fantasy designed to get the viewer off; it's hardly supposed to be reality

            Herpes is incredibly prevalent amongst the general public; the only difference is that most people don't have frequent outbreaks and herpes in the mouth (usually HSV1, but not always) is seen as more socially acceptable than herpes on the genitals (more often HSV2, but not always). STI tests in the UK don't bother doing blood tests for herpes.

            4K porn probably isn't a good idea. As I understand it the porn producers had problems hiding features (cosmetic surgery scars etc) that were less apparent at lower resolutions. It can be debated whether having material that gets people off is worth the mostly unrealistic picture it paints of sex and naked bodies, but that's really another discussion.

            Anyway, I look forward to 4K in cinemas, can't see it happening in the living room for quite some time and wish that Serenity wasn't the first 4K film - Firefly was a great series, but Serenity is a by the numbers scifi plot that bears little relationship to its parent series.

        2. LaeMing

          RE: porn

          I recall some issues when HD first came out that most Porn actors were not visually "up to it" at the higher resolutions.

          Unless you find skin-pores hawt!

    2. Jan 0 Silver badge

      @Steve 6

      Actually your eyes scan anything but smoothly, google for "saccades".

      However, since your brain controls the jumps it can make allowances for them.

      1. meehawl

        Saccades vs SMooth Pursuit

        Only half right. There are actually two major different brain systems that control eye movement. Saccades, as you say, are rapid jumps. But there's a whole separate system called smooth pursuit. Actually, I guess, there's also the vestibulo-ocular reflex, which is a third system. These all act independently and evolved at different times.

      2. Steve 6


        The effect of saccades applies when you are reading static things like text - here the eye makes discrete jumps. This does NOT apply when following moving subjects (or viewpoints).

        East examples you can try for yourself:

        a) Read the text of this post - your eyes are jumping (the saccades).

        b) Focus (and remain) on any one letter of this post and then rotate your head - your eyes track perfectly smoothly (no saccades).

    3. Mayhem

      Higher framerates all very well

      But do sod all to compensate for the latest desire of filmmakers or music video creators for making lots of rapid cuts in quick succession to increase the 'action'. See Bourne/Bond or any modern video.

      I don't care how many frames you give me a second, if the image isn't sustained there long enough, I can't focus on the bloody thing.

      1. Miek

        Re: Higher framerates all very well

        I know what you mean, I found it difficult to follow some of the action in Casino Royale simply because it was chopping back and forth so much.

  11. Dick Emery


    I can barely differentiate between 720p and 1080p on a 50" plasma when I put my nose right up next to the screen. I have some test encodes of a BluRay movie split screened with one side 720p upscaled and 1080p on the other side. It's a good modern movie source too. Can't tell one iota of difference and various people have commented the same on a range of displays.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the BIGGEST cause of video looking like shit is the bitrate and encoding settings used. A well encoded 720p can look just as good as a 1080p movie when presented on most displays. You need a silly sized screen and have to be right on top of it to notice the difference on motion video (stills are cheating).

    Those that say they can see the difference between 720p and 1080p on a 24" computer monitor are lying or have some fantastical vision.

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Not a true test

      "I have some test encodes of a BluRay movie split screened with one side 720p upscaled and 1080p on the other side. It's a good modern movie source too. Can't tell one iota of difference and various people have commented the same on a range of displays."

      Which means that you're not comparing a 720p image on a 720p display to a 1080p image on a 1080p display, you're comparing a 1080p image (consisting of upscaled 720p footage) with a 1080p image (consisting of native 1080p footage) on the same 1080p display... I'm fairly sure you'd spot the difference if you were to put a 720p screen next to an identically sized 1080p screen, and play the native resolution footage on each.

    2. borkbork

      eye can see the difference...

      ...on a computer monitor with higher resolution, because the screen elements don't scale with the resolution. So the toolbars and UI elements are smaller, leaving more room for the actual documents and content and allowing more open windows to be visible. Stuff the TVs, bring on the the 4k monitors...

    3. Anonymous Coward

      720p v 1080p

      As a content producer, good 720p will look better than bad 1080p for sure. We produce both.

      1080p requires higher bitrate but since the professional cameras we use shoot at fixed bitrates, we tend to find you get a better looking picture at 720p.

      In an ideal world there is a difference, but in practice unless you use significantly higher bitrate you won't see much difference on a normal TV.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @Dick Emery

      "I can barely differentiate between 720p and 1080p on a 50" plasma when I put my nose right up next to the screen."

      Should have gone to Specsavers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can get a virtual hi-def performance

    out of my old 14in CRT TV ... I just put on my specs. :-)

  13. Anonymous Coward


    But the article is saved by gratuitous use of the EeePC friend!

  14. Dirk Vandenheuvel


    Surely if you’re a keen Reg Hardware reader, there’s a pretty good chance that you dont have a Blu-ray player and you won't fall for the upgrade harware hype cycle.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      @ Dirk...

      I think you hit the nail on the head there mate!

      What's this Blu-ray thingy? Shouldn't it be Blue-ray? Or blurry? ;o)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      yep - got me there anyway

      I watch films using an 800 x 600 DLP projector onto an ironed bedsheet, screen size 8 foot, total cost £200. Works great.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is cool....

    So when is the non blu-ray content getting upgraded from 1080i then?

    It's all well and good having TVs with massive resolutions but when the general content isn't available for even the current technology what's the point?

  16. jason 7

    Does most of the material warrant such luxury?

    IMO they should have settled on 720p for all TV broadcasts and 1440p for TruHD movies etc. via BD etc.

    Something to be said for a nice 50% downscale/100% upscale rather than trying to fudge between 720/1080.

    1080p sounded vaguely wild and tricky 7 years ago but now 1080p is holding a lot of things back (trying to buy decent computer monitors with some depth other than 1080 or the still quite pathetic 1200 for example).

    1. rsm1979

      1080p on monitors

      "1080p sounded vaguely wild and tricky 7 years ago but now 1080p is holding a lot of things back (trying to buy decent computer monitors with some depth other than 1080 or the still quite pathetic 1200 for example)."

      There's a good reason why you want a monitor or TV with a 1920x1080 resolution - if you use a higher resolution display such as 2560x1440 then a movie in 1080p will look blurry due to the resolution of the movie not matching the native resolution of the monitor (1920x1200 is an exception to this because you just get a letterbox effect).

      1. jason 7


        ......for totally not getting my post.

        I was complaining that settling on a resolution for HD material that isnt particularly deep or that well suited to actual computer use is holding us back.

        The gist is 1080p isnt enough if its to be forced wholesale on PC users who have other things to do than just watch movies all day.

        Now a 1440p monitor might just have been more useful.

        1080p as a standard just isnt good enough for the range of applications its being pushed at. It's allowed lazy manufacturers to be...well...lazy.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Laptop screens

    maybe now we'll get some high resolution laptop screens back rather than the low resolution "hi def" crap that's been foisted upon us since HD came out.

  18. Christian Berger

    It's just about twice the resolution

    Resolution is measured in lines per unit of length. So 1080 has 540 lines per image height, 2k has about 1k lines per image height.

    It's nevertheless 4 times the amount of pixels.

  19. kurkosdr

    Get me some decent codecs before you roll 4K

    Anyone with the right tools can make even a 40960 x 21600 film, today .All it takes is feed the picture from a DSLR's CDD to a hardrive cluster, and then feed it to x264, with the appopriate resolution set.

    The problem is getting the filesize to a number that's tolerable. For example, 1080p/1080i existed under the moniker of "HDTV" since forever, but only when Mpeg 4 avc appeared it started to matter.

    By the way, how much of 4K footage can a Bluray Disc fit? 1 hour?

    Some people say that a new disc callled HVD will solve the problem, but discs are dead IMO. A tiny scratch on such a disc would obliterate minutes of content, no matter the error correction. The future is on solid state drives and harddisks, and they won't reach storage capacity capable of doing 4K for acceptable number of movies for quite a while. And don't get me on started on IPTV/Video On Demand. ISPs will never be able to provide connections that handle the extra load.

    And since the new and proposed H.265 won't achieve more than 50% bitrate reduction, and added to the fact most people can't tell the difference between 4K and 1080p, then we can conclude that 4K is just a silly gimmick.

    1. rsm1979


      "Some people say that a new disc callled HVD will solve the problem, but discs are dead IMO. A tiny scratch on such a disc would obliterate minutes of content, no matter the error correction. The future is on solid state drives and harddisks, and they won't reach storage capacity capable of doing 4K for acceptable number of movies for quite a while."

      I can see this happening where movies and other content are distributed on cheap SSD chips that you stick into a USB3 port.

      You'd go to Blockbuster and come out with something a lot like the old PS2 memory cards.

      Another benefit is easy writing (multiple times).

    2. eBusiness

      Re: Get me some decent codecs before you roll 4K

      At 0.1 bits per pixel you'd get 5 hours of 4K video on a 50 GB dual layer disk. x264 will produce excellent quality at 0.1 bpp if only given enough time. The most extreme encoding I have ever seen was at 0.035 bpp, I could spot a few small artefacts here and there, but mostly it was sharp HD video.

      The point being, given proper encoding blu-rays are way oversized for storing a single 2 hour 1080p movie.

  20. Dazed and Confused

    Pixcel junkies

    It's about bloody well time.

    I've been using 1280x1024 displays since the mid 80s.

    Sony kindly lent me a 1920x1200 display in the very early nineties when everyone was arguing about what resolution HD would be. Sure made a nice monitor on my Sony MIPS powered Unix workstation.

    Well that was damn near twenty years ago. Isn't it time for some sort of progress?

    Hell you were slagging a damn phone off the other day because it only had a lousy 8MP camera, so surely it's time for the marketing droids to convince us we need more than a 2MP HD TV - you'd laugh at a 2MP camera, so why not demand your screen keeps pace?

    Do I need a bigger teli, no. But when Tesco's are selling 8MP TVs for a couple of hundred notes I'll be able to buy a 8MP monitor, which I do need.

    1. xj25vm

      2MP camera

      You might be missing a point there. A 2 MP camera will produce really low quality prints. Printing needs a lot more resolution then displaying stuff (specially displaying motion footage). So I'm not sure the argument that cameras have reached a certain resolution, hence monitors/displays/TV's should reach the same resolution actually stands.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        No a 2mp camera will not produce really low quality prints.

        They will product good quality prints unless you start to enlarge them/zoom too much.

        Obviously having the spare capacity to enlarge prints/crop/etc is good, but the resolution doesn't necessarily mean that they are not good.

        Most signs and billboards are printed at a much lower resolution than a magazine - since the viewer is going to be at a much larger distance.

        Same with TVs.

      2. Al Jones

        We don't need no steenkin prints!

        Seriously - who prints photos these days? I'd bet that less than one in a thousand of the digital photos taken these days are printed (and an even lower proportion of the photos taken on phones).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Printing pixcels

        Print labs seem to want about 250dpi

        a 2MP camera with happily produce 6x4 prints.

        4MP is all that is required for 9x6

        5MP is the requirement for 10x8 prints.

        How big do you normally print your shots?

        I can think of a loads of reasons why I need a higher res monitor, my old laptop (2002/2003 - 1920x1200) was about 150dpi which seems reasonable for a display, I'd love a 30" monitor of that resolution please.

  21. johnnytruant

    A chart of interestingness

    I recently "downgraded" my 36" 1080p screen to a 42" 768p one, and the image on the new one looks far sharper (after turning down the insane oversharpening, obviously) and nicer than the older screen, even with 1080p sources. My living room isn't big enough - according to the chart above - for it to make any difference, and my experience certainly bears that out.

    1. hexx


      the problem is that most of the ppl don't know how to set their TVs, sharpening on max, contrast on max and so on. properly set tv (a good one) can provide quite surprising results even on SD.

      when it comes to 1080p vs 720p vs SD (576p). the 1080p vs 720p I can see from distance of 1.5m, beyond that the difference is negligible. between 720p and SD I need to move good 3-4m away from the screen. my screen is 40incher.

      4K is really good but to fully enjoy it you need bigger screen. there's no point to put 4K on 40-90 inchers, you wouldn't see any difference.

      what's really bad is the fact that not that many recent movie are worth watching and those are the ones shot in 4K so the problem will be with the source material.

      even 1080p versions of old films (re-mastered ones) don't look that good like natively shot films in 1080p.

      you can use retina calculations to work out how far/close you need to sit from your screen to stop recognizing individual pixels.

      if most of my video material was 1080p i'd go for 50inch TV, but that's not the case, it's mostly SD and that's why i've got 40incher and sit almost 4m away from it.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Set up your TV

        Those who want tips on setting up their TV correctly can of course refer to the handy guide we published here:

      2. Goat Jam
        Paris Hilton

        Tech illiterates and their TV's

        Have to agree with that. It seems to me that everywhere I go, homes, pubs, airports, medical practices etc the TV's are always "configured" in the following manner;

        Contrast: MAX

        Saturation: MAX

        Sharpness: MAX

        Aspect Ratio: Pan and Scan (sometimes with added letterboxing to create a super stretchy picture)

        When I inquire of the owner/operator whether they find that the "stretched and squashed" picture is a bit annoying and offer to fix it for them they look at me funny and tell me that it looks OK to them.

        Nowadays I just grit my teeth and try to ignore it.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          re: "stretched and squashed" picture

          Surely that's the point of wide screen TV?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    WTF Where is 12K!

    This is just NOT good enough, how long do I have to wait for 12k movies to watch on my 40" Retina Display monitor?

  23. TheFirstChoice
    Thumb Down

    Vue may be installing 4K...

    ...but they're installing Sony's 4K D-Cinema projectors. The ones that, unlike the rest of the Digital Cinema world who use DLP (which works and has a nice contrast ratio and decent colour reproduction), are using LCOS - effectively a giant LCD projector.

    There have been many negative review of Sony's system, not least stemming from the imaging panels failing very quickly in day to day use. And if you want to show a 3D film on a Sony projector you can't show it in 4K... you have to run it with a weird double lens that produces 2 less-than-2K images stacked on top of each other, because it can't switch quickly enough between left- and right-eye images for the conventional polarisation or shuttering processes to work.

    Until Sony decided the world needed 4K, hardly anyone knew they "needed" it!

    1. SimonB

      4K 3D

      But of course there isn't a digital cinema standard for 4K 3D. All 3D titles are 2K.

  24. Obvious Robert
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up

    For the Summer lovin' caption.

  25. Andrew Garrard

    Technology of the future, always has been, always will be.

    Oh yes, the "TV standard" that turns up periodically and has nearly as many pixels as the T221 I've been using since 2004 (and came out in 2001). CMO made a 56" 1080p panel several years back, and it's odd how people keep demoing 56" screens with this resolution...

    More pixels are lovely on a monitor. For the TV, one of the biggest benefits is that 720p and 1080p both fit into it properly (by tripling and doubling pixels, respectively) rather than the current situation of 1080 sets mangling 720 content (although not as much as 1366x768 sets do). But we wouldn't have been in that mess in the first place if people had been able to agree on standards properly. Er, insert 16:9-is-a-pain rant here.

    If people want to upgrade TV, they'd be much better wasting bandwidth on broadcasting 1080p at 50/60Hz (or 1080i at 100/120Hz) rather than trying to reconstruct bonus frames in the television. I love more resolution, but my TV's big enough, thanks.

    Mind you, the Sony projectors in LA (that I saw in 2008) were very pretty, when sitting right next to the screen - but it was a damned big screen. And boy, were the pixels big when they showed Terminator 2...

  26. Luke McCarthy

    1080p is already more than good enough

    This is technology for technology's sake. I can see it might be useful for specialist applications, where the higher resolution can be used to pick out details by zooming in, but for general entertainment "4K" is overshooting the market by far.

  27. LaeMing

    Not much interested in 4k for TV

    But a few of these stacked around me would make a VERY nice CAVE VR environment!

  28. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Total waste of money

    Well, it is for me. I have to wear glasses to look at a 20in monitor less than a yard away. Resolution is 1400x1050 and even then I can only just make of the fact that there are dots. Standard res. TV at normal distances - no dots!

  29. Robert E A Harvey

    Stop pissing about with the tellies

    I won't buy a new telly every 18months when most channels are still showing shows made when 625 was the only choice.

    Stop pissing about with the screens, it's the dodgy content that puts me off, not the picture.

  30. Nexox Enigma

    Wyh is everyone focused on the living room?

    Clearly 4K was made so that someone can put it on a 24" LCD (IPS please) screen for my desk, so I can actually get some work done. Just think of how many absurdly small-texted terminals I could have open without overlapping!

    Who am I kidding, I still wouldn't get any work done, I'd just read El Reg - and I'd have to use my browser to scale it up so I could read it while leaning waaaaay back in my chair.

  31. Lance 3

    True 1080P

    We don't even have true HD right now. EVery providers compresses the shit out of it; even Blu-Ray. For home use, we need less compression, not more pixels.

  32. TheOtherHobbbes

    One word


    Where are they?

    I want one to show a home video of the flying car.

  33. Chris Beach


    With the latest kit games are easily playable at 2560x1600, anything lower and that hardware is wasted. So I'd be interested in a 2k/4k projector:) dunno what lag/latency whatever is like though, that could put a downer on things.

    It's pretty annoying that monitors haven't progressed, were stuck with low PPI 1080 displays...

    It's daft that my cheapo £100 android phone at 800x480 has a higher density screen than any 1080 tv out there...

  34. Michael C

    but only at 24hz

    HDMI 4.1a supports 4Kx2K, but not at 60hz, not even at 30, only at 24hz at 36bpp color. 3D supprot is limited to 1080p/24 as well (full resolution double frames) or 1080i/60.

    In contrast, DisplayPort supports higher resolution (limited only by bandwidth, which is 17gbps vs 1.4a's ~10gbit) more color spaces, and a faster etherchannel (and/or a USB passthrough). It also daisy chains up to 4 displays (at lower resolutions). Its also royalty free.

    1.4 added a data channel and passthrough audio, and some additional format supprot, but did not increase the link bandwidth. We need HDMI 1.5/2.0 to do that to support not just 4K, but get 60fps in full color on it, let alone 3D.

    DP is the better system, especially moving into these higher resolutions. This is confirmed by the inclusion of DP conenctors on the 4K shipping TVs today. We either need a new HDMI (likely with yet ANOTHER damned cable end), or to just move to open source and be done with it.

  35. jason 7

    Then we need....

    .....10 bit colour.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like the thought of gaming at 3840 x 2160 but I am not sure, if my house could take the graphic card behaving like a typhoon on full afterburn!

  37. Neil 38

    No 4k 3D support in HDMI 1.4

    HDMI 1.4 only supports 24p 4k, so moview only.

    Given more and more movies are being shot in 3D also, there's no Side By Side 3D 4K support in HDMI 1.4.

  38. Sonny Jim
    Thumb Up

    Solution looking for a problem?

    I used to have one of these on my desk (3840x2160 56"):

    Well, I say on my desk, you had to sit about 3m away from it. These displays really work well when you have a large amount of data (numbers, radar tracks etc) that you need to show on one screen. The 56" I had was used to show a coordinated air traffic picture of Europe, so I could see every single plane from South England, all the way down to the top of Africa and all the way over to the start of Russia. And when I say I could see them, I mean that I could read the altitude data, call sign etc or over 200 planes on one screen without having to touch a mouse.

    And Google maps looked sh*t hot on it also, the resolution was so high it was literally like having a proper printed map on the wall.

  39. lou

    Until you've seen it, don't knock it

    We have numerous 4k2k screens here in the office and I have to say that for clarity of image there's nothing like it.

    I don't think there's likely to be any market for them for a good few years but still the picture quality is excellent and much better than the 1080p screens we have.

  40. Matthew 17

    4K is lame, 8K is what you need

    To accurately digitise a 35mm film so it's regarded as being indistinguishable from the original you apparently need to scan it at 4000 lines, so as soon as we've all upgraded again to the new fancy 2000 line screens, bought the fancy new megaray-disc players and the super-HD remastered Star Wars & Aliens boxed sets it'll be time to do it all again when the 4000 line screens are available.

    1. Rune Moberg
      Thumb Up


      "To accurately digitise a 35mm film so it's regarded as being indistinguishable from the original you apparently need to scan it at 4000 lines"

      True. But... If you only need to show that photo on a PC monitor, a 1600 line scan would probably suffice just nicely. OTOH if you ever plan to take your fantastic photo and produce a 90x60 cm (or larger...) print for upclose viewing, then you will probably want to have as much resolution as you can get your hands on. (or even better: shoot with medium format film in the first place or just go digital from the beginning)

      My old 30" monitor sports 2560x1600. When I will need to replace it, I would prefer a good selection of 40" monitors to choose from and then 1920x1080 is just not going to cut it! Altneratively I guess I could get two of the 30" buggers, but that is not a very elegant solution IMO.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    few things

    Few things are as delicious as an NHK transport stream

  42. Tom Wood

    Quality not quantity

    While it's kind of cool to watch something like Mad Men on Blu Ray and see the grain from the film it was shot on if you stand close to the TV, if you watch this on broadcast TV all you see is compression artefacts. Try watching something fast-action like football or a pop concert with glitter falling everywhere on SD Freeview on a big telly - it looks like photos from a mid-90s digital camera (the ones that stored 20 pictures on a floppy disk). The number of pixels is irrelevant if it's sent to you at a limited bitrate. HD Freeview is better but still not exactly great.

    And that's just image quality. The content's often not up to much either...

  43. John Savard

    It Has Its Place

    While I have my doubts as to it serving any purpose for watching TV and movies in one's living room - although at some point, applying the up-rezzing technology used to provide "fake" HD from DVDs by interpolation might be used on a 2x display and a 1080 source in the living room as the ultimate deluxe home cinema experience anyone in their right mind will ever want - I think this technology is urgently needed for archiving cinema, and for cinema production.

    And it should also end up being adopted in theatres when practical. If people spend the money to see a movie in a theatre, they should get film quality, not slightly improved TV quality which they already have at home.

    So I see it as a valuable technology, but I also agree that we'll never need it in our living rooms. Our eyes are only so sharp.

  44. unitron

    Re: Westinghouse video displays

    "In the US, TV maker Westinghouse produced a set with "quad HD" resolution as long ago as 2007 - for around $50,000."

    How much for a version without "capacitor disease"?

  45. neilrieck

    Commercial vs Residential

    I always "thought" that 2k and 4k equipment was only meant for commercial use. Lots of commercial media is shipped to digital cinemas every week (where Cinemas aren't doing digital downloads). Hollywood doesn't need to worry about someone ripping-off the next release of Star Wars because the commercial product won't play on anyone's TV or computer. At least not yet :-)

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not such a thin tv, then?

    Mostly, TVs have been getting thinner. In fact, it is even a marketing point.

    The TV illustrated in the first pic is big enough to have a door!

  47. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    IBM T221

    Then of course there is the IBM T220 and IBM T221 monitors. Which, unfortunately, are long off the market, and I've been unable to find even a used example for sale. This bit of madness was a 22.2" LCD that ran at 3840x2400! Yep, you could get (almost) this full 4Kx2K resolution, with some room underneath for some menu controls or something. This comes out to 206 dots per inch, these apparently looked ASTOUNDING.

    The T220 came with a Matrox G200 MMS card, since it required *4* DVI links to run at full resolution. The T221 had several variants, with various solutions allowing fewer DVI links to be hooked up to drive it.

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