Wow, when I asked Is 4K BS? three days before Christmas, I didn’t expect much of a reaction, but is that little piece ever popular. A bunch of useful follow-ons appeared in the comments and on G+ and Twitter, so here they are.
Never mind 4K, lots of 1080p screens are already being wasted because overaggressive or poorly-implemented upstream compression by the broadcasters.
I really notice this on live sports. Some Sunday, when there are 3 or 4 different NFL games on, switch between them and if your sources are like mine, some will have way better pictures than others. And the NHL is particularly bad; sometimes hockey games look all creamy and impressionist like one of my pictures in Lightroom when I crank the noise-reduction a little too hard.
Whether or not 4K makes sense for TV, it probably makes excellent sense for computer monitors. The 30" Dell I’m typing this on has big fat ugly pixels and I’d like not to see them.
Also, if 4K screens become ubiquitous, the manufacturing cost may get driven down to the point where it doesn’t make sense not to buy 4K.
Also, 4K is well on its way to being the preferred format for professional video capture. Among other things, it lets you do huge video walls and so on.
Adrian Cockcroft pointed out that “The ultraHD 4k standard includes more pixels, increases color depth to 10 or 12 bits per pixel from 8, and doubles the frame rate to 60Hz. The thing that is most noticeable to the eye is the 60Hz refresh.” Also, he noted that it doesn’t come with a storage format like DVD or Blu-Ray; the assumption is, it’s all about streaming.
The high-def pixel-count race is amazingly like the camera-megapixel race, which is mostly over, thank goodness. For most practical purposes, we have plenty enough megapixels, and camera makers are turning their attention to more important things like speed, ergonomics, lenses, and sensitivity. Time for screen-builders to do that too.
Chris Swan linked to 4K Resolution Is Visible vs 1080p on 55″ TV from 9′ Viewing Distance in HDTVtest.co.uk; I was actually fairly unimpressed by the quality of their research, but there were fascinating notes about what really matters in video quality (tl;dr: Blacker blacks).
People would like to see an experiment where you draw a non-anti-aliased diagonal line and look for visible squiggles. My feeling is that the result should be what the math predicts, but it’d be fun to try.
And everyone agrees: The biggest problem with TV isn’t the pictures, it’s the shows. Which is a little weird, because we are also generally agreed to be in TV’s golden age. But still, lots of times when I feel wiped and want video wallpaper, nothing’s on.