Video and Audio Center Blog

Monday, March 31, 2014

Where’s the 4K Content? It’s Here!

What’s keeping you from buying a 4K TV? The same thing that kept us when HDTVs first became available — where’s the content? Sure an Ultra HD can up-convert a HD picture into something nearly magical, but having “native” 4K content takes full advantage of the much higher resolution (greater detail) and color depth (more vibrant, more colorful, deeper blacks) that the 4K TV can do. So here’s what is coming, not to mention already here, to alleviate those concerns and point out that no, there’s nothing to keep you from getting that 4K TV you want.

4K Ultra HD Media Player

The Sony 4K Media player takes a novel approach to rentals of true 4K titles — download and store the movies before the person even knows they’re there. And then present them on a special menu that appears once the player has been connected to a Sony 4K Ultra HD. Pick what you want to rent or buy and watch them right away - no waiting - and the player comes pre-loaded with titles and there’s over 100 (and increasing) to choose from. The only downside is that it works exclusively with Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs — any of them. But if you’ve a Sony, it’s all good.


Netflix plans to stream both existing content (example: Breaking Bad) as well as original content (example: House of Cards2) in 4K and has done demonstrations going back to early this year. The procedure will require a connection to the Internet as usual and the use of a Netflix client on your 4K TV — for example as found in the new Samsung 4K Ultra HD TVs —that has the hardware built in for decoding the 4K video stream.

The one major thing that must be accounted for is the “speed” of the Internet connection, since the amount of bandwidth that needs to go into the TV and then out as a picture is many times higher than used now for HD movies.— roughly speaking it’s about 15Mbps.  This means either having to pay for greater bandwidth (i.e., getting a higher speed subscription from the Internet provider) or going without (in the case where higher speed isn’t available in one’s area).
The obvious advantage will be that choosing and watching a 4K movie will be no different than that for a HD movie — the time being spent watching, not trying to work a newfangled interface and make all kinds of settings changes. And yes Amazon Instant Videos say they are getting into the act too.

Your Own 4K Content

Seeing a 4K still photo on a 4K TV just requires that the camera can turn on a high enough resolution, those now out do and they’re not costly and you can even get one that attaches to a smartphone (example, the Sony DSCQX10W Smartphone attachable lens-style camera). Just make sure the setting for the pictures being taken is 8megapixels or greater, put the picture on a USB thumb drive and insert it into a USB socket on the TV and select it from the Menu. Will it look good — no! It will look great. And that even includes putting it up on a big screen HDTV (1080p) too — an 80” or 90” Q-Series Sharp Aquos for example, which are 4K ready in that they can play 4K content for a near UHD experience.

But get the Sharp Aquos 70” 4K Ultra HD 3D LED Smart TV and add to all the awesomeness of seeing your own content in Ultra HD THX 4K certification — it being the first and only set to have this And by enduring 400 grueling laboratory tests that’s a guarantee that what you’re watching will have best-in-class picture with stunning clarity and detail.
But for video, shooting in 4K does require that the camcorder have the necessary hardware built in. Sony has two 4K Handycams [the FDR-AX100 being the more affordable for the pro-sumer] that will shoot in Ultra HD resolution, and for watching it the Sony 4K Media Player can be employed as the means for bringing it onto the screen.

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