The Lowdown on 4K TVs  

Just like everything else in the digital world, television technology has been advancing at a rapid pace. Remember the plasma vs. LCD battle? That’s old-school these days. In the last ten years TVs have gone HD, 3D and smart. And now there’s a new technology going mainstream: 4K, also known as Ultra HD.

What exactly is a 4K TV?

In technical terms, 4K TVs offer a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, four times the 1,920 x 1,080 available in full HD TVs.  In layman’s terms, a 4K TV offers a level of detail and clarity that’s never been seen on the small screen before. Images are so lifelike, you almost feel like you’re there rather than watching a screen.

Is it available everywhere?

In short, yes. 4K used to be expensive and reserved for the top of the line units, but is readily available now and much more affordable. 4K TVs start at around $400 and go up from there. Some say the bigger the screen, the better the effect. But 4K quality is so good, that you’ll enjoy the benefits on smaller screens as well.

Do I need other equipment?

Technically, no (if your 4K TV is a new model). But you’ll need to make sure that your internet connection speed is high enough to stream 4K content. The recommendation is at least 15Mbps, with 25Mbps being preferable. If you have an AV receiver or other equipment connected, you’ll need to ensure that it has a HDMI 2.0 input. If it doesn’t, it won’t be able to pass the 4K content.

What 4K content is available?

Now that it’s a widely accepted technology, more and more 4K content is popping up. The most recognizable sources of 4K content are Netflix and Amazon. Netflix’s Ultra HD streaming plan is $11.99/month and gives you access to nearly one hundred 4K movies and several series in 4K. Amazon Prime members can stream a handful of 4K movies and series at no additional cost. You can also find 4K content on YouTube, or opt to buy an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and associated Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

Anything else?

As you’re shopping around for a 4K TV, remember to consider screen size, the seating arrangement in the TV room and what kind of sound system you have to complement the theater-like quality of the TV.