4K has become one of hottest tech terms in recent years; but what exactly is 4K? 4K is the digital cinema standard which is set to a resolution of 4096 pixels in width. 4K is exactly 4x the resolution of the previous digital cinema standard known as 2K which is 2048 pixels in width. The only place to see 2K or 4K is by going to the movie theater and watching a digital projected movie. Meanwhile in our homes, HD televisions are being challenged by higher resolution sets. Officially the replacement for HD is Ultra HD or UHD. Ultra HD is 3840×2160 which is exactly 4x the resolution of HD’s 1920×1080 pixels, or what is more commonly called 1080P. While Ultra HD sounds pretty cool it’s not quite as sexy as calling the television a 4K TV. Because of this there has been an marketing push to label any camera or monitor that is Ultra HD to just call it 4K because its close enough. I have never heard anyone say that have a 2K TV or 2K camera instead of HD but apparently 4K and UHD will be used interchangeably. So is it worth upgrading to 4K? No, if you’re referring to a watching UHD/4K content. The human eye simply cannot see the difference at normal viewing distances at home. You would have to sit less than 4 feet away from a 60-inch screen to see any benefits. This changes when watching content on a 60-foot screen at theater but that also depends on how close you sit to the screen. The big benefit is in cameras. The extra resolution allows for cropping and reframing of shots for more control in postproduction. But regardless of the misleading marketing campaign, and little visible advantage, 4K is not going away. The price is will continue to drop until it will be essentially the same as HD products. Just look at how many 4K cameras are out there including GoPros and how every major TV manufacturer has a 4K set
available. 4K will also benefit storage companies since the file sizes will also be larger than HD. As more content is created in 4K soon we will be able to repurchase our favorite movies in 4K on a digital platform and watch them on our 4K shooting iPhone coming sooner than you think.