Last week, the blog discussed what 4K means to the customer and it caused quite the stir with my CI co-workers. In an effort to clear things up a little and to add to the controversy of the subject, this post will outline some of the topics discussed in our offices.

Right now, 4K to the CI means confusion. This is because 4K, to most people (consumers), means twice as many pixels horizontally and twice as many pixels vertically to make up the picture on the TV. 4K meant the HD picture quality had to be improved for the consumer wanting bigger and bigger TVs. Non-4K TVs have a 1080p picture with 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically. Since the 4K televisions double both the number of horizontal and vertical pixels, we get: 2 x 1920 = 3840 and 2 x 1080 =2160. Meaning 3840 x 2160, which equals 4K for the consumer. This doubling is where the consumer gets the term 4K. Here is a visual that helps people grasp exactly what that math represents:

4K Resolution Example

However, the term 4K is not interchangeable for both the professional and the consumer version of this technology. The term “4K” has been pushed on the consumer, but there is a professional 4K, which is totally different. Technically, “4K” is not correct when discussing the professional grade in cinemas and theaters. The CI using the commercial grade resolution is actually dealing with a picture that is 4096 x 2160 pixels and call this the “real 4K.” This does not sound near as sleek as 4K – I can understand why the marketers wanted to use 4K. It just sounds better, but is confusing the subject.

To distinguish between the two, the Consumer Electronics Association coined the term ULTRA HD, or UHD for short. For whatever reason, the TV makers stuck with 4K instead. It just sounds better than UHD. Because it still is confusing to the professional CI to have two terms, things (at least for now) seem to have settled on using the term UHD 4K for consumer TVs. I guess that is so they can leave room for UHD 8K in the future - which really will make things more confusing.

My question is why couldn’t the /Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) use one term for the consumer (ULTRA HD Anyone) and 4K for the CI? Like regular gas and premium gas. I am sure the concept would have caught on and not have confused a soul.