Other... - March 7, 2016

10 Things You Need To Know About 4K Ultra HD
by Rudy
by Rudy hmv London, Bio Head of Film & TV, hmv Retail

10 Things You Need To Know About 4K Ultra HD

4K Ultra HD is the latest advancement in home cinema and it’s hitting the UK in April. As the name suggests, this is a major step up versus old 'HD' (High Definition) technology which brings the sharpest and most vivid images ever seen on a television, but what exactly can you expect from this exciting new format? Here are 10 key things you need to know...

You will be able to see colours that your old TV could never show you

It’s called Wide Colour Gamut but what it means is more visible colours and hues. Blu Ray discs and HD TVs which have been around now for over 10 years can display about 35% of all the visible colours the human eye can perceive. 4K Ultra HD discs can display 76% of the visible colour palette. We’re talking about going from seventeen million to over a billion distinct colours; with particularly much richer Reds and Greens.

The detail and pixel count is four times the definition of Blu-ray

You’ll see details so life-like that it will make the images seem real. At cinema quality resolution of 3840x2160 that’s four times as many pixels as “Full HD” (called 1080p) giving a perfect and crystal-clear picture. And it’s an incredible twenty-seven times more pixels than an old standard definition TV.

It’s also a much brighter and better contrast picture

It’s called HDR (High Dynamic Range). In the old days a scene with high contrast between dark and light areas would look either overly bright and washed out in some areas or incredibly dark and shaded in others. With HDR the picture has better clarity and detail in all parts of the picture regardless of the differences in lighting; much like our eyes can do naturally.

4K Ultra Blu-ray discs also deliver smoother and more realistic motion

The discs and TVs can support speeds of 60 fps (frames per second) instead of the old standard of 24 fps. This means in every second more than twice as many images can be delivered to the screen so motion is seamless.

Only the new 4K Ultra HD discs will give you the full experience

The new discs will hold a huge amount of data and transmit it at between 82 and 128 Mb/s (that’s megabits per second). With average broadband speeds at 25 Mb/s and even the fastest broadband services at around 50-75 Mb/s full 4K Ultra HD content will need to be compressed first if you’re getting it from an internet provider like Netflix or Amazon, and that means poorer quality. The discs will therefore be the only way to get the true 4K UHD picture on your TV.

You’ll need a 4K Ultra HD TV and 4K Ultra HD Blu Ray player to really see what your TV can do

4K TVs have been available to buy for a couple of years but the Blu-ray players are yet to launch. You may see existing Blu-ray players offer '4K upscaling' but this isn’t true 4K Ultra HD, it can just make your old Blu-ray discs look better, not play the new discs. Both Samsung and Panasonic are planning to release players on the UK in 2016 that play the new 4K Ultra HD discs, which will come in black cases so they can be distinguished from normal Blu-rays. Keep an eye out for the logos below to be sure you’re getting the very best standard.

It’s not just the picture, the sound is going to be amazing too

Dolby Atmos, which has been used in the best cinema experiences in the world in the last few years, will be available on 4K Ultra HD discs, taking surround sound to a whole new level by putting the sound above you - so now you get 360 degree sound from every direction in your viewing room. Of course you’ll need to invest in the correct speakers to make the most of it. The discs will of course play good sound through any existing Audio Visual set up.

You can start collecting the discs now even before you have the full set up

All the new discs will come with a standard blu ray disc also, so it you haven’t got the player yet you can still enjoy the movie on a standard Blu-ray player. Also, if you get one of the new 4K Ultra HD players but haven’t yet bought a 4K TV your player will be able to detect this and put the best possible picture on your screen. This way you won’t have to buy your favourite films twice, instead you stay ready for the future.

You won’t need to get rid of your DVD and Blu-ray collection

The new players will happily play Blu-ray and DVD discs. They’ll also 'upscale' them, meaning they’ll add more pixels so the picture looks better on your 4K TV, though this process won’t match true 4K Ultra HD content on the new discs.


The first 4K UHD discs have now been announced and you can pre-order them from us now

20th Century Fox have announced the first range which includes recent blockbusters like Kingsman: The Secret Service and X-Men: Days of Future Past. We’re also hearing that The Martian and The Revenant will be coming soon too. Click here to see the full list and we’ll keep updating it as we get more information.

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