Just after I spend a ton of money on an Internet-ready TV, here comes the next standard.
It’s called 4K. If you’ve been around computers a while, you remember when some basic models were sold with just 4K of RAM. The Vic 20, for example.
4K is about 4,000 of something. Officially it’s 4,048. Not a lot, but for video resolution, it’s a lot.
The present video resolution for HDTV is about 1,000 pixels across. The 4K resolution quadruples that, making the image just about as close to what you’d get in a movie theatre as you possibly can.
So, obviously, anyone who wants to show up the neighbors needs to get a 4K TV immediately!
The problem: They’re not really available, yet. A couple of manufacturers have them out, but that’s about it.
Another problem: They’re very expensive.
The best problem: There’s really nothing out there to take advantage of 4K yet. Sure, some films have been shot at that resolution, but there are no playback devices.
Worse problem: The Internet speed in this country isn’t fast enough to stream a 4K movie into your home, onto your 4K Internet-ready TV. That process requires about 20mbps of bandwidth. Presently the only country that has that kind of speed is South Korea.
Here in the US, the average broadband connection is about 6mbps. That’s still really fast, fast enough for regular HD streaming movies, but not fast enough yet for 4K.
So this is yet another example of technology being capable of something, but the infrastructure isn’t there to support it. Yet.
In about five years or so — just when my new TV is starting to break — it will be time to upgrade to 4K HDTV. Hopefully by then we’ll have some faster Internet to support those streaming movies.