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July 11, 2012

Here Comes 4K

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

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.

4 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just where I live, but up here in Minnesota I get 30mbps, and it’s utterly fantastic. There are no words to describe how fast it is. I just bought Portal 2 on Steam and downloaded it (11 gigs) in just over an hour.

    Comment by gamerguy473 — July 11, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  2. Are you sure? The article I read said that some town in Nebraska had the highest throughput in the country based on their use of fibre optic cable. Still 30mbps is possible, I suppose (not knowing anything about broadband infrastructure). I mean, we’re supposed to be throttled to 6mbps here but speed tests routinely put us up at 12mbps.

    Comment by admin — July 11, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  3. Maybe the article meant MBps and not mbps. Here’s a speed test I just took: (Usually it’s even faster than this.
    http://imgur.com/8nnHf

    This translates to something like 3 MBps. With 1080p video stream requiring as much bandwidth as it does I wouldn’t be surprised if it did take 20 MBps, which would put me to shame.

    Comment by gamerguy473 — July 12, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  4. I just did a test (same one that you did, gamerguy) and I got 27.7 Mbps for my connection. That has to be way out of whack, or you’re correct in that the article meant MBps. That would be unusual, though, because I’ve rarely seen MBps used in that manner. Mostly modem speed is measured in bps, or bits per second.

    Comment by admin — July 12, 2012 @ 9:35 am

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