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What Is 4K Resolution

By: Westman Communications Group
Posted: May 21, 2024 18:38Television

Pixels, pixels, and more pixels

Read time: 3 minutes 

4K resolution has been a popular term in streaming and broadcast TV over the last few years. You’ve likely had someone boast about their new 4K TV, or you’ve seen the flashy displays at the electronics store advertising the next generation of TVs. But didn’t we just get an upgrade from Standard Definition to High Definition? What’s so different about 4K? It’s a little complicated, but we’ll help explain it. 

When discussing 4K resolution, also known as Ultra HD or UHD, we have to talk about pixel counts. The quality of a TV screen is measured by how many pixels it can display, otherwise known as pixel counts. Every image on your screen is made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels, and your TV screen displays those pixels as best as it can. The more pixels your display has, the higher the resolution it can manage. Think of it like spreading peanut butter over toast; the amount of peanut butter you can spread depends on the size of your bread.  

The past two decades have seen an increase in screen resolution. The giant TV boxes of the past displayed content in Standard Definition (SD), which was 720 pixels wide and 480 pixels high, resulting in 345,600 pixels being displayed. Then came 1080p High Definition (HD) displays that measured 1,920 pixels across by 1,080 pixels high, resulting in a total of 2.07 million pixels. That means that the resolution of a 1080p display has six times the pixel count that an SD display has.  

With 4K, the upgrade in pixel counts is substantial. These displays show off with 3,840 pixels high by 2,160 pixels wide, meaning that 4K displays produce 8.29 million pixels. This means that 4K displays have four times the pixel count of an HD display and 24 times the pixel count of an SD display! This giant leap in quality allows for greater detail from various distances. If you sit relatively close to an HD display, you’ll be able to see individual pixels, but with 4K, it becomes much less noticeable.  

However, the benefits of 4K content don’t apply to every display. TVs and monitors smaller than 32 inches don’t greatly benefit from increased pixel counts. Trying to fit that many pixels into a small display can be overkill when HD content works just as well. That said, 4K displays of 40 inches or larger are noticeably higher quality when displaying 4K content. 

4K displays and content are the next step in resolution and are quickly becoming the industry standard. Thankfully, you now know that 4K displays and content provide four times the number of pixels that an HD display can, which increases the visual resolution and reduces the visibility of pixels as you view media.  

When streaming 4K content, your Internet speeds need to be able to download millions of pixels per second to keep your shows and movies running consistently. Thankfully, WCG’s fibre-based XSTREAM Internet lets you easily stream or download 4K content. WCG also provides dedicated 4K channels for TSN and SportsNet as a part of its InfiniTV offerings. Check out our plans today! 

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