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UHD vs 4K

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4k vs UHD

When you’re shopping for a new TV it can be confusing do to all the BS that TV marketers are pushing in front of your face to make their brand or model of TV sound so much sexier than another’s.

But what does 4k, or UHD mean? Is there a difference, and if 4k is four times greater than 1080p does that make it 4320p?

The short answers to these questions, are it depends, and maybe a visual math lesson is in order.

Resolution, refers to the number of pixels that compose the picture on the TV. AND! Pixels are the little squares of light that can change their color faster than Taylor swift changes boyfriends.

A pixel is the tiny dots of light on your TV screen, these are also known as a discrete picture element. You may be able to see these by looking very closely. You may have to use a magnifying glass for higher resolution TVs.

Although it's the most common specification used to sell TVs these days, partly because "eight million pixels" sounds really sexy, resolution is not in fact the most important ingredient in picture quality. Contrary to popular belief. I can also confirm that this is popular belief by the majority of comments made on my 4k vs 1080p video.

Just because a TV says "4K Ultra HD" doesn't always mean it's better than a 1080p TV. It usually does, but not always, and for reasons that have little to do with resolution. When it’s released, you can check out my video on that here.

That said, it's still worth understanding the difference between the BS, and the truth that TV marketers are using on you to get you to fork out that extra cash for the latest and greatest.

Let’s start with 4K. This is the current “top of the market”, so it’s a good place to start, and it let’s us talk about the marketing BS, and a vast majority of confusion when it comes to resolution.

The short version is that 4k and UHD are actually the same thing when it comes to TVs, Ultra HD Blue Ray and nearly all UHD streaming content from Netflix, Amazon and others. This resolution is 3840x2160. The difference in names is the BS that marketers are using to confuse or convince you to buy one product over another when they are actually the same thing. This is the sexy factor I’ve been talking about.

And now I feel this is a great opportunity to delve a bit deeper and teach you a bit about resolution.

By showing you this wonderful graph.



Resolution name

Horizontal x Vertical pixels

Other names





Concept TVs

"Cinema" 4K






4K, Ultra HD, Ultra-High Definition








Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array

Monitors, projectors



Full HD, FHD, HD, High Definition

TVs, monitors



HD, High Definition



When looking at this graph, you can see that 4k means something different when you’re talking about projectors vs TVs.

Technically, "4K" means a horizontal resolution of 4,096 pixels. This is the resolution set forth by the Digital Cinema Initiatives. This is because movies vary in aspect ratios. Aspect ratios refers to the exact shape of the rectangle that makes up what you on the screen. If you see black strips on the bottom and top of your screen, that is a different aspect ration than if your TV screen real estate was fully utilized by the content that you are viewing.

So the long answer to our first question is yes, Ultra HD TVs aren't technically "4K" since their resolution is 3,840x2,160. This really doesn’t matter though 4k rolls off the tongue a heck of a lot better than 2160p, or Ultra High Definition. People have run marketing servays about this, and guess what! everyone just likes 4k better!,  Even Google. But Amazon just uses both the 4k badge, and the Ultra HD badge. You know, cause they like their hipster flair.

Since the pixel difference is 13 percent and it's nearly impossible to see even larger differences, we'll file this under "why does anyone care" (but people really do care, as I'm sure we'll see in the comments again!)

Good news though! Sony’s 4k projectors are really 4k! Something I’d love to see for myself.

8k follows the same logic. If you’re talking about TVs that is. It’s twice the horizontal, and vertical of 4K at 7,680x4,320. I’m sure we are still far away from seeing this in the mainstream outside of major theaters, and computer enthusiast’s homes.

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