A new year, a new rewording of the years-old question: Is it finally worth forking out the money for a 4K TV? Are there enough services, games, whatever around now to ensure that you get a solid bit of actual 4K viewing out of your TV, or is its true power destined to be restricted by a lack of hardware and software to actually utilize it?
We can happily say that 2017 was a major turning point for 4K, and if you’ve been holding off until the right time, then hold off no more, because that time is now!
The PS4 and X (-Box) Factor
With the PS4 Pro out at the tail end of 2016 and the Xbox One X launching just about exactly a year later, it’s safe to say that 4K gaming is, impressively, quickly becoming the norm in the living room. The PS4 Pro, in particular, can be picked up for a very reasonable price these days (around $350), and many of the best games, like Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Witcher 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Origins have free patches that bolster resolutions, loading times and textures to make the most of the improved hardware.
Also, the Xbox One X has gotten off to a solid start, although the higher point of entry and (at the risk of starting a console skirmish) weaker games catalogue may swing people Sony’s way.
Quality for the Dollar
The look and feel of a TV, based on the display, can vary vastly in a multitude of ways, far more than simply the amount of pixels packed into a given space. A 4K, or UHD, TV will pack in double the amount of pixels as a regular 2K (High Definition) display.
This may not be as much of a factor as it sounds like since that now-famous Carlton Bale article suggested that to see the difference on a 60-inch TV, you’d need to be sitting within five feet of it and just two to three feet away from a 42- to 50-inch TV. There are those who disagree with Carlton, and I, when wearing glasses, think that the difference is palpable at even double these distances, but it’s still something worth considering.
Furthermore, many of these 4K UHD TVs offer High Dynamic Range (HDR) which allows for a wider color gamut, deeper blacks, and brighter whites. Essentially, color appears to “pop” a bit more. It’s an essential accompaniment to a 4K TV, and you can get a 4K HDR TV for very reasonable prices these days.
Viewing 4K Content
Cable providers are rapidly increasing their 4K offerings to get up to speed with digital services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, PlayStation Video and Google Play. Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish all provide half-decent subscriptions for 4K TV, although it’s fair to say they still have some catching up to do. In the UK, meanwhile, Sky and BT are duking it out with a growing repertoir of movie and sports 4K offerings.
The Internet still rules in this area, however, so if you plan to ditch your cable provider in the future or already have done so, a 4K UHD TV may be a great choice for you.
When shopping for a 4K UHD TV, consider all of the added features when making a purchase to get the best value. Not every brand is the same, or even similar for that matter, when it comes down to how color and sharpness (or lack thereof) will display, the user interface of smart capabilities, etc.
Another reason why some 4K TVs are more expensive than others is because more features are added to the TV to make it “smart.” A 4K UHD TV marked as “smart” will offer some sort of user interface that allows you to interact with content-based apps such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix. This often comes as an additional cost.
Do not overpay for this, though. An add-on like the Google Chromecast will cost just a few bucks and give you these types of features. If you take this route, verify that the streaming device you choose is capable of outputting 4K content to your 4K UHD TV.
Curved TVs have a slight curve in the display that adds depth in the content being viewed and makes viewing content from the side of the room a bit easier. Because of the difficulty in producing this type of display, prices tend to be quite a bit steeper.
Now’s the time to finally jump aboard the 4K bandwagon. Have you gotten involved yet? Have you found it as jaw-dropping as you’d built it up to be, or were you more impressed by the leap from SD to HD viewing? Crucially, do you think it is worth it to buy a 4K UHD TV in 2018?
Leave us a comment down below!