If you thought Black Friday meant the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, you’d be wrong. Retailers around the world, always eager for a good reason to get consumers to shop, have imported this once iconic American holiday into a big shopping day in their respective countries. From Australia to the United Kingdom with France, Germany, India, Nigeria and Romania in between, Black Friday is recognized in approximately two dozen countries according to the ultimately source of knowledge, Wikipedia.
From washers and dryers to smartphones and tablets, expect there to be a myriad of eye-catching deals to be found all over. With new TVs expected to be on the top of many consumers’ shopping lists, consumers will likely run into many attractive deals and discounts that look appetizing or downright impossible to ignore. But to know if you’re really getting a steal of a deal or getting duped, you’ll need to do some homework to increase your understanding of today’s TV technologies and its features.
One of the hottest TV terms this year is 4K, also called as Ultra HD or UHD depending on where you live. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, what 4K means is that the TV is capable of displaying image details like never before (the 4K comes from the first number of the resolution, 4096 x 2160). This new technology has taken the TV market by storm with 50 percentage of US homes forecasted to own a 4K TV by 2020 according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
However, among consumers there are still a number of myths and misunderstandings about what 4K really means. So let’s take a moment to address the four most common myths before you make a decision this holiday season on a 4K TV model that’s right for you.
Myth #1: “4K TVs are too expensive.”
4K TV prices today have fallen dramatically in the past year as production matures and more players enter the picture. In the largest TV market in the world, the United States, it’s now possible to find many 4K TV models for less than a thousand US dollars, cheaper than some high-end Full HD models. Every major TV manufacturer has a 4K TV in its lineup with Chinese brands pushing the bottom limit of 4K TVs to new lows. LG’s industry-first 4K OLED TVs combine the benefits of Ultra HD with the amazing picture quality of OLED to create a whole new category of home entertainment. While still pricey by TV standards, the price has dropped a whopping two-thirds since LG introduced OLED TVs to the public for the first time three years ago.
Myth #2: “There’s no 4K content.”
It wasn’t too long ago that customers had to drive to a video store to rent movies for their VCRs. Back then, owners of DVDs were complaining about the dearth of Hollywood hits available for their cutting edge disc players. That was soon to be followed by Blu-ray player owners who really did have something to complain about because with video on demand, Blu-ray wasn’t the only player in town. What is consistent across all these media formats is that in the beginning, studios were slow to adopt.
However, with streaming video, content providers don’t need to decide between one format or another. With video streaming, it’s all about bandwidth. Streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already offering 4K content as is YouTube. From TV shows and movies content providers are even producing content on their own. At Netflix, for example, 4K content accounts for about 20 percent of the entire original content catalogue.
Myth #3: “More pixels means better picture.”
Pixels and their smaller subpixels are common units of measurement when talking about TV display quality. But this is a naïve definition of TV picture quality and ignores the fact that resolution is not defined by the number of subpixels in a display. Any professional will tell you that like digital photography, pixels are just part of the story and usually not the most important part which is why most TV experts dismiss “dot counting” when describing TV picture quality. Professionals judge the quality of a TV display by its ability to resolve lines and spaces on the picture which have brightness, contrast and color elements. In 4K TVs, the resolution is defined as 3,840 by 2,160 lines and spaces.
In one specific type of 4K TV architecture championed, a white subpixel is added to red/green/blue pixels to create a brighter display. So instead of being limited to the traditional three-color arrangement, RGBW technology implements four sequentially circulating subpixel combinations: RGB, WRG, BWR and GBW. RGBW’s configuration delivers more benefits to 4K TVs making it possible to produce a brighter image compared to an RGB TV while using the same amount of power or an equally bright image while using less power. So the next time you see a TV manufacturer claim that RGBW isn’t real 4K, you’ll know that’s all marketing smoke and mirrors.
Myth 4: “8K is just around the corner.”
In October, Sharp began marketing the world’s first commercially available 8K television. The 85-inch TV costs over USD 130,000 and is targeted to business customers who can create their own 8K content. In other words, a consumer 8K TV and ample content is still some years away. Industry analyst IHS anticipates global sales of 8K TVs to see some traction in the run up to the Japan Olympics in 2020. Even so, sales are not expected to exceed more than a million units. If you’re in the market for a TV today, 8K simply isn’t a viable option.