TV Buying Guide - Picture quality

What is a 4K TV or Ultra HD TV vs. a Full HD or 1080p TV?

4K or Ultra High Definition TVs are the latest advancement in TV technology. These TVs have up to four times the number of pixels of a Full HD or 1080p TV, meaning you get an image that is up to four times sharper than a standard Full HD TV.

Full HD TV has just over 2 million pixels comprising the picture (1920p horizontally x 1080p vertically).

4K Ultra HD TV has over 8 million pixels comprising the picture (3840p horizontally x 2160p vertically).

With all these additional pixels making up the picture on your TV screen, the brightness of the colours, the sharpness of the images and the overall clarity of the picture are vastly improved. Most premium 4K TVs will upscale standard content into near 4K quality - look out for TVs with HEVC video compression for upscaling technology. Watching content that was shot using a 4K camera will give the most true 4K picture and allow you to fully benefit from this technology.

What can I watch in 4K Ultra HD?

More and more content is now becoming available to view in 4K. Blu-ray players that upscale standard Blu-ray discs to 4K quality are now available, whilst 4K Blu-ray discs are currently set to be available by the end of 2015. Currently, streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix offer the best chance to view in 4K. For example, Netflix now shoot all their own produced shows in 4K, and there are also 4K videos on YouTube. We recommend broadband speeds of over 20 Mbps to view buffer-free, and your TV will need to have a HEVC decoder to read the compressed files.

Most brands also offer a choice of 4K content as part of the TV operating system. Each brand is different so it is worth researching what they offer, or speak to a colleague in store.


What can I watch in 4K Ultra HD?

More and more content is now becoming available to view in 4K. Blu-ray players that upscale standard Blu-ray discs to 4K quality are now available, whilst 4K Blu-ray discs are currently set to be available by the end of 2015. Currently, streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix offer the best chance to view in 4K. For example, Netflix now shoot all their own produced shows in 4K, and there are also 4K videos on YouTube. We recommend broadband speeds of over 20 Mbps to view buffer-free, and your TV will need to have a HEVC decoder to read the compressed files.

Most brands also offer a choice of 4K content as part of the TV operating system. Each brand is different so it is worth researching what they offer.


What are TV processing rates and why do they matter?

TV processing rates work in much the same way as your computer processor might. If you watch lots of sports or fast-paced movies, the number of scene changes are frequent and these put a strain on your TV. The higher the TVs processing rate, the easier it handles these quick changes.

Traditionally, processing rates were always measured in hertz (Hz) but you’ll now find different manufacturers measure them in different ways such as PMI or PQI so comparing across brands can be tricky.