Initially taking the form of chunky, heavy boxes with a tiny black-and-white panel on the front, modern-day television sets are sleek slabs of glass, metal and glossy plastic that form the centre-piece of almost all 21st century living rooms. They play an important role in our everyday lives – whether it’s the kids being entertained by the latest video games, a Friday movie night or just a stress-free evening of television after a long day’s work, we all appreciate the ‘tube’ at some point or another. Televisions have never been so advanced, and over the last decade we’ve seen television evolve into the ‘HD era’. It’s now time for a new stage in TV innovation, and it starts with two characters – 4K.
4K – or Ultra-HD – televisions have four times the number of pixels as a standard HD 1080p TV, which is the current universal standard for even a half-decent set. Remarkably, the resolution of 4K displays is the same as your local cinema’s screen (excluding the slight increase in horizontal pixels, because cinema screens are ultra-wide).
High Definition (720p): 1280 x 720 (pixels)
Full High Definition (1080p): 1920 x 1080 (pixels)
4K: 3840 x 2160 (pixels)
Cinema: 4096 x 2160 (pixels)
4K is the next 1080p, and is coming fast. Prices only two years ago were beyond the reach of everyday consumers, but there are a select number of 4K TVs that are now accessible to the consumer market. 2014 marks the key that 4K broadcasting was introduced, and has been the year that 4K content got it’s kickstart.
The biggest challenge, past the physical innovation of designing and producing 4K televisions, is getting content available to make use of the the extra pixels available on 4K panels. Last year, Netflix announced their own 4K services, allowing you to watch some cracking shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards in glorious 4K resolution on select models. The 2014 World Cup was also filmed in 4K, as was the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and the Wimbledon tennis competition. This new availability cements 4K’s future in our living rooms, and is only the start of a broadcasting revolution. It shows that 4K TVs are no longer solely a show-off piece, but will actually prove to be value-for-money purchases in the medium to long-term.
Of course, to be able to watch that 4K content, you’re going to need to buy a 4K TV. Panasonic offers a variety of 4K Ultra HD TVs that range from 40-inches in size all the way up to a mammoth 85-inches. Their newest models come in the form of the AX902B and AX630B ranges.
The ultimate AX902 series encompasses Ultra HD (4K) LED televisions with 3000Hz (BLS) refresh rate. The series of TVs have quality high speed panels with perfect imagery, clarity and 3D visuals. With local dimming, the sets deliver the best-possible images with rich tones of colour from glossy blacks to bold white shades. The TVs are powered by quad-core pro processors with the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) decoder for the best-quality 4K content available. This particular series is available in 55 and 65-inch screen sizes. This really is the cream of the crop in the television world.
Like it or not, 4K is the future and your 1080p TV will sooner or later be resigned to the loft (attic) or the dump. Whether you buy a 4K TV now or not is a matter for you and whether you want to spend the money now or later. But with 4K content already available (with a barrage of it due to come soon) and price reductions every day, we’re now living in a 4K world – and of course, it’s still a show-off piece that will impress your friends and be the envy of TV lovers everywhere.