back to article WTF is... 4K x 2K?

If you’re a keen Reg Hardware reader, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already got a high definition TV, and possibly a Blu-ray player too. Technology, of course, doesn’t stop there. While the switch over from analogue 405-lines to 625-line broadcasts - and TVs - took decades, changes occur more swiftly in the digital …

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Happy

Too bloody right!

"And it’s arguable whether or not you’ll notice the extra definition on a set that would fit in a typical UK sitting room."

I should cocoa its arguable! If you do not mind sitting at the back of the garden in order to watch one of these hung on your front room wall then by all means go ahead. What would your viewing distance have to be? It is of course very interesting from the tech point of view and I am glad El Reg is covering it, but it is no way realistic technology for ordinary punters with an ordinary home even if they could afford one.

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Anonymous Coward

What is "a set that would fit in a typical UK sitting room"?

I use a 1080p HD projector, project it as a 90-inch wide image onto the wall above the fireplace and sit about 8 feet from it. You don't need any higher resolution than that for a sharp picture and the apparent image size is roughly the same as if you are sitting in the middle of a cinema.

Also, it has the advantage of not being interrupted by dickeads talking, playing with phones or shaking popcorn buckets!

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@AC

but then you are missing half the cinema experience.

The other half is being ripped off price wise.

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Joke

405 lines is enough for anyone...

See above

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Headmaster

1080p vs 4k - simulated image

It looks like each image pixel on the right-hand side takes up 9 actual pixels, instead of 4. That would make it a comparison between 4k and 720p, not 4k and 1080p.

Tsk, tsk.

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Coat

Au contraire!

Every 9th vertical line is only 2 pixels wide rather than 3.

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Headmaster

Asus Lady

Having studied Asus Lady in some detail, the right hand side seems to be one third, rather than half the resolution of the left.

Just in case I made an error in my measurements, I think I'll go and study her some more :)

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Eee PC girl

Clicked on the Eee PC girl, then admittedly rapidly lost interest in the article content.

More of her please.

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On the other hand...

I currently amuse myself by scanning 4x5 negatives at about 11,500 by 9,000...

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Love the marketing term 4k

Previously it has been referred to as 720p or 1080p referring to the y axis of the display. If they launched this as 2160p it would just sound silly. The average guy will simply say Pah! that is only and extra 180p's I will wait untill 3096p comes out!

In all seriousness, great that technology is taking leaps forward but not really viable for the residential consumer.

Now this is something they could put up to finally get rid of the sanyo and TDK boards that have been in London's Leicester Square for much longer than thos brands have been successful.

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FAIL

Maths

You mean the average guy who mistakenly assumes that 1080 + 180 = 2160?

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Go

Usefulness

From the article: "for most of us, a 4k TV set still remains years away. So too does suitable content. Most broadcasters are still not solely operating in HD, and Blu-ray capacities aren’t high enough for 4k video right now."

OP: "great that technology is taking leaps forward but not really viable for the residential consumer."

Even though the storage medium isn't there to use this "4K" set natively, upscaling can be more than useful as a stop-gap. Many people are quite happy with how their DVDs upscale to their 1080p displays. So much so that Bluray uptake might have been hampered by the prolific upscaling support in modern DVD players. I've seen 1080p on even a 48" screen look grainy (from a Bluray over HDMI btw), being clearly able to see pixels (dot pitch was the likely culprit, I'll admit). 4K with upscaling will make Bluray quality leaps and bounds above DVD (DVDs would likely look quite horrid at 4K upscaling compared to Bluray).

Once a proper size format comes out (multi-layer Bluray or the return of the superior capacity HD-DVD [yes, unlikely I know]) then people can start having native 4K video. But until then, start mass producing these things so by the time 4K video comes out, the TV prices will be within reason.

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1x80

Typo, more likely.

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Boffin

HD-DVD?

Superior HD-DVD? I thought only Toshiba thought that. 2-layer Blu-Ray already had more storage capacity; a 16-layer BD would probably be capable of even 8k video. HD-DVD was the VHS of the latest format wars from a technical standpoint. Unlike other battles, the superior tech prevailed this time.

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Anonymous Coward

Market Complexity

I want to get a HDTV this summer - around 50 inches. If I'm sat 2m from the screen, would I be able to tell the difference ?

3D, Google TV, LED, Edge LED, Plasma... I can read up about these, but last week I got asked by my mother what TV to buy - just try explaining the differences / merits to a 70 year old lady (she has a degree, but not in engineering !).

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According to my maths...

1080p has a diagonal of almost 2203 pixels, so on a screen with a 50 inch (or 127cm) diagonal that's 44 PPI (or, the other way around, each pixel is about 0.058cm across).

So if you sit 2m away, each pixel subtends an angle of about 0.02 degrees on the retina, or very very close to 1 arc minute. A human eye in optimal illumination conditions can distinguish two lines if they're 0.6 arc minutes apart, so technically a higher resolution could be beneficial. But I imagine not really in any of the scenes you're likely to see on TV, which tend to be moving scenes featuring large objects rather than perfectly static shots of typography or, ummm, rakes at a distance. And probably not at all if, like most of the people here, you've spent most of your life staring at a screen that's maybe 45cm from your face.

It's probably worth someone else checking my maths before you take this as a definitive answer...

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4K for optimal viewing

Some non-rigorous visual acuity tests I did around 10 years ago suggested that 4K was needed for immersive viewing (i.e. when the image extends across the whole retina). Beyond that, there was no discernable viewing difference.

So the current HD does well for sit-back TV viewing, but D-Cinema was right to select the 4K*1080 images as many in the audience will get a fully immersive view (at least on the front rows).

The NHK work for 8K is a logical next step, but probably the best part of that package was the 24-channel 3D sound system (yes - sounds from above!). I saw the 8K work over a couple of years and it provided images that extended beyond your view. This is the real-world of course - you focus on what you want to see then move your head to see something else. So super-immersive viewing does have some application. But the main thrust of the NHK work was to show a long-term plan and no-one expects this to be in a private home any time soon.

But there are those who have special needs - think military and marketing. Maybe 8K will make its mark sooner in such specialist markets.

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Stop

Solution looking for a problem

Since the human eye can't even resolve the pixels of a 1080 display in a standard living room, this is massive overkill that will satisfy consumers who believe that bigger numbers are always better.

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WTF?

you seem to be missing something...

Pretty sure the size of the pixels depend upon the size of the display, not the resolution.

As in, I can discern the pixels on my 1080p projector screen (90") from 2m if I look hard enough. Now if you're talking about poxy little LCD panels, then sure, but nobody who cares about quality has one of those anyway. Hell, my mum still uses a 20" CRT - and I challenge you to resolve the 576 pixels on that one from 2m away!

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Difficult but not impossible

The only difference between 720p and 1080p I have noticed is the text was sharper.

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Happy

Hmmm....

When I had a naff little Xbox media center, my old 640x480 DVD rips where good enough, when I bought ( and jailbroke ) my Apple TV box I instantly hated them and started ripping my favourite DVDs all over again in higher quality.

For the first 5 mins of any video you sit there picking holes in the quality of the rip but after a while the story takes over and you lose interest, either that or your wife and kids tell you to shut up or go play with your computers and stop spoiling the atmos!

It's like the old VHS to DVD thing, you don't know what your missing until you step up to it.

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Pint

The Problem Is...

...when displaying 3-D using passive glasses.

One of the monitors I saw Tuesday at the NAB show used the over/under compressed format and passive circularly polarized glasses. The polarization was applied to the screen in alternating stripes running horizontally.

The picture was beautiful untill you got a bit close to the screen and saw the picture broken up into horizontal lines. So the 1080 vertical resolution became 540.

In another booth, the problem was elegantly solved by using a 4K monitor. This was, to a certain extent, overkill, but 4K glass is now a production commodity item, so cheaper than setting up new manufacture.

The rumor i heard was that active glasses were becoming a thing of the past, but then i was hearing this from guys selling passive glasses.

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Boffin

Your 4k vs 2k illustration is a bit off

Those 'pixels' on the right are actually 3x3, rather than 2x2, so it's more like 6k vs 2k.

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Anonymous Coward

Blu-ray?

I haven't even got a TV. I've never understood the fascination with bigger and "better" idiot boxes when the only decent programmes are perfectly watchable on a 12" screen. Not that I can name any since the last Fry & Laurie finished.

Anyway, the point is that I read Reg Hardware for news about interesting hardware. Not consumer stuff.

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Re: Blu-ray?

No, no, no, no! You got it all wrong. You're supposed to say, "tablets are just toys, I'll never buy one." That's the new mantra of cultural snobbery. "I haven't even got a TV" is so '90s.

-dZ.

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Stop

Re: Blu-ray?

Perhaps if you hadn't posted as an Anonymous Coward, then the Reg could have run any future articles by you to ensure they are of interest - I mean, heaven forbid that you be disinterested by an article (though clearly not disinterested enough to keep your yap shut and not moan about it!), even if it may be of interest to the vast majority of the millions (thousands? hundreds?) of people who read this site.

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Anonymous Coward

The millions (thousands? hundreds?) of people who read this site.

Or maybe just half a Dozen with a number of different usernames/ip addresses.

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Happy

@seanj

Or perhaps you leave the guy alone while he injects a note of sanity into this whirlwind merry-go-round that we all seem so obsessed to ride, the "the bigger the number, the better the gadget" ride we seem unable to get off.

Granted I appreciate my HD TV but DVD upscaling is good enough for me, Blu-Ray is overrated to my personal opinion. I upgraded from a 22" CRT TV and VHS player that was over 10 years old, of course I will appreciate the difference. However, I want a Canon 5D, with it's high MBP and full-frame goodness, but my photography is not good enough to warrant the expense. I want an iPhone4, but what would it give me over my old iPhone 3G ( not even a 3GS! ), nothing much in particular to warrant getting tied to 2 years of contract or paying out 700 sovs for a toy. I want a slightly bigger house, not 'cos my family needs more room bit so we can fill it full of more shite gadgets and crap we really don't need and can manage without.

My mind is awash with bigger, better, faster and more sexy, but somehow I know none of these things will improve much over what I already have. In 5 or 10 years time, things will have moved on sufficiently to upgrade to the latest gadgets, until then I am happy to be satisfied with my lot.

Relax, calm down and just take 5 mins to survey your lot and then cast your mind back 25 years and realise how lucky you are to live in this amazing age of technology as it is right now.

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4K is great...

... if you like watching fruit bowls or landscapes, with humungus 'depth of fields' (typical for HD demo videos).

For the rest of the TV or movie watching community, where moving subjects (and viewing angles) are the norm: a higher frame-rate would be a much more useful use of any additional bandwidth.

The argument that the eye does not benefit from higher frame rates is a moot one, especially when considering HD films. The higher the frame rate, the smaller the visible jumps between frames for moving subjects, resulting with a reduction of the loss of perceived detail.

(don't forget, the eye scans smoothly; it doesn't jumps 24/50/60 times per second when following moving subjects).

FPS freaks really were onto something (be it for the wrong reasons).

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Anonymous Coward

Mmmmmm................

4k resolution porn..............................mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

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Headmaster

@Steve 6

Actually your eyes scan anything but smoothly, google for "saccades".

However, since your brain controls the jumps it can make allowances for them.

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RE: porn

"4k resolution porn..............................mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......."

I happen to know someone who airbrushed still-picture porn for awhile, you really don't want to see porn actors in high detail.

("eww, herpes scars")

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Higher framerates all very well

But do sod all to compensate for the latest desire of filmmakers or music video creators for making lots of rapid cuts in quick succession to increase the 'action'. See Bourne/Bond or any modern video.

I don't care how many frames you give me a second, if the image isn't sustained there long enough, I can't focus on the bloody thing.

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serious hat on

This could have a beneficial effect - herpes is currently considered to be nearly omnipresent among porn performers. Despite the often repeated claims their sexual health is regularly tested (after some HIV transmission scandals) they just don't test for herpes in the industry.

Moving on, if this can provide a market signal so that herpes-free people are more in demand for porn then the sexual health of the industry should improve.

Wishful thinking perhaps.

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Happy

RE: porn

I recall some issues when HD first came out that most Porn actors were not visually "up to it" at the higher resolutions.

Unless you find skin-pores hawt!

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Saccades vs SMooth Pursuit

Only half right. There are actually two major different brain systems that control eye movement. Saccades, as you say, are rapid jumps. But there's a whole separate system called smooth pursuit. Actually, I guess, there's also the vestibulo-ocular reflex, which is a third system. These all act independently and evolved at different times.

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"saccades"

The effect of saccades applies when you are reading static things like text - here the eye makes discrete jumps. This does NOT apply when following moving subjects (or viewpoints).

East examples you can try for yourself:

a) Read the text of this post - your eyes are jumping (the saccades).

b) Focus (and remain) on any one letter of this post and then rotate your head - your eyes track perfectly smoothly (no saccades).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pursuit_movement

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Re: Higher framerates all very well

I know what you mean, I found it difficult to follow some of the action in Casino Royale simply because it was chopping back and forth so much.

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Anonymous Coward

It's hardly selling a fantasy, is it?

Porn sells a fantasy designed to get the viewer off; it's hardly supposed to be reality

Herpes is incredibly prevalent amongst the general public; the only difference is that most people don't have frequent outbreaks and herpes in the mouth (usually HSV1, but not always) is seen as more socially acceptable than herpes on the genitals (more often HSV2, but not always). STI tests in the UK don't bother doing blood tests for herpes.

4K porn probably isn't a good idea. As I understand it the porn producers had problems hiding features (cosmetic surgery scars etc) that were less apparent at lower resolutions. It can be debated whether having material that gets people off is worth the mostly unrealistic picture it paints of sex and naked bodies, but that's really another discussion.

Anyway, I look forward to 4K in cinemas, can't see it happening in the living room for quite some time and wish that Serenity wasn't the first 4K film - Firefly was a great series, but Serenity is a by the numbers scifi plot that bears little relationship to its parent series.

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Stop

Eyesore

I can barely differentiate between 720p and 1080p on a 50" plasma when I put my nose right up next to the screen. I have some test encodes of a BluRay movie split screened with one side 720p upscaled and 1080p on the other side. It's a good modern movie source too. Can't tell one iota of difference and various people have commented the same on a range of displays.

The simple fact of the matter is that the BIGGEST cause of video looking like shit is the bitrate and encoding settings used. A well encoded 720p can look just as good as a 1080p movie when presented on most displays. You need a silly sized screen and have to be right on top of it to notice the difference on motion video (stills are cheating).

Those that say they can see the difference between 720p and 1080p on a 24" computer monitor are lying or have some fantastical vision.

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Not a true test

"I have some test encodes of a BluRay movie split screened with one side 720p upscaled and 1080p on the other side. It's a good modern movie source too. Can't tell one iota of difference and various people have commented the same on a range of displays."

Which means that you're not comparing a 720p image on a 720p display to a 1080p image on a 1080p display, you're comparing a 1080p image (consisting of upscaled 720p footage) with a 1080p image (consisting of native 1080p footage) on the same 1080p display... I'm fairly sure you'd spot the difference if you were to put a 720p screen next to an identically sized 1080p screen, and play the native resolution footage on each.

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Happy

eye can see the difference...

...on a computer monitor with higher resolution, because the screen elements don't scale with the resolution. So the toolbars and UI elements are smaller, leaving more room for the actual documents and content and allowing more open windows to be visible. Stuff the TVs, bring on the the 4k monitors...

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Headmaster

720p v 1080p

As a content producer, good 720p will look better than bad 1080p for sure. We produce both.

1080p requires higher bitrate but since the professional cameras we use shoot at fixed bitrates, we tend to find you get a better looking picture at 720p.

In an ideal world there is a difference, but in practice unless you use significantly higher bitrate you won't see much difference on a normal TV.

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@Dick Emery

"I can barely differentiate between 720p and 1080p on a 50" plasma when I put my nose right up next to the screen."

Should have gone to Specsavers.

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Anonymous Coward

I can get a virtual hi-def performance

out of my old 14in CRT TV ... I just put on my specs. :-)

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Happy

Meh

But the article is saved by gratuitous use of the EeePC friend!

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Catch

Surely if you’re a keen Reg Hardware reader, there’s a pretty good chance that you dont have a Blu-ray player and you won't fall for the upgrade harware hype cycle.

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@ Dirk...

I think you hit the nail on the head there mate!

What's this Blu-ray thingy? Shouldn't it be Blue-ray? Or blurry? ;o)

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yep - got me there anyway

I watch films using an 800 x 600 DLP projector onto an ironed bedsheet, screen size 8 foot, total cost £200. Works great.

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Anonymous Coward

This is cool....

So when is the non blu-ray content getting upgraded from 1080i then?

It's all well and good having TVs with massive resolutions but when the general content isn't available for even the current technology what's the point?

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