Leaving the stone age of analog television in the rearview mirror, new televisions only display by digital means these days. Not long ago, High Definition (HD) was all the rage, but whenever anything goes digital, rapid improvements are sure to follow.
Digital TV started out by offering programming that matched the resolution once received on analog sets. Both analog and digital images are rendered by scanning lines that, combined, make up the video. Originally, the digital scanning technique was interlaced, referring to the way the machine decodes the picture source. Standard definition used 480 pixels and interlaced scanning, or 480i. But progressive scanning, as opposed to interlaced, could scan the images twice as fast, rendering a crisper picture, so 480p (for progressive) gave enhanced definition. The sharper high definition devices enjoy 720 or 1080 pixels and scan in either mode.
Ultra High Definition
With increased pixels, the tiny dots that together comprise the entire display, resolutions increase. Ultra High Definition (UHD), in TV terminology, means 3,840 horizontal by 2,160 vertical pixels, rendered by either interlaced or progressive scanning. While UHD provides plenty more pixels, most home TV viewers can't tell much difference between 4K Ultra HD or the less expensive 1080p HD TVs. The appreciation comes when you increase screen size and distance.
However, pixels and scanning methods aren't necessarily the be-all-end-all of resolution. Local dimming, high refresh rates, and wide color range contribute as much as pixel density to high-resolution imagery. You can stuff all the pixels in the world into your screen, but if the scanning rate, contrast, and color can't keep up, you're no better off with 4K ultra high definition than you are with the more ordinary 1080 HD.
The combination of brighter lights and a wider array of color availability is called high-dynamic range (HDR). If you want the best that a home theater TV can offer, you must have a television that includes high-dynamic range technology and super fast refresh rates. Since HDR has only been available in the high-end 4K TV market, you may want to expend the extra funds to go with a 4K television with HDR for your home theater system. Even in a more intimate setting, with a smaller screen and closer seating, you'll notice the difference in resolution and image quality between a 4K HDR device and an older HD television.
Bear in mind, though, that entertainment in ultra high definition is only as good as the source programming. That's why you'll need a 4K Blu-ray player, movies produced in ultra high definition and a streaming service that offers content in 4K. While the technology continues to grow, at the moment, you're going to be somewhat of an early adopter, ready for what the industry develops for your entertainment pleasure.
At Atlanta Home Theater, we will work with you to create the perfect high definition system for your home. With experts on hand to consult, design and build, you can enjoy the latest HD technology with the best picture and sound quality available on the market. Please contact us today and take the first step towards creating your masterpiece home theater.