4K will be 4x better than HDTV

Even higher definition TV. Much higher. With 3D. Without glasses. We may never leave home again.

So says long-time consumer electronics public relations executive Lois Whitman in her blog, DigiDame. According to Lois: Current HD maxes out at 1080 lines or a 1080p picture. 4K HD is 4096 lines, or 4096p.

Ars Technica is a whole lot more critical.

IMHO, this is going to make spectrum reallocation more complicated. Right now, television stations and broadband operators are wrangling to use over-the-air spectrum for delivery of, well, television and broadband services. HDTV is a heavy user–and this new 4K technology will require a lot more bandwidth. Perhaps not over-the-air bandwidth, which might be put to better uses, but when we consider the available bandwidth built out by cable and satellite operators, well, 4K is likely to overwhelm their infrastucture, too. We’ll need new superDVDs or some other medium to carry the data associated with this new format… and I’m certain that will arrive soon enough.

As we Americans (and folks around the world) consider public telecommunications policy and the use of all sorts of bandwidth for television signal delivery, will 4K make the discussion, well, at least 4x more interesting? Will Snow White and the Huntsman be 4x more fun in 4KTV? Apparently, the answer is yes if (a) you sit really close to your new 4KTV, or (b) yes, if your screen exceeds 60 inches (not popular in most homes, just too darned big).

The question is: will viewers find 4x four times more interesting than HDTV? As Apple pushes its retina displays, and camera manufacturers begin to push the 20+ megapixel sensors for even-better-than-the-best imagery, when do we reach the point of diminishing returns? Does anybody need or want a 4K TV? And how might that answer change when 4K TVs are the only kind of TV that Best Buy (or whatever retailer manages to stay alive) sells in 2015?

Cool stuff, but I sure would like the manufacturers to focus on something more important than RHDTV*.


* Ridiculously High Definition TV, a term I made up. You may also see the term QFHD (Quad Full High Definition), which somebody else made up.

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