Let’s take a moment to consider whether you’ll need a 4K vs HDR TV to display a motion graphics picture. Nearly all of those have built-in streaming apps, so the real reason for getting a streaming device is in case you don’t like the TV’s built-in interface. Of course, a common concern, and the Amazon Fire TV is a good solution. But, what’s on with 4K vs HDR TV display characteristic features?
The higher the number, the more vivid the display will be. Case in point, the Full HD 1080p TV has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. We were very contented with Full HD TVs until 4K HDR TVs were released on the market.
What’s the Difference Between 4K vs HDR?
As a matter of fact, when shopping for a TV, 4K, and HDR are hyped as trending features to consider. With this in mind, let’s cut through the hype and learn what they really mean.
What is 4K?
On one hand, 4K refers to resolution, which is stated in pixels. For TVs, the 4K (aka UHD) standard is 3,840 x 2160 pixels. This means that a 4K TV displays 3,840 (which is approximately 4K) horizontal and 2,160 vertical pixels in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (more commonly referred to as 16×9). The total number of pixels is 8,294,400 (approximately 8 megapixels).
On the other hand, 4K resolution is 4 times the number of pixels (or twice the lines) as 1080p. Four 1080p images can fit in the space of one 4K resolution image. Additionally, 4K (or any other stated TV resolution) remains constant regardless of screen size.
However, the number of pixels per inch varies depending on the size of the screen. This means as TVs screen size grows, pixels are increased in size, and, or spaced farther apart in order to maintain the same resolution.
What You Need To Know When Shopping for a 4K TV
- Although 4K TVs display quadruple the number of pixels as 1080p, that difference may not be perceived on screen sizes smaller than 55-inches.
- In addition to TVs, 4K is featured in many home theater receivers, media streamers, Ultra HD Blu-ray Players, and Blu-ray Disc players that employ 4K upscaling. It is also available in some video projectors.
- Although 4K TVs can upscale lower resolution images, for best results, you need to connect 4K compatible components, combined with physical or streaming content produced and supplied in 4K.
- 4K has not yet been implemented in over-the-air TV broadcasting in the U.S. beyond field testing.
- Consider the TV’s motion processing features.
- Most 4K TVs are smart TVs.
- 4K TVs are available with or without HDR (discussed below).
- If shopping for a high-end set, check for the UltraHD Premium designation.
What is HDR?
Firstly, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is different than resolution. In a video, the dynamic range represents the “distance” (contrast) between white and the black in an image. In most cases, that distance is fairly narrow and is referred to as SDR (Standard Dynamic Range).
Secondly, HDR is an expansion of the distance (contrast) between white and black. In which bright whites can be captured and/or corrected so that they are more intense. But don’t overwhelm the rest of the image that would normally be due to overexposure. Dark areas can also be made deeper without the image suffering from underexposure.
When high dynamic range images are filmed or captured, the information is used in post-production to “grade” the content so that the widest possible range of white to black is obtained.
Equally important, the images are also graded to produce more saturated and accurate color. In addition to a smoother light and color shading, as well as revealing more detail in all parts of the image. Including dark areas, that are normally not visible. Grading may be applied to each frame or scene, or as static reference points for an entire film or program.
Two Ways for a TV to Display in HDR
How well an HDR-enabled TV can display HDR depends on how much light the TV can put out. This is referred to as Peak Brightness and is measured in Nits. When a TV detects an HDR signal, but can’t emit enough light to display its full range, it will employ Tone Mapping.
Especially to best match the dynamic range of the HDR content to the TV’s own light output capability. Below are the two ways for a TV to display in HDR. Including;
1. HDR Encoded Content
The main HDR formats in use are HDR10/10+, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Technicolor HDR. Content may be encoded with one or more formats. The brand/model of HDR-enabled TV determines what format(s) it is compatible with. If a TV can’t detect a compatible HDR format, it will display the images without HDR benefits.
2. SDR to HDR processing
In a similar way as TVs upscale a lower resolution video signal to match a TV’s display resolution, an HDR TV with SDR-to-HDR upscaling can analyze the contrast and brightness information of an SDR signal and expand the contrast range so that approximates HDR quality.
What You Need To Know When Shopping for HDR
- HDR refers to expanded brightness and contrast range displayed on a TV screen.
- HDR is resolution agnostic. This means that application of HDR does not change the underlying video resolution. HDR is implemented on top of 4K, not in place of it.
- Due to its effect on brightness and contrast, HDR also enhances color.
- The visual difference between SDR and HDR can be seen on any screen size. However, the HDR effect may look different from TV to TV due to variations in light output capability.
- Not all HDR TVs feature SDR-to-HDR processing.
- When shopping for a TV with HDR capability, consider TVs compatible with the HDR10/10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG formats, as well as the TV’s peak brightness capability.
4K vs HDR TV Display – The Bottom Line
Whether shopping for a standard 4K TV or a 4K TV with HDR, keep the following in mind.
- Pixels are the foundation from which 4K resolution is established and HDR is one way to make pixels look their best.
- HDR has a bigger visual impact than 4K.
- Since 4K UHD TVs are the majority of TVs available and sold, content creators and distributors, along with TV makers have prioritized the application of HDR to 4K Ultra HD TVs over 1080p or 720p TVs (with limited exceptions noted below).
- In the U.S. almost all HDR TVs are 4K TVs, but not all 4K TVs are HDR TVs.
- For best viewing results, consider a TV that incorporates both 4K and HDR.
- If you are considering the purchase of an 8K TV, HDR is an included standard feature.
Our Amazon Affiliates – 4K vs HDR TV Displays
The headline feature here is the ability to output video in Ultra HD 4K at 60fps and in high dynamic range. The previous version could do 4K but only up to 30fps, because it had an HDMI 1.4 connection and that’s all it could do. The new version has HDMI 2.0.
HDR support comes in HDR10 flavor. That’s the open standard everyone has adopted. There’s no Dolby Vision, a rival format using dynamic metadata to optimize the picture scene by scene. That’s something the Apple TV 4K has for justifying its higher price tag.
There is Dolby Atmos audio, however. Well, there is Dolby Digital Plus, which streaming services can use to deliver Atmos if they feel like it. So far there’s not much Atmos so be heard anywhere.
The quad-core processor has actually been slightly downgraded, from 2GHz to 1.5GHz, but functionally I didn’t notice a huge difference. There is 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Gone is the ability to add your own memory card, but I never found myself using that anyway.
Additional Details on 4K vs HDR TV Displays
Every few years, manufacturers come up with a range of new, cutting-edge technologies, most of which have acronyms guaranteed to give your keyboard’s caps lock key quite some workout. UHD and 4K. HDCP. OLED. And the latest one, HDR, is arguably the most important, and the most confusing, buzzword in the TVs world right now.
In reality, 4K resolution may also be referred to as Ultra HD, UHD, 2160p, 4K x 2K, Ultra High Definition, 4K Ultra High Definition, Quad High Definition, Quad Resolution, Quad Full High Definition, QFHD, UD.
There is a small select number of LG 1080p FHD (LK and LM5700 Series) and 720p HD (LK540, 610, 620 Series) TVs that include HDR compatibility. Also, in Europe, Sony offers a select number of 1080p TV models (WF66, RF45, WE75, WE66, WE61, RE45). Above all, these sets are compatible with 1080p HDR gaming and streaming content (such as from Netflix) that may include HDR encoding. Learn more about
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