The HDMI 1.4 specification adds support for extremely high video resolutions that go far beyond today’s 1080p systems. 4K is shorthand for 4,000 lines wide by 2,000 lines high, or roughly four times the resolution of a 1080p display. The term actually covers two formats, both supported in the HDMI 1.4 specification: 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels high and 4096 pixels wide by 2160 pixels high.
Over the past three years, Samsung and LG demonstrated 4Kx2K televisions at various shows. While they and other TV manufacturers are hustling to earmark a 2012 consumer release, the technology seems way ahead of the consuming public.
Currently, HDTV is 720p or 1366×768 resolution. Only Blu-ray and limited video streams can deliver 1080p (1920×1080). While the Blu-ray disc is capable of storing 4Kx2K video, digital streams require far more bandwidth to send these intense files through current network standards.
So why are manufacturers rushing release? First, 2Kx4K offers the potential toward developing a 3D process that doesn’t require glasses. This is a significant aim in the 3D industry. 3DTV has been stifled by lackluster sales. 3DTV sales remain promising but many consumers seem turned-off by the requirement of wearing special glasses. Led by Toshiba, manufacturers are competing for a 3D system and 4Kx2K allows more possibilities in using vast pixel technologies that might permit a smooth, easy 3D process.
Expect 4KTV to be seeping into our daily jargon very soon. I think 4KTV is about as abstract as Color TV might have been in the early 1950’s. Television’s future appears more promising with Smart-TV gaining popularity. It isn’t when or why about 4KTV. It will eventually become a new standard that people will use.