Larger 4K TVs are sold every day. During the second quarter of 2017, a brand like Samsung began to sell more televisions with 4K UHD resolution than Full HD models. And for the last month of last year (2017) the figures were even more spectacular. Slightly more than twice as many 4K TVs were sold as Full HD , and only one in five had HD Ready resolution. The reason is clear: screens are sold larger and larger, and a higher screen, a higher resolution is needed to avoid losing image quality.
Recall that a standard resolution television (SD) had just 400,000 pixels. From there we go to high resolution (Full HD) with 2 million pixels. And now to 4K UHD, which is 8 million pixels. But it is not just a question of size and resolution. New generation UHD televisions offer more advantages in color or brightness.
Samsung TV sales in 2017
More size, more pixels
It is all very well to wish for a bigger TV, a bigger screen. But if it does not have the necessary quality the result will be disappointing. It is something that happened in the first generations of flat televisions, which did not give a better image than a traditional tube television. That is why the increase in the average size of the screen for sale, which has not stopped growing, has led to an increase in resolution and image quality .
From Full HD, which at one point seemed perfectly sufficient for the home environment, we have gone to Ultra High Definition or 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). A screen from about 60 inches should not have less resolution than that. And soon there will be another jump, with the 8K resolution that is 7,680 x 4,320 pixels and it will be necessary on larger screens. Televisions with that resolution already exist and will soon be on the market.
In addition to resolution and size, there are two other factors to consider when analyzing a television. They are in what conditions it is used, and with what material. That is, how what we see was recorded or produced.
Colors, light and atmosphere
Here are some questions to ask yourself, the first one in what conditions will the TV be seen? The difference in ambient light between morning, day or night are very large. And depending on the geographical area, even more so, as there are areas with more light and more “open” houses. Based on that, it will be necessary to see if the television is capable of displaying the colors with the same vividness during a sunny day as at night. According to a statistical study, in the United States and Europe, people watch TV more frequently in a very bright environment, as much as 79 lux.
Amount of light and time of day watching TV
In addition to the resolution, it will be necessary that the television we choose is capable of displaying realistic colors and contrast with that light. The example of the study we reviewed is Samsung, whose QLEDs have been developed with that in mind. An important factor in this regard is the so-called color volume. That is, if the television can represent all colors at any level of brightness. The QLEDs have already received two years in a row the distinction that certifies them as capable of this one hundred percent. It is thanks to its manufacture capable of reaching brightness of 2,000 knits (between 3 and 4 times more than conventional televisions).
Rival technology (OLED) does not offer as much brightness but it does offer excellent contrast, useful in less ambient light. It is thanks to its technology that allows each pixel to be turned off and thus achieve perfect blacks. Yet this year's QLEDs have improved their black levels while maintaining their high brightness. It was thanks to "Direct Full Array" technology. This uses more LED backlight blocks than other similar technologies. This helps you better control dark scenes. On the other hand, the High Dynamic Range (HDR) has forced all manufacturers to excel.
It is increasingly common to have native content in 4K UHD resolution. Netflix or YouTube and other providers already offer it in many cases. But we are far from it becoming general. Filming and producing in that quality is expensive and in the end most of what we see is hopefully plain HD . And many times not even that: broadcasts in standard resolution. The problem is that that, seen on a big screen, is… horrible. And you wonder why you bought such a large television.
But some algorithms capable of scaling content are finally getting really good results. In Samsung's case they call it “4K Q Engine. From images in SD (400,000 pixels) or HD (2 million pixels) resolution, they scale up to 8 million on the 4K screen . Use artificial intelligence and apply an algorithm in five steps. They are: original signal analysis, noise reduction, first detail enhancement, 4K upscaling, and second detail enhancement. At the end of the year, they will take another step: AI technology to scale 8K.