Soon the term ‘4K’ will be everywhere when it comes to video technology, but understanding what 4K is might be challenging. Essentially, a screen’s resolution and display account for the ‘4K’ terminology, and 4K is the latest and greatest where high resolution is concerned.
How many pixels can you expect if you buy something labeled ‘4K?’ Around 3,840. That’s four times more resolution than 1080p. Which companies are harnessing this new technology? Amazon, for one.
Amazon’s 4K Streaming Service
Netflix already has 4K streaming capabilities, but Amazon has joined the ranks this week. Amazon users with 4K ready TVs can now stream TV shows and movies in 4K. At the time of this writing, a few Amazon original shows and some Sony movies are available in 4K through Amazon’s streaming service. Prime users will get access to the most 4K options, and non-Prime users will have to pay extra for the 4K choice.
In order to take advantage of Amazon’s newest 4K offering, you’ll have to have a 4K TV, which means that you’ll need a newer model from Sony, Samsung, or LG. Unless you have a newer 2014 TV, the chance that your 2013 TV will be compatible is slim to none. So, how does 4K actually stack up? Is this experience worth the price of a new TV, or is it some kind of overplayed hype?
The Real Benefits of 4K
If you’re looking for playback quality, it’s really hard to beat a Blu-ray disc. Streaming means interruptions, and that makes for a really long and drawn out movie. Streaming aside, the visual quality of a 4K movie or TV show is actually stellar. When compared to a Blu-ray, the details are sharper, and the images are just clearer. But, again, you have to factor in the cost of a new TV coupled with the cost of a service like Amazon Prime.
The latest 4K TVs from Sony, Samsung, and LG retail for approximately $3,000, so you have to factor in that price. Prime memberships cost $99. So, that’s almost a $4,000 investment in order to have the ability to watch 4K TV, and stream 4K movies. If you happen to be a huge movie or TV buff, this cost might be worth it (or if you happen to already be in the market for a new TV and streaming service). Otherwise, switching to 4K might not be where it’s at right now.
More 4K Options Coming
As people move closer and closer to new 4K technology with the demand for 4K shows and TVs, more manufacturers and streaming companies are bound to get in on the new 4K craze. Right now, Netflix and Amazon are leading the pack, but you’ll probably see more manufacturers of televisions and more streaming companies rushing to keep up with the 4K crowd sooner rather than later.
Amazon and Netflix are the first streaming companies to offer 4K streaming, but those come with membership costs, so do keep that in mind.