What’s more important for the future of 4K TVs? Color or resolution?

by on November 3, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – November 3, 2014

Over the last two years, Ultra HD 4K resolution in TVs and other display screens has grown into the major new visual media technology on the horizon. 4K TVs and PC displays are selling in greater numbers than ever and the rate at which this grows is also increasing.

Furthermore, the proliferation of video cameras is expanding even faster than that of 4K display technology. Today, even the cameras of many smartphones are capable of shooting 4K video, as is the case with almost every latest flagship phone from every major mobile device manufacturer.

In the midst of all these growth trends for Ultra HD technology, one of the biggest factors being cited as crucial to ongoing interest in 4K is the dramatically expanded video resolution it offers.

And while 4K indeed does fit smoothly in the evolutionary development of resolution from 480p to Full 1080p HD and beyond, there is at least some speculation that dramatically increased resolution itself isn’t nearly as important as new developments in color display and other visual factors appearing in TVs.

One of these voices questioning the importance of resolution is Joel Silver, president of the Imaging Science Foundation and a major video expert in the audio/visual industry. According to Silver, there are other technological developments which have much more importance than sheer pixel count in the development of video display technology.

While Joel Silver claims to be highly excited about the future of video in general and the trends 4K technology will bring to the A/V market, he also points out that 4K alone isn’t the most ground breaking technology out there.

“Having 4K is one part of UHD and [next generation video technology], but it is not the most important part and people don’t get that”.. “It is part of the roadmap, and there are two flavors of 4K, which is exciting, but there is a committee looking at HDR [high dynamic range]”. By mentioning two flavors of 4K, Silver is referring to the standard 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution known as Ultra HD 4K and its “Cinema Grade” counterpart which many consider to be the real 4K resolution, which has a considerably larger resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels.

According to Silver, the importance of HDR technology is particularly major for video quality because advances in color gamut that he expects to see by 2017 and 2018 are really going to create innovation in how people experience color in digital display screens, particularly TVs.

full array LED backlighting in 4K TV screen

Technologies like full array LED backlighting could also help further improve upon sheer resolution in 4K TVs

He further claims that, while going from 2K to 4K in terms of pure pixel count is an improvement, the new colors being developed already are going to be the real ground breaker for visual appeal.

“I would much rather have a dynamic 2K HDTV than more pixels. Something with great blacks or great HDR, that is more impactful. Resolution is only apparent when you are close” explained Silver recently when going into greater detail about his point of view.

Fundamentally, the video expert believes that 4K is just the tip of the iceberg and the least impressive part of what we should soon be seeing with video display technology.

Specifically, Joel Silver believes that the most underreported part of the impending developments in video industry display formats are greatly expanded color gamuts that should emerge by 2020.

And when these color gamuts do emerge, they will be hard for many older TVs to display but for those in the public who do own the latest Ultra HD display technologies, the improvements in color technology will be instantly perceived as superior.

4K TVs are some of the first steps in the direction of these revolutionary new visual developments and these TVs will be the platforms through which the public gets its first look at richer colors and higher dynamic range.

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