Four Key Features Your 4K TV Must Have to Really Deliver the Electronic Goods

by on August 20, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – August 20th, 2014

Buying a 4K TV, just like buying any other sort of electronic device, means shopping around, comparing products and doing some careful research so that when you buy, you know exactly what you’re getting and what you need for the best possible usage experience.

When it comes to 4K technology, which is still very new on the market, the research part of this buying equation is all the more important, since not only will you be spending quite a bit of money on your new TV but will also have to learn the ropes of some new technological necessities for using it.

Here we’re going to cover four of these necessities, the most important ones that you should make sure any 4K TV you buy includes. And none of these are fluff features designed to impress anyone, they’re the essentials of a really functional 4K Ultra HD TV.

HDMI 2.0

HDMI 2.0 is an absolutely essential component of your TV if you want to enjoy content in true smooth motion as its intended to be viewed. This is because anything less than HDMI 2.0 will only offer you the ability to watch 4K movies and live events at refresh rates of just 24 to 30Hz, which simply isn’t good enough for decent viewing of fast paced movement on your screen.

While the first 4K TV models on the market virtually all came out with only HDMI 1.4 capability, most of the higher end newer models from brands like Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic are fully HDMI 2.0 compatible. However, make sure any TV you’re thinking of buying is new enough to have the connectivity port built-in.

HEVC Decoding

Thanks to its enormously larger pixel density and potentially higher bit depth and resolution, the file size of all 4K video is by necessity much larger than that of normal HD. What this means is the need for larger bandwidth during transmission and more efficient encoding for storage and file management.

This is where HEVC (h.265) comes into the picture. It’s a video compression codec that has been designed and developed specifically for the sake of more efficiently shrinking the size of 4K video streams and files so that they can be easily sent over the wires and managed by your TVs internal hardware. HEVC has managed to make compression of 4K twice as efficient as it previously was and because of this most content providers who offer native 4K streaming video compress it with the codec. If your TV doesn’t offer HEVC decoding compatibility, you won’t be able to watch most streaming Ultra HD content.

Toshiba L9450 4K TV

4K streaming depends on HEVC decoding

HDCP 2.2

HDCP 2.2 is the latest version of the High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection scheme which has been created so that content distributors and electronics manufacturers can “prevent” the unauthorized copying of digital content across different connected devices. While a lot of users would want to have exactly that sort of freedom, the bottom line is that if your TV doesn’t come with this feature, many content providers may not allow you to access their video selections, so better that your TV come with HDCP 2.2 built into it.

Powerful Web Connectivity

While a powerful internet connection obviously isn’t actually part of any TV itself, it is nonetheless crucial for a fully expansive 4K entertainment experience. The bottom line is that most of the Ultra HD content currently being made and soon to be produced will arrive to viewers TV sets in the form of web based streams and in order to effectively handle these streams you will need an internet connection of at least 15 Mbps and ideally at least 20 Mbps.

There is 4K content available via downloadable formats and on hardcopy disks but Netflix, Amazon Prime and others all stream their best shows and movies in native 4K resolution and all of these content providers demand at least 15 Mbps if you want to really enjoy what they’re offering.

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