In recent months, UHD TV – also known as 4K TV – has emerged as the mainstream consumer option within the TV market. According to a market forecast by leading global market research and consulting firm, IHS DisplaySearch*, up to 230.8 million flat panel TVs are expected to be sold worldwide in 2015, with UHD TVs constituting 13.3% of the total shipment. This translates to 30.6 million units.
What is 4K Ultra High Definition TV?
”4K resolution, also called 4K, refers to a display device or content having horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels.Several 4K resolutions exist in the fields of digital television and digital cinematography. In the movie projection industry, Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) is the dominant 4K standard.
A 4K resolution, as defined by Digital Cinema Initiatives, is 4096 x 2160 pixels (256:135, approximately a 1.9:1 aspect ratio). This standard is widely respected by the film industry along with all other DCI standards.”
“Considering that the ratio of UHD TVs among the entire TV market was only 5.0% (11.7 million units) last year, it is fair to say that UHD TVs are now revitalising the TV market,” says Matthew Thackrah, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics SA. “Such explosive market response is largely due to the fact that UHD TVs deliver more life-like images with magnificent detail and a level of precision only comparable to what we can see with the naked eye. The resolution of UHD TVs is four-times greater than that of conventional full HD TVs of equal size, hence the name ‘4K’ TVs.”
He continues that the television industry regards the creation of UHD as the most revolutionary leap forward in visual technology since the development of full HD nearly a decade ago and that with such picture quality at stake, it is important to understand the kind of ‘4K’ to look for in UHD TVs.
Pixel structure can impact native resolution
“A TV display is comprised of pixels as the smallest unit,” Thackrah explains. “Every pixel needs to have all red, green and blue lights for each of them to produce accurate colors. If the red, green and blue lights (RGB) are on together they will make white, while having all of them off makes black.”
When these pixels add up, they look something like this:
“RGBW is a modified version in which parts of RGB are transformed into white lights. However, not only do the whites in RGBW become holes when representing colors, they also distort the pixel structure, making it very difficult to define the sharp lines that are crucial to UHD. In other words, these white pixels restrict and limit the colour palate that a TV is capable of showing on its display panel, all while diluting the overall picture quality by affecting clarity, brightness and sharpness.”
Stricter standards to ensure true UHD images
Thackrah emphasises that industry organisations, including the U.S.’s Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Digital Europe (DE), recently established clear industry standards and UHD certification programmes.
“Both DE and CEA have clearly defined UHD standards that a pixel must be able to independently reproduce a full range of colours. This means that a pixel is only considered a real pixel if the three primary colours of light – red, green, blue – are included, regardless of additional non-RGB sub pixels. As the industry’s number one TV manufacturer for 9 years running, Samsung has acquired UHD certification marks from both DE and CEA for all of its 2015 UHD TV models. Samsung has been making TVs since the 1970s and we have always strived to offer the best to customers. As a part of this endeavor, Samsung Electronics encourages leaders in the TV industry to commit to an industry-wide effort to deliver the most accurate product information to consumers,” he concludes.