Ultra HD 4K TV has been causing quite a stir these days. Manufacturers cannot stop praising the “Ultra HD 4K Experience”, or touting the various models that effectively let you catch more detail in the video you are viewing. Case in point: the Hopper 3 from Dish. Does this mean you should jump in and buy? Here is a look at what we know so far, and hopefully at the end, you will be closer to deciding whether the technology is right for you.
What Is 4K?
Standard TV at this time has a resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels), and you have probably heard that spec being mentioned a lot. 4K TV has a resolution of 3840 x 1260, which is almost 4 times as much. For the viewer, this translates to a richer image. This new technology shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – all devices with screens are constantly headed this way, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Everyone wants the best picture quality they can have.
One of the challenges that 4K faces, however, is the lack of viewing content. You wouldn’t think that considering the ‘regular’ and HD options available. The reason it is the case boils down to one word – data. Because 4K has roughly 4 times information as HD, the content will be a lot bulkier in terms of file size.
Delivering all that data to your home TV will be the hardest bit for providers. This is mainly why Broadcast TV has not made the switch to 4K, as well as the fact that they are only just providing hard drives big enough to hold even DVR HD videos comfortably. In addition, you cannot pull off 4K viewing with just the equipment. You need channels for it.
How Data Caps Affect 4K
With all the ‘smart’ devices on the market today, your television choices should logically improve once the enhanced content gets here. All you need do is lean back and tune in, right? Apparently not. Remember those little things called data caps? Most subs never have to deal with these, but if you are in a rural area, it is not new to you.
Take the 300GB per month limit from Comcast, for instance. Here, 4K video would fly past it in no time. You can stream 1080p and use up about 4.7GB an hour. A bit under 5 GB is no big deal. 4K though, drags in four times the pixels and as such, uses about 18.8GB of data every hour. You could tone that down with the new H.265 codec and still be looking at 7GB of usage in an hour. At that rate, you would get only 16 hours of viewing every month without paying extra for exceeding the cap.