‘Ultra High Definition’ officially replaces ‘4K’ as name for next-gen TV standard

lg-4kIf you thought the term “4K” referred to some sort of distance race, you aren’t alone. Though more and more TVs and projectors have started adopting the high-res format, most folks still had no idea that 4K was the name that had been adopted to describe what industry experts assert is the next stage in high-definition television. To end that confusion — and tackle legal and marketing issues as well — the consumer electronics industry has settled on a new name: Ultra High Definition.

On Wednesday, during a CEA-sponsored industry forum in San Francisco, a board of industry leaders convened to discuss and vote on a new name for what has been consistently referred to as “4K TV,” officially arriving at Ultra High Definition. 

You can read an in-depth report about the technology here, but here’s the crash course version: 4K refers to a television display capable of producing 4K HDTV relative sizesmore than 8 million pixels of resolution. It is doubles 1080p “Full HD” resolution in width and height, with at least 3,480 pixels running horizontally and at least 2,160 pixels running vertically. It could have been called a number of things. We could call it 2160p (1080p, doubled) or we could call it QFHD (an actual term for resolution, though it lacks a certain…zing) but, 4K has never been an accurate descriptor.

 But there are marketing concerns as well. 4K doesn’t mean anything to most people, and QFHD, what the heck is that? If the industry wants to make this new technology recognizable and understandable on its name alone, it needs its name to resonate with the public at large. If HD is good, then Ultra HD, that must be better, right? Why? The term 4K infers the number 4,000. And if you’re still awake after all those numbers we just threw down, then you may have noticed that 4,000 wasn’t among them. While this may seem trivial, it isn’t. Manufacturers have taken a lot of heat and some big financial hits via class-action lawsuits over misrepresenting the size of their screens. Some TV’s advertised as “40-inches” were actually measuring as little as 38.5-inches. That works out to almost 49 square inches of missing screen real estate. The last thing TV makers need is another reason to get sued. 

Also, this decision needed to take place now — in the technology’s infancy — and swiftly, too. The last thing we need is another Blu-ray vs. HD DVD kerfuffle.  Granted, that industry nightmare involved two different types of technology, not just a name. Still, the amount of confusion it generated among consumers and their resulting reluctance to jump on board resulted in a slowed adoption of high-definition disc-based media that has resulted in a rough road for Blu-ray.

It is the industry’s hope that a clear naming convention will lead to greater mind-share and, therefore, more rapid adoption of Ultra High Definition as the technology becomes more available and, eventually, more affordable. Of course, there’s plenty more work to do to make that happen. A delivery system for Ultra High Definition content needs to be settled on and then there’s the matter of creating content in Ultra HD as well. This is just the beginning, but Ultra High Definition is on the way and we can expect to see plenty of it at CES 2013. 

Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Computing

Nvidia promises DLSS at low resolutions will be ‘top priority’ in future updates

Nvidia's deep learning super sampling needs work. Gamers know it and now we know Nvidia knows it too. The company made it clear on the technology's FAQ page that it plans to make fixing DLSS a top priority.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Samsung 4K TVs during Presidents’ Day sale

With 8K TVs on the horizon, the cost of owning a 4K Ultra HD television has dropped pretty significantly in recent years, and this Walmart Presidents' Day sale is offering some great prices.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Home Theater

They were robbed! From Crowe to Pacino, 10 times Oscar voters got it wrong

With the 91st Oscars rapidly approaching, now is a fine time to look back at several Oscar-worthy performances that were completely ignored by the Academy, as well as others that were nominated and astoundingly denied the little naked…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Yesterday, Tolkien, Triple Frontier, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's trailers for Yesterday, Tolkien, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Triple Frontier.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.