High definition is dead. Or, at least, it’s about to become a little out of date. Long live Ultra HD, otherwise known as 4K.
Movie studios and tech giants alike are uniting behind the beautifully high-spec format, which delivers picture quality four times higher than 1080p Full HD.
A range of top-drawer tellies has already taken a bow, and with 55-inch models from the likes of LG and Samsung now available for as little as £1,300 at respected online retailers, the 4K revolution is set to take the tech world by storm.
4K delivers crisper, sharper images with a much better range of colours. It’s a lot closer to the picture quality delivered in the cinema.
Of course, buying a fancy new TV is useless without the content – and, sure enough, 4K Blu-ray discs and multiple streaming options are set to hit devices in the coming 12 months.
The Blu-ray Disc Association, which comprises movie powerhouses like Fox, Disney and Sony, has announced the first ultra-spec, UHD discs will be released in 2015.
For film fans, the new discs will deliver the highest quality ever released as home video, looking even sharper than current discs and with up to four times superior pictures even compared to online 4K streaming.
But for those who have sidestepped the humble disc and have moved to streaming, several video-on-demand services are also offering 4K now or in the very near future.
Netflix has already begun rolling out 4K on its own shows – the latest season of original series House Of Cards can be streamed in 4K, if your TV and internet connection are up to the task.
Amazon’s 4K Instant Video service will land on Samsung and Sony TVs in October, while providers such as Wuaki.tv and CHILI have pledged to deliver Ultra-HD content.
Sony has announced its own Privilege Movies 4K promotion, which gives anyone buying a 2014 Sony 4K TV this autumn a 500GB hard drive player to download five of a choice of 10 4K movies, including Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall and Ghostbusters.
The 4K future is coming and, unlike 3D, it’s no gimmick. Soon you won’t be able to buy a TV without UHD, as older models are phased out.
As Sony’s video spokesman puts it: “We strongly believe 4K is the future for entertainment and we remain committed to leading the 4K movement, from lens to living room.”