Xfinity Discovery Hub

October 09, 2019

A Beginner's Guide to 4K Ultra HD Technology

xfinity 4k

The higher resolution of 4K TV provides viewers with sharper images, realistic color palettes, brilliant texture details, and much more. Discover what makes 4K superior to regular high-definition (HD) TV, and find out how to get the best 4K TV experience.

With a 4K TV, your favorite programming from Xfinity X1 will come to life like never before.  Learn more about how to get 4K UHD and 4K UHD/HDR with Xfinity.

What is 4K TV?

The term "4K Ultra High Definition" (4K UHD) refers to the resolution of HD television, which is determined by the number of pixels — or, tiny dots of light that make up an image. The higher the number of pixels, the better the resolution, delivering more clarity and detail in the picture. Here is a breakdown of the differences between HD and 4K resolution by number of pixels:

  • Standard definition (SD): 480 by 540 pixels
  • HD: 1280 by 720 pixels
  • Full HD: 1920 by 1080 pixels
  • Quad HD: 3840 by 2160 pixels
  • 4K UHD: 4096 by 2160 pixels

A 4K Ultra HD TV has an approximate horizontal pixel count of 4096, and 8 million total pixels (four times that of regular HD), which gives it its superior image quality. It also has a broader range of colors, and is characterized by a cinema-quality display and a clear, vibrant picture.

The best 4K TVs also include color fidelity enhancements like support for HDR (High-Dynamic Range). Although it’s not supported in all 4K sets or content sources, 4K HDR TVs can display a wider range of the color spectrum, and more nuanced brightness levels. This adds yet another layer of vibrancy and definition to an image that already has dramatically more detail than the typical HD picture. Many Ultra HD TVs also include support for 3D programming. Viewers can enjoy a clearer picture and an intensified 3D entertainment experience all in the comfort of their own homes.

With all of these factors combined, the difference between 1080p and 4K couldn’t be more striking.

How can you get 4K technology?

While 4K television sets have been available to consumers for years, the newest 4K TV technology is now commonplace, and more affordable. With 4K Ultra High Definition televisions, consumers can enjoy their favorite content on a big screen, right in their own homes.

To get the full benefits of watching 4K Ultra High Definition programming, you’ll need a 4K TV and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) cable, coupled with a reliable bandwidth connection to transfer the content to your television set. When viewing 4K UHDTV digital content, you’ll get the best experience from a big screen that isn’t too far away from your couch. Unlike with standard HD, the 4K viewing experience is as impressive up close as it is when you’re far away.

Since much of the 4K resolution content produced today is available through streaming and downloading, you’ll also need to keep your broadband speed in mind. Streaming 4K movies and TV shows in 4K Ultra HD quality is only possible if broadband speeds exceed 15 megabits per second (Mbps), so make sure you have a robust home Internet connection and a modern WiFi router.

How can you find 4K programming?

If you want to put your 4K TV to good use, watch your favorite content in the highest resolution possible. Today’s cable networks and streaming services are offering increasing amounts of 4K programming. 4K cinematography has also become a standard in the movie industry, meaning more 4K movie content is available to home viewers than ever before. In addition, it’s possible to convert old programs and movies from standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD) into 4K definition. This process, known as upconverting, has optimized many popular shows for 4K Ultra HD TVs.

So, where do you watch this 4k programming? The Xfinity X1 platform currently offers 4K programming from Lionsgate (for purchase), K2, and Smithsonian. The X1 platform also allows you to enjoy 4K shows and films from some of your favorite services like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix. To easily find programming in 4K, just say “4K” into your Xfinity Voice Remote.

The options don’t end there. The release of 4K Blu-ray Players and 4K video game consoles has also expanded the market with a wealth of beautiful, pixel-rich content. Most 4K video sources support excellent surround sound technologies as well.

What will the future of 4K TV bring?

The biggest advances over the last fewyears have come through the color-enhancing support for different HDR standards, and the ability of these sets to automatically up-convert older video formats to a 4K image. 8K TVs are also on the way, but the content will likely need to catch up before it’s time to upgrade again. The latest 4K TVs are so impressive that your living room will feel cutting edge for at least the next decade.