Is 4K TV Resolution Really Necessary for Video Content?
What is 4K Resolution?
4K resolution is a new resolution variety that centres around 4000 pixels. There are a few variants of 4K resolution.
o 4K Ultra HD – 3840 pixels x 2160 lines (8.3 megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9) – for UHDTV
o 4K Film – 4096 × 2160 (8.8 megapixels, aspect ratio ~ 17:9)
o Streaming video
• YouTube – 4096 × 3072 (12.6 megapixels, aspect ratio 4:3)
• Vimeo – 4096 × 3072 to be uploaded
• Netflix will stream 4K sometime in 2014 reportedly, no specifications.
In comparison to 1080 resolution or 2.1 megapixels, 4K will be about 8.3 megapixels, almost 4 times as much.
Google is aiming to make 4K videos, more accessible with changes to their rendering algorithm on Chrome, also the huge boost in bandwidth if someone is lucky enough to get Google fibre.
Is it needed?
The content will look better for consumers who have a 4K screen and a set-up which will allow them to get 4K content to the screen. There are still not many 4K screens available to buy. Television prices are still quite high. However, 4KTV is very impressive, they are extremely bright and the images are obviously better than 720p and 1080p.
For steaming video which occurs mainly on small screens such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, will the difference be noticeable? Not for some time. Rtings suggests that in order to see any difference on a 20” UHDTV someone would need to be 1.75 feet away from the screen so a 10” tablet screen would have to be 1 foot away which is extremely close to the face to see any noticeable difference.
Tablets and smartphone screens do not have 4K screens. Apple’s Retina Display does not go beyond 2K (although a MacBook Pro is close to 3K). Those types of secrets are about 300 pixels per inch. 450 pixels would be needed for a 10 inch 4K screen. In 2012, Sony and LG unveiled the smallest 4K screen at 9.5 inches with 458 pixels per inch.
Is 4K Production Quality Needed?
One thing that needs to be considered is what is important to online video. Resolution can make a difference, but making a useful or entertaining video is at the top of the list over the quality of the video. Plus there is also lighting, sound, depth of field and a whole lot of other production worries to think about so any resolution over 720p begins to look unnecessary to a normal viewer.
Viewers may be asking for 4K videos but the chances are they cannot stream them fast enough to watch it or they are watching the video on a device where the difference cannot be seen. Google has a ‘Video Quality Report’ which measures whether or not somebody’s ISP streams in at least 720P. YouTube may support higher, but they are not focused on Ultra HD 4K resolution.
4K videos need the time and storage to keep and render them; this is one of the biggest reasons not to shoot in 4K. The time could be used to do a number of other things for the video. Spending time researching & updating:
o Video Transcript.
Focusing resources towards editing or promoting content to blogs and message boards would be more beneficial. There are so many different factors that go into making a successful video that 4K videos should the least of worries. If the equipment, extra storage space and time for rendering is available, then by all means, make a video in 4K resolution. It won’t hurt, and the video may rank higher in search results by making a 4K video.
Most viewers either won’t be able to or can’t watch the 4K video for a while. Many won’t be watching it in 1080p, especially if they are watching it on YouTube. It doesn’t matter about preferred resolution as YouTube will feed viewers video content at a much slower resolution to maintain a smoother experience.
Conclusion: We’re not ready for this yet for general consumption, though one day…..