What Is 4K UHD?

Ultra high definition, the pros and cons

Ultra High Definition (UHD) is a phrase used to describe display resolutions higher than high definition, typically known as HD, 1080p, or specifically 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. 4K UHD specifically addresses 4K resolution, which is most typically 3,840 x 2,160, although in some contexts that changes.

UHD can also be used to describe 8K UHD, which relates to the higher-still 8K resolution.

What Resolution Is 4K UHD?

4K UHD resolution is 3,840 x 2,160, as defined by almost all commercial TVs. However, 4K resolution in other mediums can be slightly different, relating to any display that has a horizontal resolution around 4,000 pixels. In the case of some PC monitors, they can have a resolution of 3,840 × 1,600, or 3,840 x 1,080, although those aren't typically referred to with the moniker of 4K UHD.

Is 4K UHD Good?

4K UHD TVs look fantastic, delivering greater realism, depth, and clarity to an image than older, lower-resolution 1080p TVs. The same can be said for 4K monitors, where gamers can enjoy much greater detail, especially when it comes to fine details, or on-screen text, compared with lower resolutions.

However, 4K UHD does have greater demands. 4K media, whether it's from a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc, or streaming service, uses substantially more data than lower-resolutions.

Are UHD and 4K the Same?

Colloquially, yes, although technically not necessarily. 4K without the UHD suffix is the most common phrase used to describe 4K UHD content and compatible displays, although that's not exclusive. 4K UHD is mostly related to a TV displaying at 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.

4K displays can have different resolutions in a consumer goods context, but there are a number of professional settings where 4K may mean a very different resolution or standard than the commercial 4K UHD.

Sony owns a trademark on CinemaWide 4K, which it uses on some of its smartphones—with a resolution of 3,840 x 1,644—a much lower overall resolution than 4K UHD TVs. Similarly so, there are labels for particular digital cinema production resolutions which use the 4K moniker, but aren't related to 4K UHD.

Is 4K UHD Better Than 4K?

When it comes to watching movies or playing games, 4K UHD and 4K are one and the same, in almost all instances. There may be some niche display types which have a slightly different resolution than the more typical 3,840 x 2,160 that most 4K UHD and 4K displays conform to, but in most cases, 4K UHD and 4K are the same and any difference in label will be a marketing decision.

Which Is Better 4K UHD or 4K HDR?

4K UHD relates to the resolution of the display or its content exclusively. 4K HDR is content that is both 4K resolution and uses high dynamic range imaging. HDR movies, whether 1080p, or 4K, contain a greater range of luminosity, thereby making brighter lights brighter, and darker lights darker, for a more intense visual experience. 4K HDR is content that is both ultra high definition resolution and supporting of HDR luminosity.

4K UHD by itself, will not have the same range of brightness and contrast as 4K HDR content. Whether the latter is better, will very much depend on the way that content was developed as well as the quality of the 4K UHD HDR display you're using. In the right context, 4K HDR should look better than standard 4K UHD.

  • What is 4K UHD on Amazon Prime?

    The Amazon Prime library includes 4K UHD and 4K HDR movies and series you can watch on a 4K TV. To watch 4K content on Prime, look for a 4K symbol on the title tile or from the title description page. You can also find a row of 4K UHD movies from the Movies category or use the search tool to browse 4K content.

  • What does 4K UHD upscaling mean?

    4K UHD upscaling describes 4K TVs and home theater equipment that can improve or upscale the quality of lower-resolution content. Devices with this video upscaling feature don't change the resolution, but they enhance the content to match 4K image quality.

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