I have my daily iMessage chat w/my buddies on various topics. Yesterday, we’re talking TVs, man-caves and streaming technology. My last upgrade was Christmas 2009 – when I received a Samsung LED 55inch screen. A heckuva upgrade from Magnavox LCD screen circa 1999. I’m starting to get a little antsy, because I’ve been hearing so much about 4K – especially through all the streaming media sites and publications that I peruse.
This morning, prior to leaving for church – I turned on NFL Gameday Morning to get a sneak peek before I leave – guess what – the TV would not turn on. It appeared to be caught in a loop w/a clicking noise, but the screen remained black. After researching the problem (Google is a wonderful tool) – a common issue with some of these older Samsung TVs – defective capacitors. Hmmm, NEvsNYJ at Metlife Stadium at 1pm – what in the world should I do?
I’m online — and I ask myself the question – 2K or 4K? If I’m asking a salesperson – they will tell you 4K? The salesperson is wrong!
- If the screen is smaller than 55” you just won’t see the difference. (You’re probably OK under 65” too.)
- There is almost no 4K content to watch, and what is available isn’t worth it. (House of Cards – #ShoutOut to Frank Underwood)
- No major sports league (or network) has committed to 4K production.
- Your cable set-top box cannot handle 4K, nor will it ever. (But specific Android set-top boxes have that capability)
- Your Internet Service Provider probably cannot provide you with enough bandwidth to watch 4K over-the-top (OTT). You need a minimum of 25 Mbps down. (My current subscription supports 75 up/75 MBPs down)
- By the time there is enough 4K content to get your attention, the set you buy today will need to be replaced.
- Amazing 2K sets are super cheap.
The biggest TV manufacturers are all focusing their energies on Ultra-HD (“UHD” or “4K”) sets. There’s almost nothing to watch in 4K. This year, 4K sets will be bigger, thinner, and cheaper – prices are in a free-fall, with several good choices below the $1,000 threshold. I picked up my Samsung Curved UHD 55inch – 4K for $1049. Samsung leads in the United States, as its TV sales hit $1 billion monthly this past October. Samsung delivers over half of all UHD sets in North America. But Samsung is also the leader in 2K sets – and as cheap as 4K sets are, 2K sets are even cheaper – and close to 100 percent of the content you care about is available in 2K.
Sets under 55” really don’t benefit from 4K technology. The feature battle between manufacturers focuses on four key areas: pixel resolution, frame rate, color gamut, and dynamic range. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a feature that, in layman’s terms, offers blacker blacks and whiter whites. LG, which is investing $8.7 billion in a new plant, offers organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, which does feature an exceptional HDR image.
It doesn’t matter what the set can display if the content you like to watch isn’t available in that format – and today, unfortunately, delivery of 4K content requires more bandwidth than is available in 80 percent of US households. Our streaming media professionals suggest you need 30 Mbps down to enjoy 4K content; Netflix recommends 25 Mbps for its customers.
You can’t experience this kind of video quality on a 2K screen or in a movie theater. But, to be clear, 80 percent of American households can’t experience it at all. Blu-ray discs are supposed to make a minor comeback in 2016 with 4K capabilities.
Why did I Buy it?
This was totally an impulse buy! I recently purchased an affordable Vizio LED 40Inch 2K SmartTV for my home-office. ($319.00) It’s a much smaller setting. Hence, it set up the opportunity to take the leap of faith w/a Samsung 4K 55inch set.
The time for 4K is here. In practice, the industry will end-of-life 2K sets fairly soon (all 4K sets can play 2K content). 4K content will eventually become available, and one day the NFL will produce and broadcast games in 4K (or will they skip straight to 8K or VR or something else entirely!).
My next post will discuss changing the capacitors on my existing Samsung 2K that I’ll repurpose for my son’s room or maybe to be setup in the garage. (Samsung TV Kit should arrive on Wednesday!)