Many people believe that what we have on the market is what people really need. But it is not completely true. Very often marketing department just found what people are buying and sell more of it. It could be dots per inch on your phone, inches in TV diagonal, Gigahertz in CPU frequency etc. And very often is it just overkill. And today I would like to talk about 4K and 8K TVs.
But firstly, I would like to state that I would like to talk only about TVs that everyone can afford to buy. Let say 60-80” diagonal. Of course, if you have 150” TV everything that I will say below will not apply or apply only partially.
TV is not monitor and people are watching it from distance at least 2-3 meters (6-10 feet). At that distance, most eyes will not see pixels even on Full HD. I have Full HD 55” TV and specifically did that experiment. And then I asked my relatives to do the same. Well, it is maybe not 100% scientific approach but still some data.
After that I did my next experiment. When I subscribed to Netflix, I chose Basic plan. But for first month Netflix allow to have next plan for free. For me it was Standard. Standard plan streams in Full HD (1080p) and Basic plan streams in 480p. After 1 month Netflix automatically reverted me to Basic plane. I knew about that, but my wife did not. I did not notice any quality decrease after few days watching Netflix in 480p and 1 week after that I asked my wife if she noticed any difference in quality. She said no.
I will provide another example. At around 2002-2004 I bought nice TV, DVD player etc. Everything to enjoy “true DVD quality”. And one day my parents brought disk with cartoon for my kids. And I had to watch it every day many times for many days. After few months I had shocking discovery: it was not DVD. It was Video CD. DVD resolution is 720x480. Video CD resolution is 352×288. Yet quality was on par with any DVD I watched before. There was simply no difference in quality from distance we were watching that TV.
Yeah, that TV was not as big as these days and I am quite sure that if I will try to watch Video CD on my current TV, I will immediately see poor quality.
As another example I did watch DVD content and Full HD content on my screen, and I also do not see any difference. Probably if I would pause video and came closer, I will find some difference, but when I just watch video, I do not see any problems.
Next consider this: 4K TV has 4 times more pixels. It means that TV should have much more powerful CPU to update all these pixels. It needs more powerful light. As result 4K TV consumes more power if you compare it with Full HD that made with the same technology. Obviously 4K TV is more expensive that Full HD. If you are streaming you will use much bandwidth and you will have to pay way more for 4K streaming.
But ok, 4K screens are not that bad. Some people can have better eyesight than me or my relatives. Some of them can have bigger TVs. Some of these TV’s support HDR which is not bad by itself. Also, we must take into account that technology is rapidly moving and very soon Full HD will be only for budget segment and if you would like to buy decent TV, it must be 4K.
And it is ok, but more and more I hear from some person saying that it is time to buy 8K TV. I would understand hearing this from rich person that would like to have all the best and don’t care much about price. But I heard it from people who do not have a lot of money. Marketing pushed 8K into their heads and clearly 8K is bigger than 4K. So, it must be better, right? And these people are like zombies want 8K without really understanding why they need it and if there is any 8K content. It reminds me Windows 95 times, when some farmer that “I don’t know what it is, but I want to buy it”. Keep in mind that Windows was way less friendly to regular users that these times. And not many people have computer that days. It was pre-internet time and farmer do not really need computer.
Anyway, modern TVs are not that expensive and there is no point to spend 2-3 times more now, when in few years you can buy new 8K TV for about the same money you would pay for 4K TV today. But it will have more features, warranty and most important: there will be 8K content to watch on it. Or perhaps you can buy 16K TV that time, who knows.
I urge people to just check that perhaps latest and greatest is simply overkill and not worth your money. There is high chance that you are spending hard earned money on stuff you do not really need. It can be phone, car, TV, or anything else. Try to evaluate need for that toy with cold head and most likely you will find that you do not need it. Remember any new shiny TV became furniture in few days and all that joy will evaporate in few weeks, but you will stuck with payments for it for few months or even years.
I hope it helps someone.