A quick introduction to Ultra HD 4K

Ultra HD began its life known as ‘4K’. The term 4K was officially adopted by the HDMI® organisation in 2009. In October 2012, the 4K working group of US-based organisation CEA renamed 4K to Ultra HD.

Regardless of its title, Ultra HD it is a video format offering four times the resolution of what is known as 1080p. Ultra HD has been also referred to as ‘4Kx2K’, ‘4K/2K’, and ‘Quad HD’. In simple terms, 1080p video (what is called ‘Full HD’) is actually like viewing a 2 megapixel photo. 4K, however, is the equivalent of viewing an 8 megapixel photo. 1080p = 1920 x 1080 pixels. 4K = 3840 x 2160 pixels (consumer version)

What are the requirements for viewing Ultra HD?

1. Displays:
Ultra HD is initially dominating the high-end purist projector format, where it is most beneficial to improving the viewing experience. Sony have already shipped their first 4K projector. As of November 2012, it is appearing in flat panel displays due to consumer demand and/or manufacturers value-adding.

2. Sources:
The Blu-ray disc format is compatible with Ultra HD content once enough layers to hold the data are incorporated into the disc. A new ‘Ultra HD capable’ BD player will be required, of course.

3. Content:
As of November 2012, the movie industry is gearing up for Ultra HD content. James Cameron’s Avatar 2 will be filmed in Ultra HD and other high profile directors are working with Ultra HD cameras now. Back catalogue film negatives are being transferred to Ultra HD digital masters.

4. Cables:
From a cabling point of view, Ultra HD video will actually be the first true technical/performance challenge to many long length HDMI cables which claim to be High Speed.