NEXT GENERATION RESOLUTION
Experiencing entertainment in the Digital Age
What’s wonderful about technology is that it never ceases to evolve. Never-ending desires, and the innate nature of humans never to be satisfied with what they have, propel us to push boundaries and turn out mind-blowing innovations.
According to Wikipedia, the history of high definition (HD) video dates as far back as 1939, when 405-line TV (the first HD television system) was introduced by the BBC. The modern HD specifications came into the limelight in the early 1980s, with the development of HighVision: the 1,125-line interlaced TV standard that ran 60 frames a second, by Japanese engineers.
With the dawning of the Digital Age, video production technologies have undergone a rapid transformation – which is why we can now view most images and videos in ultra-high resolution.
The ‘next generation resolution’ – as it is fondly, quietly and aptly called by CNET, a popular website that tracks the latest technology breakthroughs – 4K has taken the video production industry by storm. And it is being touted as ‘the next big thing,’ surpassing all the resolution standards introduced to date. 4K brings an image quality and detail that’s four times that of Full HD (1080p).
4K essentially refers to display devices or content that has a horizontal resolution of around 4,000 pixels, and a vertical resolution of 2,000 pixels. Such displays will have a pixel density of over 125 ppi (pixels per inch), which means that the pictures will be crystal clear and sharp, and enable users to view every detail.
There are 4K-specified 4K standards – in television and consumer media, this is known as ultra-high-definition (UHD), which accounts for resolutions of at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which represents a definition coined by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in the US, in 2012.
In the movie projection industry, the standard is established by the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), where the native resolution of 4,096 pixels x 2,160 lines is applied for all DCI-compliant projectors and monitors.
Superior image quality and 4K go hand in hand, so to speak – there’s so much more detail than you will ever imagine. I would not be exaggerating when I say that watching a landscape video in 4K is not far from looking through a window – and the subtle and surreal feeling is both overwhelming and amazing.
What this means for video shooters and viewers is that they need to upgrade their gear and gadgets, to versions that are 4K-capable. Most major consumer electronics appliance and device manufactures have already introduced 4K-compatible hardware, ranging from cameras and smartphones to TVs. Not surprisingly, however, this quality comes at a price premium.
The catch with 4K video is that file sizes, when it comes to content, tend to be as large as five GB (Giga Bites) per single minute of ProRes UHD file. This means that if you plan on buying 4K-compatible hardware, your storage capacity will have to be expanded as well. On the other hand, streaming 4K will call for an extension of bandwidth too, so a faster Internet connection with higher bandwidth is also a must-have.
Over the past two years or so, 4K content has begun catching up with hardware development. Netflix and Amazon already allow us to stream 4K video and television shows, and YouTube supports UHD playback, while Sony launched its Ultra 4K streaming movies app in April.
Meanwhile, technology forecasts indicate that 4K gaming will also be introduced on a much larger scale.
And just when we thought we’re all set for the future with 4K, developers have already introduced 8K – a resolution that produces four times the quality of 4K! Sony and LG showcased the first models of their 8K TVs at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), in Las Vegas, which is organised by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). CES is the largest consumer electronics fair on Earth.
The future appears bright for technology, with many more exciting innovations in the pipeline – and they will define how we experience entertainment. The Digital Age is certainly a great time to be alive and kicking!
Compiled by: Hansani Bandara