Ahh... 4 K Video. For us in production or the Geek next door who is salivating at the mouth we are hearing"I gotta have it man!" Well, after reading and studying about it am I ready to jump on the bandwagon? My answer is "Not yet." Sure in about a year if the industry holds I will need to start shooting in 4K. For the small business guy like me, it is dollars and investment. In my market area, while saying "I shoot in 4K!" sounds cool, the problem is how many have the flat screens to really notice any difference? The answer is not many. So what is 4K?
4K from a production standpoint is 4000 pixels horizontally (4096 X 2160) and is about the size of 4 standard 1080p (1920 X 1080p) video files. For the consumer, you would need a 4K flat screen to see the difference of anything shot in 4K. 1080p footage has so much room to improve. We all agree on that. A 4K smart TV of 55" or more placed at a distance of 6 feet or less is only where you can see the difference. It has to have a HEVC decoder to support HDMI 2.0 (This is for all you gamers) You have to upgrade all your other hardware to support HEVC, HDMI 2.0 and other. When Netflix and Roku gets into 4K which they are slowly, you will need a secure certificate from them to play approved 4K content. the PS4 and Xbox goes to 4K, you will also need all new hardware to play 4K games.
So you been looking at all these new flat screens and curved TV's and listening to the sales guys go 4K, 4K isn't it awesome! "You really need this now!" Again the answer is "Depends." Vizio has a low priced 4K flat screen out for around 1K. (no pun intended) Upconvertings of present 1080p to 4K is also possible. Sony came up with 4K like processing using present 1080p and the picture looked great.
In conclusion, We all agree 4K is here but off to a slower than expected start. The major flat screen manufacturers are doing all they can to convince you that you have to have this now because bigger is better. In fact going forward, you probably will have no choice but to buy a 4K equipped flat screen as the standard 1080p flat screens will become less and less available to purchase. From a production point, we can shoot in 4K and that is all good but will our customers notice anything different for the present cost of getting the video cameras? The answer is depending on how they are viewing it and for most, probably not. Take a deep breath, watch the pricing points, let the dust settle and see what happens.