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edroksense
Roku Guru

Is 4K a resolution or not?

 4K represents a number 4 kilo  count of pixels measured in pixels per inch (PPI ) in one chip that has 3840 x 2160  ( H:V ) pixels arrangement. That is the screen ratio between max. signal to smallest part. It is just rounded  to 4000 to easily recognize instead of 3840 and now called 4K.

Resolution is a layman's term like " display of signal" or smallest measurement capable of.

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Strega2
Roku Guru

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

It’s just 1080p (1920 x 1080) doubled in both x and y. I guess some marketeer figured out that the number is bigger when you use the horizontal number (ish) instead of the vertical (2160p).

If you want to be picky, I would call it a format.  But this Wikipedia article seems happy with the word resolution.

Then there’s the question of whether 4K is 4000 or 4096. 😀

Banned but back. Because why not?
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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

There are a number of different resolutions that are labeled "4K". Most don't actually exceed 4 thousand pixels on the X axis. The generally accepted range runs from 3840 to 4096. Most of them use 2160 on the Y axis. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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edroksense
Roku Guru

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

@Strega2 

In the world of television format here in the USA we followed the NTSC format but discussed here - format is the way of arrangement of pixels in the horizontal and vertical arrays and no connection to resolution. Then why the seller of TV  insist  saying " this new tv has 4K  resolutions " , because $$$ is the main reason to entice the innocent buyer.

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

@edroksense North America is using ATSC 1.0, and is slowly rolling out ATSC 3.0 (which supports 4K broadcasting). NTSC is the old analog broadcasting standard. We have been fully digital for about 15 years or so now. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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andyross
Roku Guru

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

Even for SD TV (480i/480p), the digital horizontal resolution could vary. DVD is 720. When I had a cable box with a diagnostics page that showed the resolution of the channel, I would see 640, 512, and even 320.

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Strega2
Roku Guru

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

So, we’re just talking about the words “resolution” vs “format”, right?  I agree format is a somewhat better term.  A 4K TV has a 4K format, but resolution expressed in PPI varies based on screen size.  And then effective/usable resolution, depends on how far you sit from it as well.  For sure, marketing wants to suck in customers, though I’m not really convinced that the word “resolution” sucks in more than “format” as I’m not sure that the average buyer has put a lot of thought into either term.  And as I pointed out before, that wikipedia page uses resolution the way I would use format so I don’t think it’s as much marketing as it is the term “resolution” gets used in a broader way than you would prefer.

NTSC was kind of complicated being an analog format.  It very clearly specified a number of scan lines (like pixels in the Y direction) but “pixels” (kind of) in the X direction was based on the frequency of the incoming signal and the displaying device’s capabilities.  The NTSC format specified a maximum frequency response so that they could pack channels in, (which was later REDUCED to add color, while keeping the same channel spacing) but many home devices didn’t live up to that.  However, many years later, some home video devices were actually able to exceed that limit, since tech had improved and since they weren’t bound by broadcasting format rules.  For example, ED Beta was capable of displaying 500 vertical lines of resolution, but that didn’t seem to work from a marketing standpoint as they sold very few of them.

Marketing video tech is an interesting subject.  For example, when I first become a product manager my marketing guys were always sending me studies to bring the new engineer-turned-manager back down to earth. One of the studies showed that only around half of VCR owners were aware that their VCR had a Record feature.  Just one of many results that blew my mind.

Banned but back. Because why not?
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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

Yes, most of my DVD rips show as 720x480. Even widescreen (16x9) content still has a resolution of 720x480. Most Blu Rays will be 1920x1080. VHS tape had a max resolution around 240-320, and Super VHS was good for 525, which equaled the best NTSC broadcast signal. 

Dan

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edroksense
Roku Guru

Re: Is 4K a resolution or not?

@Strega2 

The two topics 4K or pixel dots VS Resolution or scan image feature are two different thing.  I agree they are connected to each other but different things. Those dots when scanned produces images, and resolution is image formed but with lights adjustment they can be presented in a nice picture to the eyes of the viewer. Sellers in my mind -  the 4K and resolution as one thing but looking deeply into it they can never be the same thing because of different uses.

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