4K is a tech term you've probably heard a lot. It refers to an ultra-high-definition screen resolution that some manufacturers call UHD, 4K, or 4K UHD. 4K has surpassed both HD and full HD as the most desired quality among TV manufacturers.

This is why 4K screen resolution is found in most modern TVs and many PC monitors. Many various 4K formats are regularly used in digital broadcasting and digital cinematography, and we'll have a look at them now.

What is 4K resolution?

According to most TV manufacturers, 4K resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels or 2160p. A Full HD 1080p image is only 1920 x 1080 pixels. A 4K screen has approximately 8 million pixels, almost four times your existing 1080p TV resolution.

Imagine a grid with columns and rows on your television. A full HD 1080p image has a resolution of 1080 rows by 1920 columns. A 4K picture roughly doubles the number for both dimensions, providing around four times the total pixels. To put it differently, you can squeeze each image from a 1080p television onto a fourth of a 4K display.

The two types of 4K

3840x2160 pixels (4K UHD)

4K UHD is 4K as established by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (International Telecommunication Union). The television industry has adopted it because it provides double with the lateral and vertical clarity of full HD.

4096x2160 pixels (DCI 4K)

DCI 4K refers to the 4K resolution as established by DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives). Horizontal resolution exceeds that of 4K UHD. The movie industry has chosen this resolution twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of projectors (2048 x 1080 pixels).

Other 4K resolutions

Various other non-standardized 4K resolutions have been used in displays, including:

  • 4096 × 2560 - This resolution was used in the Canon DP-V3010, a 30-inch (76 cm) 4K. In 2013, this standard monitor was developed for examining film footage in post-production.
  • 4096 × 2304 - This resolution was used in the 21.5-inch (55 cm) LG UltraFine 22MD4KA 4K monitor, jointly announced by LG and Apple in 2016 and used in the 21.5" 4K Retina iMac computer.
  • 3840 × 2400 - This resolution was used in the 22.2-inch (56 cm) IBM T220 and T221 monitors, released in 2001 and 2002.
  • 3840 × 1600 -Many computer monitors were produced. This resolution is equivalent to WQXGA (2560 × 1600) extended in width by 50%, or 3840 × 2160 reduced in height by
  • 3840 × 1080 - The Samsung C49HG70, a 49-inch (120 cm) curved gaming display that debuted in 2017, was the first monitor to use this resolution. This quality is the same as two 1080p televisions (1920 x 1080) placed beside each other, except without a border interrupting the picture. It also is approximately half of a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) screen. This resolution is referred to as "DFHD" by Samsung (Dual Full HD).
4k screen zootopia

4K vs UHD: What's the difference?

"Ultra High Definition" is a descendant of the 4K digital film format in terms of technology. Although the local multiplexer displays pictures in the original 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160, the latest Ultra HD retail format has a resolution of 3840 x 2160.

This is one of the reasons why some manufacturers prefer to avoid using the 4K name altogether, instead opting for Ultra HD or UHD. The quantitative shortcut, on the other hand, appears to be here to stay.

4K vs HDR: What's the difference?

High dynamic range, or HDR, enhances the contrast between the brightest and dark parts of an image. Whites become blindingly brilliant, and blacks become suitably dark instead of milky grey.

This implies that photographs will have much more depth, and you'll be able to see more information in the picture's lightest and darkest areas.

In 2015, Netflix was the first media company to debut HDR video, but Amazon Prime Video now has HDR content. The new Ultra HD Blu-ray standard includes HDR as well.

How good is the quality for 4K video resolution?

Traditional full HD TVs feature four times the number of pixels as 4K TVs. Because of the higher pixel density, the image quality of 4K TVs is more colourful and realistic, even on TV displays of the same size.

The distinction is most noticeable on large-screen televisions. When comparing the quality of a 65-inch full HD TV to a 65-inch 4K UHD TV, for instance, you'll find a change in the pixels that build up the screen for high-resolution TVs.

Because the pixels are more delicate than on a low-resolution TV of the same size, you may have a more interactive experience without even being limited by view range but without distinguishing pixels when watching up close.

What 4K content is available?

There wasn't much 4K entertainment to view when 4K TVs initially came out. As a result, several customers were hesitant to purchase televisions. It's no longer a concern as there is so much 4K stuff available.

4K content is currently available in various formats, including broadcast, online streaming, 4K Blu-ray players and discs, and even user-generated content (UGC) movies shot with 4K cams or mobile phones.

Roughly 80 channels are broadcasting 4K worldwide, and VoD providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and Rakuten also offer a vast choice of 4K movies and TV programmes. One may also simply buy and watch 4K content if you've got a 4K Blu-ray player.

Nowadays, many individuals love creating clips with 4K cams or cellphones with built-in 4K cameras and sharing that material with others via streaming video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.

What’s next for 4K resolution?

4K has established itself as a must-have TV feature, and it's no more reserved for someone with a lot of money to spend – 8K quality has taken its place.

We do not even anticipate 4K to expand to tiny screens than what we've seen now, just because the advantage isn't visible at a standard viewing angle on extending existing or 32-inch screens.

Other related technologies like HDR will be the key enhancements and upgrades for 4K TVs in the coming years.

Panel technology is also evolving and competing, with OLED and QLED vying for supremacy and MicroLED and mini-LED appearing in high-end sets. The following 4K resolution problem isn't so much about more pixels than more excellent resolution.

Learn everything about filmmaking

In the article above, we explained the concept 4K in a nutshell and all of the necessary information about pixel count, viewing distances, and the actual impact 4K brings to your visual experience.

Consider reading our article about the basics of filmmaking, to learn more about the visual experience in film.

4K FAQ

Is 4K 3840x2160 or 4096x2160?

UHD refers to a quality of 3840x2160 (exactly four times HD) in the screen industry, while 4K refers to the exact resolution. However, in the digital film sector, 4K refers to a resolution of 4096x2160 pixels, 256 pixels larger than UHD.

Is 2160p the same as 4K?

A display resolution of 2160p, or 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, is usually referred to as 4K. The word "4K" refers to a picture nearly four times larger than a 1080p image.

How many p is 4K?

4K (3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160) is about 8.5 megapixels.

What is 4K resolution in pixels?

"4K" refers to horizontal resolutions of around 4,000 pixels.