4K resolution, also called 4K, refers to a horizontal screen display
resolution in the order of 4,000 pixels. There are several
different 4K resolutions in the fields of digital television and
digital cinematography. In television and consumer media, 4K UHD or
UHD-1 is the dominant 4K standard. In the movie projection industry,
Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI 4K) is the dominant 4K standard.
In 2015, the 4K television market share increased as prices fell
dramatically during 2014 and 2015. By 2020, more than half of U.S.
households are expected to have 4K-capable TVs (2160p), which would
be a much faster adoption rate than that of Full HD (1080p).
Comparison of common broadcast resolutions
2.1 Home video projection
4.1 Ultra HD
4.2 Digital cinema
4.3 Streaming video
6 See also
8 External links
8.2 Official sites of NHK
There are three main
4K resolution standards:
UHD-1, or ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV), is the 4K standard
for television and computer monitors. UHD-1 is also called 2160p
as it has a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (16:9, or approximately a
1.78:1 aspect ratio), which is twice the horizontal and twice the
vertical resolution of 1080p, or three times the horizontal and
vertical resolution of 720p. UHD-1 is used in consumer television
and other media, e.g. video games.
UW4K is the ultra-wide 4K standard, with a resolution of 3840 × 1600,
and an aspect ratio of 12:5 (2.4:1, or 21.6:9) This resolution is most
commonly used on
Ultra HD Blu-ray
Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and PC gaming monitors.
DCI 4K ("4K envelope") which has a resolution of 4096 × 2160 pixels
(256:135, approximately a 1.9:1 aspect ratio). This standard is only
used in the film and video production industry. The DCI 4K standard
has twice the horizontal and twice the vertical resolution of DCI 2K.
Many manufacturers may advertise their products as UHD 4K, or simply
4K, when the term 4K is traditionally reserved for the cinematic, DCI
resolution. This has the potential to cause confusion for
YouTube and the television industry have adopted UHD-1 as their 4K
standard. As of 2014[update], 4K content from major
broadcasters remains limited. On April 11, 2013, Bulb TV created
by Canadian serial entrepreneur
Evan Kosiner became the first
broadcaster to provide a 4K linear channel and VOD content to cable
and satellite companies in North America. The channel
is licensed by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications
Commission to provide educational content. However, 4K content is
becoming more widely available online including on YouTube, Netflix,
and Amazon. By 2013, some U
HDTV models were available to
general consumers in the range of US$600. As of 2015[update],
prices on smaller computer and television panels had dropped below
US$400. DVB expects UHD-1 Phase 2 services to be introduced by
broadcasters from 2017, with features such as High Dynamic Range
(using HLG and PQ at 10 or 12 bits), Wide Color Gamut (BT. 2020/2100
High Frame Rate (up to 120 Hz).
Samsung UN105S9 105 inch ultra-high-definition 4K television
The first commercially available 4K camera for cinematographic
purposes was the Dalsa Origin, released in 2003.
supporting 4K for video uploads in 2010 as a result of leading
manufacturers producing 4K cameras. Users could view 4K video by
selecting "Original" from the quality settings until December 2013,
2160p option appeared in the quality menu. In November
YouTube started to use the
VP9 video compression standard,
saying that it was more suitable for 4K than High Efficiency Video
VP9 is being developed by
Google which owns
The projection of movies at
4K resolution at cinemas began in
Sony was offering 4K projectors as early as 2004. The
first 4K home theater projector was released by
Sony in 2012.
Sony is one of the leading studios promoting U
HDTV content, as of
2013[update] offering a little over 70 movie and television titles via
digital download to a specialized player that stores and decodes the
video. The large files (~40GB), distributed through consumer broadband
connections, raise concerns about data caps.
Netflix began streaming House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and
"some nature documentaries" at 4K to compatible televisions with an
HEVC decoder. Most 4K televisions sold in 2013 did not natively
support HEVC, with most major manufacturers announcing support in
Amazon Studios began shooting their full-length original
series and new pilots with
4K resolution in 2014. They are now
currently available though Amazon Video.
In March 2016 the first players and discs for Ultra HD Blu-ray—a
physical optical disc format supporting
4K resolution and HDR at 60
frames per second—were released.
Sony and Microsoft released the
PlayStation 4 Pro
PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox
One S, respectively, both of which are video game consoles that
support 4K streaming and gaming, although in most cases the resolution
is upscaled to 4K; the
Xbox One S
Xbox One S also features an Ultra HD Blu-ray
disc drive. On November 7, 2017 Microsoft released the Xbox One X,
which is capable of native 4K streaming and gaming.
Home video projection
This section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with
Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may
contain suggestions. (August 2017)
JVC "e-shift" (pixel shifting) projector results in 4K pixel
resolution on the screen
Though experiencing rapid price drops beginning in 2013 for viewing
devices, the home cinema digital video projector market saw little
expansion, with only a few manufacturers (only
Sony as of
2015[update]) offering limited 4K-capable lineups, with native 4K
projectors commanding five-figure price tags well into 2015 before
finally breaking the US$10,000 barrier. Critics state that at
normal direct-view panel size and viewing distances, the extra pixels
of 4K are redundant at the ability of normal human vision. Projection
home cinemas, on the other hand, employ much larger screen sizes
without necessarily increasing viewing distance to scale.
JVC has used
a technique known as "e-shift" to extrapolate extra pixels from 1080p
sources to display 4K on screens through upscaling or from native 4K
sources at a much lower price than native 4K projectors. This
technology of non-native 4K entered its fourth generation for
JVC used this same technology to provide 8K flight
Boeing that met the limits of 20/25 visual acuity.
Pixel shifting as described here was pioneered in the consumer space
by JVC, and later in the commercial space by Epson. That said, it
isn't the same thing as "true" 4K. More recently there are DLP
projectors claiming 4K UHD (which the JVCs and Epsons do not even
attempt to claim).
As noted above, DCI 4K is 4096×2160, while UHD-1 4K is 3840×2160,
producing a slight difference in aspect ratio rather than a
significant difference in resolution. In traditional displays, such as
LCD or OLED, there are 3840 pixels across the screen, with each pixel
being 1/3840th of the screen width. They do not overlap; if they did,
the detail would be reduced. The diameter of each is basically
1/3840th of the screen width or 1/2160th of the screen height - either
gives the same size pixel. That 3840×2160 works out to 8.3
megapixels, the official resolution of 4K UHD (and therefore Blu-ray
But the 4K UHD standard doesn't specify how large the pixels are, so a
4K UHD projector (Optoma, BenQ, Dell, et al.) counts because these
projectors have a 2718×1528 pixel structure. Those projectors process
the true 4K of data and project it with overlapping pixels, which is
what pixel shifting is all about. Unfortunately, each of those pixels
is far larger: each one has 50% more area than true 4K. Those pixel
shifting projectors project a pixel, shift it up to the right, by a
half diameter, and project it again, with modified data, but that
second pixel overlaps the first.
In other words, pixel shifting is not capable of producing adjacent
vertical lines of RGBRGB or any other colours where each line is one
pixel (1/3840th of the screen) wide. Adjacent red and green pixels
would end up looking like yellow, with a fringe on one side of red, on
the other of green - except that the next line of pixels will be
overlapping as well, changing the colour of that fringe. Simply
stated, there is no way 4K UHD or
1080p pixel shifting can reveal the
fine detail of a true 4K projector such as those
Sony ships (business,
education and home markets). Also,
JVC has one true 4K projector
priced at $35,000 (as of mid-2017).
So while 4K UHD sounds like it was going to have pixel structures with
1/4 the area of 1080p, that's just not going to happen with pixel
Only a true 4K projector will offer that level of resolution. That
should help explain why "true" 4K projectors cost so much more than 4K
UHD projectors with otherwise similar feature sets. They produce
smaller pixels, finer resolution, no compromising of detail or colour
from overlapping pixels.
By comparison, the slight difference in aspect ratio between DCI and
3840×2160 pixel displays without overlap is insignificant relative to
the amount of detail that can be seen.
In November 2014, United States satellite provider
DirecTV became the
first pay TV provider to offer access to 4K content, although limited
to selected video-on-demand films. In August 2015, British sports
BT Sport launched a 4K feed, with its first broadcast being
2015 FA Community Shield
2015 FA Community Shield football match. Two production units were
used, producing the traditional broadcast in high-definition, and a
separate 4K broadcast. As the network did not want to mix 4K footage
with upconverted HD footage, this telecast did not feature traditional
studio segments at pre-game or half-time, but those hosted from the
stadium by the match commentators using a 4K camera. BT envisioned
that if viewers wanted to watch studio analysis, they would switch to
the HD broadcast and then back for the game. Footage was compressed
H.264 encoders and transmitted to BT Tower, where it was then
transmitted back to
BT Sport studios and decompressed for
distribution, via 4K-compatible
BT TV set-top boxes on an eligible BT
Infinity internet plan with at least a 25 Mbit/s
In late 2015 and January 2016, three Canadian television
providers – including Quebec-based Videotron, Ontario-based
Rogers Cable, and Bell Fibe TV, announced that they would begin to
offer 4K compatible set-top boxes that can stream 4K content to
subscribers over gigabit internet service. On October 5, 2015,
alongside the announcement of its 4K set-top box and gigabit internet,
Canadian media conglomerate
Rogers Communications announced that it
planned to produce 101 sports telecasts in 4K in 2016 via its
Sportsnet division, including all
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays home games, and
National Hockey League
National Hockey League games beginning in January 2016. Bell
Media announced via its TSN division a slate of 4K telecasts to begin
on January 20, 2016, including selected
Toronto Raptors games and
regional NHL games.
On January 14, 2016, in cooperation with BT Sport,
the first ever
NBA game produced in 4K – a Toronto
Orlando Magic game at O2 Arena in London, England. On January
20, also during a Raptors game, TSN presented the first live 4K
telecast produced in North America. Three days later,
Sportsnet presented the first NHL game in 4K.
Dome Productions, a joint venture of Bell Media and Rogers Media (the
respective owners of TSN and Sportsnet), constructed a "side-by-side"
4K mobile production unit shared by
Sportsnet and TSN's first 4K
telecasts; it was designed to operate alongside a separate HD truck
and utilize cameras capable of output in both formats. For the
opening game of the 2016
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays season, Dome constructed
"Trillium" – a production truck integrating both 4K and 1080i
high-definition units. Bell Media's CTV also broadcast the 2016
Juno Awards in 4K as the first awards show presented in the
In February 2016,
Univision trialed 4K by producing a closed circuit
telecast of a football friendly between the national teams of Mexico
and Senegal from
Miami in the format. The broadcast was streamed
privately to several special viewing locations.
Univision aimed to
develop a 4K streaming app to publicly televise the final of Copa
América Centenario in 4K. In March 2016,
DirecTV and CBS
Sports announced that they would produce the "Amen Corner"
supplemental coverage from the Masters golf tournament in 4K.
Display aspect ratio
3840 × 2160
3840 × 1600
DCI 4K (native resolution)
4096 × 2160
DCI 4K (
4096 × 1716
DCI 4K (flat cropped)
3996 × 2160
4K UHD (2160p) has a resolution of 3840 pixels × 2160 lines (8.3
megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9) and is one of the two resolutions of
ultra high definition television targeted towards consumer television,
the other being 8K UHD which is 7680 pixels × 4320 lines (33.2
megapixels). 4K UHD has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution
HDTV format, with four times as many pixels
overall. Likewise, 4K UHD has three times the horizontal and
vertical resolution of the
720p format, with nine times as many pixels
Televisions capable of displaying UHD resolutions are seen by consumer
electronics companies as the next trigger for an upgrade cycle due to
a lack of consumer interest in 3D television.
Besides resolution, the UHD standard and related technologies (e.g.
HDMI 2.0) include other higher specifications such as a wider Rec.
2020 color palette.
Digital Cinema Initiatives consortium established a standard
resolution of 4096 pixels × 2160 lines (8.8 megapixels, aspect ratio
256:135) for 4K movie projection. This is the native resolution for
DCI-compliant 4K digital projectors and monitors; pixels are cropped
from the top or sides depending on the aspect ratio of the content
being projected. The DCI 4K standard has twice the horizontal and
vertical resolution of DCI 2K, with four times as many pixels overall.
DCI 4K does not conform to the 16:9 aspect ratio, so it is not a
multiple of the
4K digital movies may be produced, scanned, or stored in a number of
other resolutions depending on what storage aspect ratio is
used. In the digital cinema production chain, a resolution of
4096 × 3112 is often used for acquiring "open gate" or anamorphic
input material, a resolution based on the historical resolution of
scanned Super 35mm film.
YouTube, since 2010, and
Vimeo allow a maximum upload resolution
of 4096 × 3072 pixels (12.6 megapixels, aspect ratio 4:3).
Vimeo's 4K content is currently limited to mostly nature documentaries
and tech coverage.
High Efficiency Video Coding
High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265) should allow the streaming of
content with a
4K resolution with a bandwidth of between 20 and 30
In January 2014,
Naughty America launched the first adult video
service streaming in 4K.
YouTube added support for up to 8K 7680×4320 video content in 2010,
only to drop support for it shortly after, until June 2015 when it was
See also: List of 4K video recording devices
Sony Handycam FDR-AX1
The main advantage of recording video at the 4K standard is that fine
spatial detail is resolved well. If the final video quality is
reduced to 2K from a 4K recording, more detail is apparent than would
have been achieved from a 2K recording. Increased fineness and
contrast is then possible with output to
DVD and Blu-ray. Some
cinematographers choose to record at 4K when using the
Super 35 film
format to offset any resolution loss which may occur during video
With Axiom devices there is some open source hardware available that
uses a 4K image sensor.
Aspect ratio (image)
Rec. 2020: ITU definitions for various aspects of UHDTV
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computer to a 4K television via an
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excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links
where appropriate into footnote references. (November 2017) (Learn how
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What is Ultra HDTV?, Ultra HD TV
"3D TV is Dead, Long Live 4K", Forbes, Jan 10, 2013
Gurule, Donn, 4k and 8k Production Workflows Become More Mainstream,
What is the meaning of U
HDTV and its difference to HDTV?, UHDMI
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4K resolution video test sequences for Research", Ultra video, FI:
Digital video resolutions
LDTV, VCD, HTV
240, 288 (SIF)
24, 30; 25
SDTV, SVCD, DVD, DV
480 (NTSC), 576 (PAL)
24, 30; 25
480 (NTSC-HQ), 576
HDTV, BD, HD DVD, HDV
24, 30, 60; 25, 50
24, 50, 60
819 line system
Filming and storage
HD media and
Super Audio CD
Ultra HD Blu-ray
List of digital television deployments by country
Broadcast video formats
System L (SECAM-L)
MPEG-4 AVC standards
MPEG-1 Audio Layer II
Digital cinema (DCI)
Display motion blur
Moving image formats
MPEG transport stream
Reverse Standards Conversion
Video on demand
Templates (Analogue TV Topics)
DSLR, SLT, and MILC cameras with HD video (comparison)
5D Mark II
1D Mark IV
5D Mark III
7D Mark II
1D X Mark II
5D Mark IV
6D Mark II
D / 1 series
E-M1 Mark II
E-M5 Mark II
E-M10 Mark II
E-M10 Mark III
645 / K /
X / G
Hasselblad XCD / H