If you're looking to buy a new television, one of the key technologies you need to think about is 4K. As part of our new "3 reasons to buy" series, we ask a number of experts to each give three reasons why you should rush out and buy a new 4K TV.
Our experts include the leading TV reviewers in the UK, makers of the TVs, installers and members of our own team.
Once really only the reserve of Home Cinema enthusiasts, the last six months have seen an explosion of 4K and 4K HDR content become available making it great for everyone no matter what you like to watch.
Netflix, Amazon, Sky, Apple and others are releasing a bevvy of TV shows and movies from The Crown to Britannia to The Grand Tour all in 4K on devices like the Apple TV, Chromecast, Sky Q, Xbox One S, Blu-ray players, and other set-top boxes.
Hollywood studios are naturally also getting in on the act with 4K Blu-ray movies now getting weekly releases rather than an "as and when" approach.
With a boom in content, it is only right that you should start thinking about upgrading your TV to take advantage.
New 4K TVs offer a number of features from a sharper picture, better image processing, smart TV features, great design and much more.
Here are our experts' three reasons to buy a 4K TV:
John Archer, TV reviewer
1. Improved detail
2. Better sense of image depth/three-dimensionality
3. Better colour resolution.
All of which adds up to a feeling more akin to looking through a window than just watching a screen.
Rob Taylor, Head of TV at Panasonic
1. Today you have so much more content to enjoy: Make sure you buy a Panasonic 4K Ultra HD TV to enjoy stunning content from Netflix, Amazon, BT, Sky & Blu-ray all in glorious Ultra HD, four times the resolution and detail of normal Full HD!
2. You also get HDR: Panasonic 4K TV’s also come with HDR High Dynamic Range. HDR is the next generation of picture quality that delivers much more colour and brightness than ever before creating a really vivid and vibrant picture.
3. The designs are so much nicer these days: TV’s no longer have chunky bezel’s and frame, now you can enjoy sleeker, more sophisticated designs which mean it’s easy to upgrade your screen size to a much bigger screen without taking up too much space.
Steve May, TV reviewer
1. UHD TVs aren’t just good for 4K: The best have excellent upscaling that can make 2K SDR content look incredibly good too.
2. Get a bigger TV: It’s the best way to get the idea of a larger TV past your significant other. How else are you going to fit all those extra pixels in? Decide what screen size suits your room - and then go one bigger.
3. Use it to justify other purchases: It’s the only way you can justify buying an Xbox One X.
Rik Henderson, senior editor of news & features at Pocket-lint
1. Gaming: With the launch of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles gaming has come on leaps and bounds. Both feature 4K HDR graphics and you need an equivalent TV to get the most from them. The extra resolution makes games, such as FIFA 18 and Forza Motorsport 7, look truly eye-popping.
2. Price: 4K TVs have come down dramatically in price in recent months. You can now get a decent set for the same price as a Full HD TV would have cost a year ago.
3. The World Cup: This year's World Cup in Russia will be shot in 4K and it is highly possible, but as yet unconfirmed, that the BBC will show some, if not all, of its matches in 4K HDR on BBC iPlayer.
Mike Somerset, TV Marketing Manager, Sony UK and Ireland
1. Best possible picture quality: The Sony X1 Extreme processor creates picture quality like never before - 4K content is closer to reality and offers more detail so movies and sport are more vibrant and viewers can immersive themselves in the action
2. Better quality for non-4K content: Any content watched on a Sony 4K BRAVIA can be up-scaled using 4K X Reality PRO technology, so viewers can enjoy better picture quality even when not watching 4K content
3. Access to a wide range of 4K content: All Sony 4K BRAVIA models can access the internet via the Android platform or streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and YouTube. Viewers can also make use of their 4K subscription service or purchase the latest blockbuster on 4K Blu-ray.
David Phelan, Technology writer
1. Image quality: Obviously the real standout with 4K is eye-poppingly good image quality, with superb resolution and improved contrast levels. But I’d say the real genius is the upscaler. Upscalers are now so good, they make HD content sparkle like 4K. And since native 4K content is still relatively thin on the ground, the upscaler is key.
2. Best of the best: If you’re buying 4K then you know that you’re buying the best TVs in a company’s range, so it’ll have the best connectivity, the slickest styling and the fastest processors.
3. Great sound: That also means the best audio is likely to be on board. Flatscreen sounds have usually been, well, flat, but more recently companies have employed clever techniques like Sony reverberating the screen to create the noise, or Panasonic integrating a blade-shaped soundbar into the TV stand.
Stuart Tickle, Managing Director of AWE
1. 4K Resolution: A 4K TV has four-times the resolution of a Full HD TV. With loads of content available via Amazon Video and Netflix, the content is available to you in your home now! However, at AWE we realise that like most things, the more premium sets are usually better, as it is not all about how many pixels, it is about the quality of the panel and processing.
2. High Dynamic Range: A decent 4K TV will have High Dynamic Range (HDR) capability. The better a TV, the better (darker) the black level is too, and it is this "dynamic range" between the bright and the dark images that help provide the most accurate image.
3. Smart: The latest 4K TVs all have an interface that allows you to access a world of content outside of normal broadcast TV. The best smart TVs collate all your streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, etc) on a home page, making it easy to find what you are looking for. This will increasingly include voice control, so searching for "what sport is on" becomes so much easier than trawling a program guide.
Amit Rullay, UK Marketing Manager Philips TV
1. Resolution: 4K Ultra HD TVs have four times the resolution of Full HD TVs providing more pixel density, detail, definition, and clarity to the picture quality compared to Full HD or HD Ready TVs. And they don’t need to break the budget, as the Philips 4K range supports HDR from the 6162 series up. From 2018, all Philips 4K TV’s will also feature 3-sided Ambilight. The combination of a 4K TV with Philips unique Ambilight technology adds another dimension to TV viewing making it far more immersive experience.
2. It's the new standard: With many rapid new developments in technology, 4K is well on the way to becoming the standard in the movie industry. 4K content is much more accessible to consumers than ever before thanks to the release of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs. The new powerful Philips P5 processor also makes 4K streaming and 4K gaming a truly spectacular experience on Philips sets.
3. It's more affordable than you think: As television retail prices have come down, consumers are buying bigger and bigger TVs. A lot of us also now own smartphones, tablets and laptops with HD resolution on a small screen size. Because of these two phenomena, our eyes expect greater pixel density for a picture to look detailed, seamless and sharp while watching TV. As the price gap between Full HD and 4K TVs is now smaller than ever, and with higher quality content readily available, it makes the step-up to improved picture quality immersive experience much easier.
Owen Maddock at CEDIA member company, Connected Works
1. Enjoy films just like at the cinema: All modern cinemas and films are in 4K resolution. Now that the same quality is available at home, why wouldn't you want it? Even classic movies originally made on film are now available in 4K Blu-Ray transfers. You'll be surprised at how much detail and colour was missing before.
2. High Dynamic Range (HDR): Imagine bright sunlight glinting off a lake, or reflected on a chrome bumper - that's HDR - standard on all new 4K sets. Many video experts believe HDR is a bigger step change than 4K itself.
3. Get Smart: 4K content is now available from Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube and a host of other services, and comes built-in to your new 4K TV, with a much-improved user interface such as Roku, AndroidTV or WebOS. To get the best streaming performance you'll need a high-performance, reliable home network - your CEDIA installation professional is well-placed to advise you on excellent TV quality and deliver excellent network performance throughout your home. Look for CEDIA certifications in Networking, Technical and Design. At ConnectedWorks we carry all three.
Stephen Mitchell, Head of Product Management, Samsung UK & Ireland
1. See colours you’ve never seen before: Samsung 4K TV’s bring colour to life in a whole new light. With Quantum Dot technology and 100 per cent colour volume you can watch your favourite shows like never before - seeing every detail as the director would have intended.
2. Style and design that fits your living space: Quite simply, 4K TV’s look so much better. With the Samsung 4K QLED range, you can utilise accessories like the Near-invisible cable and One Connect Box to do away with the messy cables cluttering up your set up, and a range of stands or a no-gap wall mount that give you the flexibility to place your TV anywhere in your living space.
3. No screen burn: Despite being powerful and vibrantly bright displays, QLED TVs do not suffer screen burn like other technologies. Here at Samsung, we’re so confident you’ll not see screen burn that with every new TV purchased, we offer a 10-year screen burn warranty to guarantee the highest quality picture - always.
Have we convinced you to buy a 4K TV?
Check out our guide to The best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy today for more advice on which sets to buy. If you still want more advice about 4K check out our guides to understanding 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision.