4K and the HTPC

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Our upstairs TV shorted out and died this week (finally!) so we get to move the old 46" flat screen upstairs and get a new BIGGER screen for downstairs!

We already have a 120Hz TV, so there won't be any going back to 60Hz, but I'm curious about the whole 4K thing. Although the cost of admission is pretty high (double what a regular 120Hz LED panel goes for) I wonder what I would have to do with the HTPC (in sig below) and any component upgrades?

I don't really know that much about 4K... is it even worth it?
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
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I don't really know that much about 4K... is it even worth it?
Not right now it is not. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, if you want to watch a 4k video you will have to make your own. You are probably better off spending that money on a better 1080p panel.
 

bunnyfubbles

Lifer
Sep 3, 2001
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Next to no 4K content makes spending extra for a 4K screen pretty silly unless its a gaming oriented HTPC, and even then you need to sit ridiculously close (at least for a home theater setup) to notice a difference and/or have an absolutely huge 4K TV (i.e. something like 85+" for a TV that is just 6 feet away, but well over 100" if you sit the average ~9 feet away).

http://carltonbale.com/does-4k-resolution-matter/

I agree with SMOGZINN, You would likely be better off taking any money that would otherwise go towards 4K and then spend it on a higher end 1080p set

In determining overall image quality, resolution will typically rank behind contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy. Try to keep this in mind when picking out a new TV, don't get sucked in by the marketing
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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In determining overall image quality, resolution will typically rank behind contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy. Try to keep this in mind when picking out a new TV, don't get sucked in by the marketing
Right on! Thank you...! All those fancy numbers make my head spin. I have basically settled on 2 panels... a Visio (what we have now, very pleased with. What almost all our friends and relatives have, very pleased with.) or a Samsung (I have a Samsung 19" monitor, very, VERY pleased with it.) I'll have to research the actual panel numbers to see... :D
 

chubbyfatazn

Golden Member
Oct 14, 2006
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Afaik there's not even a 4k 120Hz monitor/TV out... anything that states that it's 120Hz can't actually run at 120Hz at 4k resolution. I don't even think the current standards (HDMI/DP) support that yet.

I'd just spend the money on a better 1080p TV, as everyone else has said.
 

Anteaus

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2010
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Chubby is right. I wouldn't worry about 4K until HDMI 2.0 comes out. If money is no object then go ahead, but the technology isn't where it will be. Current 4K tvs are limited to 60Hz. Just buy a solid 1080P tv and spend the extra money somewhere else. The TV will get plenty of use before 4K becomes mainstream.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Chubby is right. I wouldn't worry about 4K until HDMI 2.0 comes out. If money is no object then go ahead, but the technology isn't where it will be. Current 4K tvs are limited to 60Hz. Just buy a solid 1080P tv and spend the extra money somewhere else. The TV will get plenty of use before 4K becomes mainstream.
I think that is the correct approach.

Actually, just going through the specs, the Samsungs I was looking at are listed as 120Hz... although I'm sure they are emulated.
 

chubbyfatazn

Golden Member
Oct 14, 2006
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I think that is the correct approach.

Actually, just going through the specs, the Samsungs I was looking at are listed as 120Hz... although I'm sure they are emulated.
I'd expect 120Hz @ 1080p. Definitely not at 4k.

Emulated? Maybe. Deceptive marketing? Yes.

Obligatory shoutout to a fellow Mckinnian!
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Adding a footnote to the discussion.

From the perspective I'm about to explain, there is a parallel to the options offered by SSD configurations for PCs. For a lot of mainstream usage, there are many situations where a human being wouldn't much notice the difference between storage access at 300 MB/s, 600 MB/s or even 1200MB/s.

We were still using old, analog, tube-type TVs until around 2010. I went on a campaign to convert the entire house to HD -- which is supposed to be splendid resolution by comparison. I cannot comprehend what benefits I'd have with 4K. How is my entertainment supposed to be better? How will my eyes even notice a difference?

I await some sort of enlightenment that will propel me further into the 21st century, but I cannot at the moment wrap my brain around the need for 4K.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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I await some sort of enlightenment that will propel me further into the 21st century, but I cannot at the moment wrap my brain around the need for 4K.
You know... it's funny. When we dumped the old 27" tuber for the current 48" LED 120Hz panel... I was like 'WOW! This is what I've been missing!' But since we cut cable and either stream stuff off Netflix or the HTPC, we really aren't even seeing stuff in HD. I haven't even gone over to BluRay for the simple problem of disk durability (our LG standalone BD player destroyed our BD copy of Star Trek... :mad: ) and file size (when ripped to the HTPC; I'm not really convinced it's worth it (although I've adjusted that opinion to current big-ticket movies are worth the BD, but 20-year old movies, etc, are not.)

Now, we go out to my wife's parents house... they have a 60" panel... but have HD cable.... and I'm like 'WOW! This is what I've been missing!' and it comes full circle again...

I don't know if 4K will ever really see it's full potential, I don't know if current cable and satellite bandwidth can handle all that data (with the understanding that I don't know that much about it, but it makes sense...) and if They will produce media that will take advantage of something like 4K. Dunno....
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
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Now, we go out to my wife's parents house... they have a 60" panel... but have HD cable.... and I'm like 'WOW! This is what I've been missing!' and it comes full circle again...
The funny things about this is that once again the pirates get the best of both worlds. It is pretty easy to get true HD quality TV and movies from pirate sites, while my local cable company compress the hell out of it so that they can fit 5000 channels down the copper wire that they have refused to replace since 1973.


I don't know if 4K will ever really see it's full potential, I don't know if current cable and satellite bandwidth can handle all that data (with the understanding that I don't know that much about it, but it makes sense...) and if They will produce media that will take advantage of something like 4K. Dunno....
We barely have any cable channels broadcasting in true 1080p, much less looking to upgrade to 4k. The bandwidth would be there, but they would have to trim down a few thousand channels.
The odds are that when we finally get 4k it will be so highly compressed that it looks even worse then the 1080 channels we now get.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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The human eye is only capable of so much.

I used to have 20-20 vision, and I could put six holes in the black label of a Coors can with a .22 LR semi-auto when I was young, at a reasonable distance.

Now I need reading glasses, while the eye-doc tells me my distance vision is relatively good. I insisted on a prescription with full coverage: progressive lenses. Whatever he says, there's a "gray area" for the distance from my eyes to my TV -- at least one reason for the progressives.

But -- good, bad, indifferent -- I just don't see how a resolution that high -- 4K - would be distinguishable. How the transmissions would saturate existing cable technology, I can't say. Then, there's "internet TV" and the prospects that we may actually have gigabit internet.

How much faster does it need to be? And how would one see any difference between 1080 and 4K? Other posters have different access to HD channels. A lot of these channels still only offer 720p. And you can get 120Hz and even 240Hz, but even this doesn't matter, since our cable provider (and ISP) broadcasts at 60. Well -- they do stuff behind my back; we just had a changeover this spring in which they were converting everything to "digital." They also doubled our internet bandwidth, and I can feel and see the difference. But a 10/100 WAN port is still sufficient for it.
 

Batmeat

Senior member
Feb 1, 2011
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Sony, Japan, and Netflix are starting to do media in 4k now. It will be atleast a year before it becomes more mainstream. If you want to stream from Netflix in 4k, you need at least a 12Mb connection (pretty sure thats what I read).

Most new TV's that support 4k are only 30hz, and HDMI 1.4. There are only a couple TV's that offer 60hz 4k HDMI 2.0 at this point. SO, don't buy a 4k tv. Wait.:colbert:
 

trungma

Senior member
Jul 1, 2001
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Next to no 4K content makes spending extra for a 4K screen pretty silly unless its a gaming oriented HTPC, and even then you need to sit ridiculously close (at least for a home theater setup) to notice a difference and/or have an absolutely huge 4K TV (i.e. something like 85+" for a TV that is just 6 feet away, but well over 100" if you sit the average ~9 feet away).
I was at the local Best Buy and they had a Samsung 4k TV setup with 4k content. I stood at the same distance from the TV as if it was setup at my home and difference in picture quality is very noticeable. Did the same with a regular HTDV at the store and it looked like crap in comparison.

Frankly people need to go see the stuff for themselves rather than relying on website to tell them if it is worth it or not.

Once HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 is finalized and readily avilable, I will be upgrading all my displays.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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I was at the local Best Buy and they had a Samsung 4k TV setup with 4k content. I stood at the same distance from the TV as if it was setup at my home and difference in picture quality is very noticeable. Did the same with a regular HTDV at the store and it looked like crap in comparison.
Here is the problem:

How are you, Mr. Regular Consumer at Home, going to get access to that 4k content that makes a difference?

That is the real issue. Distribution.

I agree that many are fooling themselves that 4k isn't needed, just like many 4K owners are fooling themselves that upscaled 1080p Blu Rays are awesome.
 

bunnyfubbles

Lifer
Sep 3, 2001
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I was at the local Best Buy and they had a Samsung 4k TV setup with 4k content. I stood at the same distance from the TV as if it was setup at my home and difference in picture quality is very noticeable. Did the same with a regular HTDV at the store and it looked like crap in comparison.

Frankly people need to go see the stuff for themselves rather than relying on website to tell them if it is worth it or not.

Once HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 is finalized and readily avilable, I will be upgrading all my displays.
yeah, because BestBuy is going to provide an unbiased presentation of a high end product they are trying to sell :rolleyes:

you don't need to trust a website, there's plenty of science and math you can rely on to do the calculation yourself

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_acuity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_HDTV_viewing_distance#Human_visual_system_limitation

for a 65" 4K TV, loss of detail starts to occur around a distance of ~50" for someone with 20/20 vision.

if you sit the average distance (9-10') away from your TV and have 20/20 vision or worse, a 4K screen is going to be a waste outside of units that are well over the average size; we're talking 80"+ to really start to appreciate the difference...I would even go as far to argue that most people sit too far away (or have a TV too small) to fully appreciate 1080p let alone 4K; if people aren't going to adjust for 1080p, why would they do so for 4K, especially when there's still virtually no worthwhile 4K consumer content?

maybe you're a fighter pilot with 20/10 vision and/or have a personal setup where you sit less than a body length away from the TV, but for most people the resolution of the screen is going to be mostly a non-factor and are far more likely to benefit from improvements to other aspects of screen technology (improvements to contrast ratio/color accuracy/color saturation will make more of an impact to perceived overall image quality than resolution will)
 

trungma

Senior member
Jul 1, 2001
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yeah, because BestBuy is going to provide an unbiased presentation of a high end product they are trying to sell :rolleyes:

you don't need to trust a website, there's plenty of science and math you can rely on to do the calculation yourself

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_acuity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_HDTV_viewing_distance#Human_visual_system_limitation

for a 65" 4K TV, loss of detail starts to occur around a distance of ~50" for someone with 20/20 vision.

if you sit the average distance (9-10') away from your TV and have 20/20 vision or worse, a 4K screen is going to be a waste outside of units that are well over the average size; we're talking 80"+ to really start to appreciate the difference...I would even go as far to argue that most people sit too far away (or have a TV too small) to fully appreciate 1080p let alone 4K; if people aren't going to adjust for 1080p, why would they do so for 4K, especially when there's still virtually no worthwhile 4K consumer content?

maybe you're a fighter pilot with 20/10 vision and/or have a personal setup where you sit less than a body length away from the TV, but for most people the resolution of the screen is going to be mostly a non-factor and are far more likely to benefit from improvements to other aspects of screen technology (improvements to contrast ratio/color accuracy/color saturation will make more of an impact to perceived overall image quality than resolution will)
No need to be offended.
 

Automaticman

Member
Sep 3, 2009
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Since you liked the Vizio you previously had, you might take a look at their just announced P series 4K tvs with HDMI 2.0 and full array LED with local dimming. $999 for the 50" and $1699 for the 60" is going to make them hard to beat. I'm waiting to see some full reviews come out, but they sound nice so far.

I did see a mention that only one of the HDMI ports is 2.0, the other 4 are 1.4
 

bunnyfubbles

Lifer
Sep 3, 2001
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I don't believe any of that stuff. 2K cell phones look awesome. I have a bunch of those cheapo Seiki's at work for various purposes (39" & 50") and they look great! My only complaint is the lack of 4K content. That, plus a lot of the stuff I watch is only SD, so my HT projector is only 720p so that it scales up decently.
you don't believe in math?

using a 2K screen on a smartphone or a 4K screen for work are very different from laying back on a couch ~9-10' away from a ~50" screen, especially when there's plenty of "content" for the first two scenarios and almost none for the latter (again, this thread is about 4K for the home theater) and at this point 4K really doesn't make sense

1. there's almost no content for it

2. even if there was content, you likely need to completely rework your entire home theater setup (i.e. sit much closer) unless you go big enough on the screen (even more $)

3. quality 4K TVs aren't cheap, and today's 4K TVs are likely to be relatively archaic by the time we have a healthy amount of 4K content, so it makes sense to wait until we have cheaper and better 4K TVs along with 4K content before buying in to it.


Maybe I haven't made myself clear, I'm not against 4K, I just think its being over-hyped, which is to be expected as its the manufacturers doing their best to push it on us if only because they have nothing else to push - OLED is having trouble taking off (and may never take off), and plasma is being phased out...that leaves us stuck with LCD for the foreseeable future, and ramping up resolution is just about all they can do with tired LCD tech.
 

Raincity

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2000
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Everybody likes to bring in the resolution argument. But nobody bothers to talk about the new rec.2020 standard that has extended the color gamut from the current Rec 709 standard and the lack of interlaced frames in the new standard are all good things. Netflix is streaming a few things with the new 2020 standard, House of Cards, Breaking Bad but the content out there is really scarce right now.
 

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
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A word of advice from someone who's been through the experience already (see my thread under "Video"):

If you use the new TV as a monitor (connected to a HTPC), make sure you buy a model with low input lag. Even if you don't game, the mouse movement can be seriously impeded by lag in excess of 100 milliseconds.

Look at displaylag.com, to ascertain which models have the lowest values....
 
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