4k TVs

I need to get a new monitor for work (seeing as some scumbags stole the last one).

A long time ago (when I had better eyesight) I managed to get a rather nice IBM monitor that was 3840x2400 and was awesome. The real issue back then was the way linux handled high resolution screens. Getting any of the icons or window decoration to a size you could hit with a mouse was hard work - getting a mouse setting that was still usable was also hard. I have to say apple have done a good job handling high resolution though (retina displays and the like) - with some things scaled, some things done as full resolution (text) and settings that seem to work well. That monitor is used to display lots of nice graphs in our tech support team these days.

Anyway, what I have been used to for some time, and have at home, is a 30" apple cinema monitor that was 2560 x 1600. This was a good compromise of pixels I could see, but a nice big screen. It was very nice. I was really happy with that.

Of course, now that 4k TV has come along, we see new monitors. So I am looking at a 4k monitor. For those that do not know, the "4k" bit means the horizontal resolution. Even so, it is actually 3840 x 2160, so exactly twice each way compared to full HD screens (which makes a lot of sense for backwards compatibility). Given that hard drive manufacturers ran in to issues calling a gigabyte a gigabyte when people incorrectly assumed a gibibyte, I am shocked that monitor manufacturers are not expected to provide 4000 pixels or even 4096 pixels for something called "4k". I'll wait for people in the US to start suing manufacturers.

Anyway, this means that there are some impressive panels to get as a monitor. But given how the 30" was only 2560 x 1600, I may be better getting something a tad bigger than 30" if it is 3840 x 2160. Of course, a 60" on my desk is impractical and I don't want a neck ache from having to keep moving my head to see different parts of the screen.

Whilst I have yet to decide on a suitable panel, I was somewhat bemused to see "4k" TVs that are not 4k. For example Sharp Aquos LC60UQ10 LED 1080p Full HD 3D 4K Compatible Smart TV, i.e. it is "4K Compatible". Now, a TV compatible with 4 Kelvin (very cold) is impressive, but I am sure they mean "4k compatible". The resolution is described as 1920 x 1080 (native); 3840 x 2160 (effective). So this is a normal full HD panel. How can that ever be "effective" as 4k?

At some point I'm sure I'll get a new TV for the house as well, and that is where LGs trick of alternative lines being polarised to do passive glasses 3D will be excellent as it will allow full HD 3D with no compromise on vertical resolution. But that is a project for another day - for now it is a new monitor for my office machine.

Any recommendations for a panel would be good.


  1. DCI 4k is 4096x2160. Every 4k capable cinema projector will be capable of outputting that.

    When you are producing a movie, you take your aspect ratio and stretch it until two of the sides meet the boundaries of said specification.

    For 16:9, you get a resolution of 3840x2160.

    If your film was 4:3, you would get 2880x2160

    It it was CinemaScope, you would get 4096x(something less)

    And hence the 4k TV resolution comes about (the 2k TV resolution was picked the same way BTW)

  2. As is has been for a while, Dell are leading when it comes to 4k screens. If you're looking for a largish screen then go for a Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q (http://www.trustedreviews.com/dell-ultrasharp-up3214q_Monitor_review)

  3. After stumbling upon this article : http://tiamat.tsotech.com/4k-is-for-programmers I've go myself a seiki 39" from US - Sears , they ship to UK and it was with me in less than a week...

    Highly recommend reading the post and follow ups!

    1. Out of interest, how much duty/taxes etc. were you charged on import?

  4. Have a look at this article and follow ups http://tiamat.tsotech.com/4k-is-for-programmers

    I had no problem ordering Seiki from Sears in US to deliver in UK

  5. A kilobyte is 1024 bytes, a megabyte is 1024 x 1024, a gigabyte is 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes. I have no time for this stupid modern redefinition and introduction of silly terms like gibibyte.

    1. kibi is modern (1996) and introduced to avoid any confusion. It is internationally standardised, but being new I understand why people do not like it. If you don't like kibi, don't use it. But "this stupid modern redefinition" of kilo as 1024 is indeed stupid, I agree. The origins of kilo from French in 18th century come from ancient Greek, and mean 1000. International standards confirm that definition as 1000.

      If you don't agree, lets fight it our one kilometre down this road - I hope you have long arms :-)

      I assume you are happy with kilometre, kilogramme, kilohertz kilowatt, all being 1000 of something, not 1024.

      But looking at computers and data usage: An ISDN channel is 64000 bits per second; The ATA-100 disk interface refers to 100000000bytes per second; A "56K" modem refers to 56000bits per second; SATA-2 has a raw bit rate of 3 Gbit/s = 3000000000bits per second; PC2-6400 RAM transfers 6400000000bytes per second, Firewire 800 has a raw rate of 800000000bits per second. All of these would be very strange numbers if expressed in "binary prefixes" like using kilo as 1024. Are you really saying the transfer rate of an ISDN channel is 7.812kilobytes/second not 8k/s ?

    2. I'm saying they all lied and used kilo etc. as 1000 to make their products appear faster than they really are. This applies particularly to hard discs, where 1GB doesn't even get you 1000000000 bytes.

      I understand the change to kibi etc. I just haven't accepted it mentally and I always feed stupid saying the words with the new prefixes, they almost seemed designed to sound silly when spoken aloud. Maybe the standards body were trying to make a point by giving them silly names?

    3. [yes, I know one should not feed the trolls]

      Using kilo as 1000 is not lying. It is the correct and long standing usage of kilo. Using kilo as 1024 is (your phrase) a "stupid modern redefinition" of kilo by some, and wrong.

      I fully appreciate that "kibi" is annoying, but new words are, even when endorsed by international standards and widely used operating systems and so on. So don't use kibi if you don't like it, but definitely do not pretend that kilo is anything other than exactly 1000.

      Oh, and a 1GB disk will get you 1000000000 bytes. How you use those bytes, such as putting them in a filing system of your choice and using some for various file system related overhead, is up to you. If you wrote raw blocks to the disk (which is what the disk manufacturer is selling) you would get the 1000000000 bytes of storage.

    4. I didn't realise you regard me as a troll. That wasn't my intention.

    5. That use of 1000 on disks is fairly modern, and a bit odd.

      A floppy used to be 512x9x80 bytes, or 368640 = 360k (or a multiple thereof). Hard drives were similar.. in fact internally they still are - a hard drive with 4k sectors has 4096 byte sectors not 4000. It's the label on the outside box that's changed.

      You can't really separate memory and hard drive in terminology (or indeed programming, where sticking to powers of 2 is more natural and indeed on many CPUs more efficient). You memory map a file on the hard drive.. you've mapped 100k or 102k? It'd be madness if it changed depending on your point of view.

      Of course with TVs the value of k has now lost all meaning.. 2160p doesn't sound enough of a jump so let's use the width of 3840 and call it '4k', so people will pay much more for it.

  6. the dell UP3214q looks quite promising - a 31.5" 4k screen http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_up3214q.htm - took me a while to get used to a 27" screen after using a 21.5" screen, but now my old screen looks tiny, so it's just a matter of getting used to the extra size, but 4k screen will simply be the norm in a few years.

  7. I wouldn't get any 4K TV at the moment. The 4K spec supports frame rates up to around 120Hz. The HDMI V1 spec can only support 30Hz. You can get higher using DisplayPort so you will want to use that for your monitor. I would wait until there are TVs out with HDMI V2.

  8. saw this a while back while surfing. http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/extremewindows/archive/2013/11/27/seiki-50-4k-tv-makes-great-pc-display-for-about-1000.aspx

  9. saw this a while back while surfing. http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/extremewindows/archive/2013/11/27/seiki-50-4k-tv-makes-great-pc-display-for-about-1000.aspx

  10. The problem with the seiki 39" is that it's only 30hz refresh. There was a Samsung on Amazon 29"/30" for 500 that supported 60hz over displayport 1.2 which is supported on most new Macs.

  11. We have 2 of the Seiki 50" 4k TVs here in the office (bought on amazon.com and imported). They're great for the price, and very useful for us (we use them as dashboards for system status etc; each replaced a grid of 4 x 23" Dell 1080p monitors on a cumbersome 4 way monitor arm) but the 30Hz max refresh and the physical size means I wouldn't want to use one as a monitor. One day I will get around to running some 4k24 video on them to see what they can do with a movie.

  12. Took the plunge and ordered a 39" screen from Sears. Import VAT was £76, so total cost was about £420. Took a bit of faffing with the colour/contrast balance and certainly looks a lot better with sharpness wound down to zero.
    The TV us 110-240V 50/60Hz, so no problem running it in the UK. There's a remote, HDMI cable and batteries in the box, so up and running in no time at all. Now I'll just have to see if I can get used to such a big screen!

  13. Oh, and I ordered it on a two week delivery and didn't pay the suggested £144 charge to cover all import costs. It arrived in four days and (as I said), I ended up paying only £76 in costs.


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