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Is it Finally Time to Buy a 4K TV? - UPDATE: Joel McHale Weighs In!

We used to tell you to stay away, but that was then, this is now. Should you jump onto the future bandwagon and nab a 4K TV?
Updated

In the past, we've cautioned against buying "Ultra HD" 4K TV deals; there was barely any content for the higher resolution, and, despite third-tier manufacturer's getting into the game, the sets were still mostly too expensive — especially compared to standard models.

A year has passed at this point, however, so has the situation changed? Netflix has been streaming 4K content for several months now, and Amazon just announced that it, too, will offer 4K streaming content. Moreover, prices are cheaper than ever before, with even high-end sets seeing massive price cuts during the Black Friday season. But does that mean that now is the right time to buy a 4K TV?

In this brief — yet lively — video, our experts discuss if 4K TVs are now a smart purchase.


Update: Joel McHale weighs in on the debate!

As you might have already heard, the film branch of Sony was recently hacked by a group known as "Guardians of Peace," and in the process, many personal email exchanges were leaked to the internet. A harmless, yet extremely adorable, example of such a leaked email comes from Joel McHale.

Introducing himself as someone you "might remember from such canceled Sony TV shows as Community," McHale proceeds to ask about how he can get a discount on a Sony 4K TV. (See the full email here.) When the internet caught on, McHale stuck to his guns — and inadvertently took a stance on the 4K debate.

So there you have it! They r outstanding! Case closed, everybody invest in 4K immediately.

What about you, readers? Where do you stand on 4K TVs? Are you going to jump on the next deal you see, or are you going to bide your time, waiting for more content? Tell us what you think in the comments below!


Related DealNews Features:
User Experience Researcher

Jeff Somogyi is the DealNews User Experience Researcher. Since working here he's written deals, features, promotional and newsletter copy, blog posts, as well as scripts for our videos. Follow him on Google+, Twitter at @sommerjam or his blog.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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19 comments
ksanger
In my experience, if printing a 150 dpi image we get better results interpolating to 300 dpi and then printing. Similarly upscaling true 1080P content to 4K, (doubling the resolution), should produce a better picture, enabling us to get a bigger set without loosing quality. Even while we wait for true 4K content. I'm in. As soon as I can get what I want for under $1000 as my last two HDTVs haven't lasted more than 5 years.
venkatx5
I yet to see SUHD and compare it with UHD. It should be better.
venkatx5
I compared 1080p HD Tvs with UHD Tvs at Best Buy. 4K is Truly Amazing. I stream 4K content via YouTube without any issues. Also I have few 4K demo videos on USB Drive which plays very well.
Those who argue 4K is waste, probably should Buy one. 8K is very far. Definitely Satellite/Cable TV Providers won't skip 4K Because the Internet speed also should Jump high.
docrbk
For practical purposes, unless you are virtually up against the screen, the eye cannot tell 4k from 1080p in TV's under 60 inches (and maybe not even then...I can tell very little in my case between a 60 inch 4k and a 65 inch 1080p) but there is the idea of "future-proofing" which is a legitimate concern if the price differential isn't too great. Also, if the 4k tv has 3D and that's important to you, passive 3D in a 4k tv can be significantly better than on a 1080p...no so much for active 3D. So far I can really see no significant difference in picture quality in "upscaled" (native 1080p, like bluray) images (many of the 4K TV's do upscale, just as bluray and HDDVD players upscale standard dvd's). Again, for practical purposes, the eye cannot differentiate between 720p (1080i) and 1080p under 46-50 inch sets, and the breakoff point for 1080p and 4K (native content) seems to be between 60-70 inches.
olegsaf
4K TV is the best digital photo album invented yet - I finally found the best justification to own one :)

All has been considered:
1) Watching 4K streamed content over internet - is a gimmick (intentionally increased video compression level to utilize smaller bandwidth to allow content delivery).
2) Watching 4K content on physical media in true quality - non existent and not even in the works.
3) Watching cable/satellite in 4K - non existing content and anybody who will attempt will follow the 4K streaming gimmick.
4) Playing games in 4K on console - none gaming consoles support this.
5) Playing games in 4K from a PC - may be, be sure you have top of the line graphic card and the rest of hardware components.
6) Viewing photographs in 4K - BINGO!
7) Watching your home video you recorded in 4K - BINGO!

For instance, if I owned a professional photo studio I would definitely got a few high quality screens to display photographs to my customers. This is the true job for a 4K TV.
HowardaC
4k is a scam. It's more of a parlor trick to get you to buy a tv you don't need, similar to 3d tvs a few years back. 99% of the cable and satellite companies only offer 1080i or less resolution with compression because they simply don't have the bandwidth... well 4k needs significantly more bw... so it's pointless.

What about game consoles? Well many (not all) ps4 games run at 1080p, but the Wii U and Xb one, nope 720p for most games.

Long story short, the resolution of your current tv isn't fully utilized yet so 4k is just nonsense atm.

Also common sense check here.... put in a Blu-ray disc and sit in front of your tv normally. Do you see pixelization? Then you don't need 4k.

I'm closing I'll remind everyone that HD tv was invented in the 80's. It took until 2003-ish before the infrastructure was in place to actually make hd TV's viable and affordable.
olegsaf
"4K streaming bandwidth" - google this and it's in the top 3 results, some educational stuff to understand how the providers are going to pull the "4K" trick - all you need to know.

Netflix: "It’s around 15Mbs". (talking about their 4K streaming).
- "Thank you so much!!" :-)

I'm not into 4K TVs until there is 4K content on physical media such as Blu-Ray.

So you would know, 1080p (2K) video is recorded on Blu-Ray discs at 20-25Mbs and this is bit rate for compressed (encoded) video stream. If you wanted to record a 4K movie at the same quality bit rate would have increased almost four times.
Greg the Gruesome
WARNING: The page that the "full email here" link sends you to may contain a NSFW image (captioned "You'll Need to Sit Down After Seeing These Body Paint Pics") among the "Sponsored From Around the Web" ridiculousness.
DealsNewsUser0110
Do you need special hdmi cables to achieve the higher resolution? there are multiple generations of them out there, and just by looking at mine there is no way to tell if mine will work
world2
I wouldn't buy any 4K TV right now unless it's really, really cheap !! because 8K TV is already in the making. The TV stations and entertainment industries will probably bypass 4K format and go straight to 8K.
honda1500a
I ordered a 4K unfortunately it's on backorder so I was thinking maybe of canceling the order. A few days ago I was at Costco and we saw the new 4K I mean it was impressive! I'd like to hear from other people should I order it or shouldn't I? It is a Samsung 40 inch for 797.
justaguy
The higher end TV's offer upscaling. This may not be a good as native 4k content but it beats anything short of that. This may not apply to the lower priced sets and non-name brand units out there. Check for this when buying.

Samsung also offers a New Smart 3D Blu-ray Disc® Player With UHD 4K Upscaling - Model BD-F7500/ZA so now anything you can get on Blu-ray you can play in 4k.
fatmanosu
I did get a 4K 70 inch tv during black Friday. Yes there is not much content, but the TV overall is a better picture then my old DLP. I to wanted an OLED, but LG still is stalling on the 65 inch OLED. I have seen it coming soon for months and it is $10K vs $2k I paid. I play lots of games and watch blu-rays.
from50613
Even beyond the content, I am so pleased with my current set-up (50" LG Plasma) that I have no reason to even think about spending the money. The VALUE is not there.
olegsaf
One benefit I personally would have from a 4K TV is when viewing our family photo albums on the TV. Since resolution of our photos go beyond 4K x 2K viewing them on 1080p takes away many details. 4K TV will do 4 times better job in this case.

If you watch 1080p Blu-Ray movies, 4k TV will not do any better job for your experience than an 1080p TV. Yes, I've heard some salesmen stating about increased sharpness of 1080p content when it is watched on 4K TV. This may be true when your TV is relatively large (65"+) and you watch it from close distance.

If you primarily watch cable/satellite, then taking 4K TV would bring you into the crowd of early adopters of 4K TV (and into investors into 4K technology) :))
olegsaf
Being in the market for a new TV right now, I came up with procs and cons just like it is discussed in this video review.

But there are few more points missed out that may be important for some of you. It all depends on what how you use your TV. Mostly cable/satellite? Or mostly Blu-Ray/DVDs? Do you watch your photo albums often?

Regarding 4K content availability from Netflix and Amazon and whoever else. Let's talk about bit stream :)

While _true_ 1080p quality content is averaging about 25-30Mbs, true 4K content will take four times more network bandwidth. I have not streamed any 4K content yet and can't tell for actual bandwidth it takes - it would be interesting to find out. But If your 4K movie is streamed at 30-40Mbs then guess what happened :)
dealnews-mbonebright (DealNews)
I gotta say, I'm also on the anti-4K bandwagon, but only because OLED is vastly superior. I'm waiting for those prices to come down though, yeesh.
ibex333
It's not even time to buy a 1080p TV, not to mention a 4k TV. Most of TV programming is not 1080p, the only way to have it is if you stream, watch netflix or play blu-rays. Otherwise 720p is cheaper and better choice.

4k is a waste of money right now. Don't give in to the hype.
rampo
Yay! Glad to see the return of a Three Amigos video. It's been a while. As for 4K, I'm the guy who still doesn't see what the big deal is about blu-rays and, since I've already replaced my old TVs with flat screens, I probably won't be buying a 4K until it's become a standard feature on newer TVs.
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