When was the last time you bought a hard copy of a movie?
In today’s streaming world, the notion of purchasing physical Blu-rays might seem silly. After all, why spend $12-25 on a single movie when Netflix only costs you $9 a month? But there are serious advantages to purchasing Blu-rays – especially 4K Ultra HD movies, which are becoming more common. If you’re curious about why keep on reading.
What exactly is 4K?
Let’s start with understanding what 4K is before we dive into why it’s worth it. The simple answer is 4K is a resolution – the number of pixels on the screen. The number of pixels affects the level of detail a picture has; the more pixels, the crisper and more life-like the image. The previous high-definition standard, 1080p, is 1,080 pixels vertically and 1,920 pixels horizontally. With a name like 4K, you’d think the resolution would be 4,000 pixels vertically. But, in fact, it is 3,840 pixels horizontally and 2,160 vertically. Putting aside the confusing and inconsistent naming conventions, that means that 4K has 4 times as many pixels as Full HD. Effectively, this means more detail.
Full HD: 1080 x 1920 = 2,073,600 pixels
4K: 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400 pixels
Why Upgrading is Worth It
1. Picture Quality
Since 4K has so many more pixels than 1080p, you will be able to see more details, the colors will be more vivid, and blacks will be deeper. “But I can stream 4K, so why would I buy it?” you say. Well, in order to stream without using up your bandwidth, providers like Netflix heavily compress the stream, which impacts picture quality.
72 Megabits per second to 144 Megabits per second
15.6 Megabits per second to 25 Megabits per second
As you can see, watching your favorite movie on a 4K Blu-ray transfers more data per second. More data means seeing the visual details you were meant to see when the director filmed it.
2. Sound Quality
Now let’s talk about sound quality. There is not necessarily such a thing as 4K audio, but the technology associated with sound in 4K means you get higher quality audio. In general, 4k discs offer more advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, which often aren’t offered on the regular Blu-Ray versions of the disc. The newer lossless audio formats further heighten the realism of the movie and can genuinely rival the theater experience. Older “lossy” formats found on DVDs and streaming platforms sound pale in comparison. If you want to be truly immersed in three-dimensional sound, 4K Blu-rays are the ticket.
3. Old Titles Get New Life
If your favorite movie was made before 4K technology, odds are you cringe a little when you watch it because the quality is so low compared to the latest Marvel movie you just bought. But 4k has been around long enough now that more and more classics and Blockbuster hits are being remastered into this visually stunning format. Upgrading these cinematic masterpieces from Blu-ray (or maybe even DVD) to 4K Blu-ray gives them a new lease on life. Almost every old title you watch in 4K Blu-ray is like seeing your favorite for the first time.
4. Pricing is Affordable
When 4K technology was new, it was out of reach for most consumers. But now that it has been around for a few years, it is reasonable to assume you can start converting your collection of movies to 4K Blu-rays. But, our advice is that you be discerning with your money and really think about whether or not the movie is going to benefit from the vibrant colors, high contrasts, and high resolution that is associated with 4K discs.
Even at a high price point, if you’re looking to see a movie at the best they’ve ever looked, then 4K is worth it, even if you already own the DVD or Blu-ray.
Some Common Questions about 4K
Do I need a 4k Blu-ray player to play 4K Blu-rays?
Yes. Because of the encoding on the disc, a 4K Blu-ray player is required to enjoy the benefits of a 4K Blu-ray.
Will my 4k Blu-ray player play regular Blu-rays and DVDs?
Yes, 4K Blu-ray players will also play standard Blu-ray discs and even DVDs.
Do I need a 4k TV in addition to my 4K Blu-ray player?
Yes and no. If you don’t have a 4K TV, you can still watch 4K Blu-rays, but you won’t get the full effect you’re looking for.
Still have questions? Come in and talk to our experts at Toton’s TV today. We can answer all your questions about upgrading your TV and more.