The First Affordable 4K Screens

For the first time in history, 4K TVs are available for under $4000. Vizio and Polaroid are the responsible manufacturers for these new screens, which may see more homes than ever watching higher-quality television.

Until recently, the demand for 4K TVs has been limited. There are two main reasons for this. First, the devices simply haven’t been affordable to the average consumer. Second, there hasn’t been much available content with that kind of resolution. Currently, the primary consumer base for this type of TV uses the screens as ultra-high-def monitors for their powerful computers.

The resolution on a 4K screen is 3840 by 2160 pixels. This is twice the resolution of a 1080p HD screen (with the focus switching from the number of vertical pixels to a rounded-up number of horizontal pixels). 4K TVs always have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or better, and an HDMI 2.0 cable is necessary in order to maintain the standard 120 Hz refresh rate.

At the present time, bandwidth is a major issue in the way of companies providing 4K content—especially since HD content upgrades were already a big financial blow to many providers. As far as using discs to produce 4K images, modern Blu-Ray players are incapable of handling the bandwidth.

This is why—for now, at least—a 50-inch 4K TV is basically an enormous computer monitor. Writers, for example, can have multiple windows open at once for research and typing. Day traders can view trading software and make trades using multiple windows on the same screen. Basically, the resolution allows users to simulate multiple monitors with a single screen. For gamers, graphics card issues arise. To render 4K graphics at 30 or 60 Hz, expect to spend $500 to $1000 extra for a more powerful graphics card.