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.
Do you want to stream TV via the Internet? There are a number of devices that you can procure for this purpose. Many of them are multitasking devices such as video game consoles. Google and Apple, however, have both created dedicated devices. Let’s take a look at the Chromecast from Google and see how it compares to Apple TV.
The first thing you are going to notice is a difference in price. Chromecast is a steal at $35. Of course, that makes some buyers wary, so let’s look at the features. You might decide to shell out a hundred dollars on Apple TV instead.
Going by size, Chromecast has the clear advantage over the hockey puck sized Apple TV. Chromecast resembles a flash drive. Location is important too. You’ll need a place to set down your Apple TV device. The Chromecast just plugs in the HDMI port. It also only weighs about an eighth of what the Apple TV device does, but since you only have to carry it to the register (or from the mailbox) then you probably don’t care a whole lot about weight.
Did we mention that the Chromecast plugs directly into your HDMI port? If you pick up an Apple TV device, don’t forget to purchase an HDMI cable to go with it since there isn’t one included.
Both devices are full HD. Both also give you access to your own content. Apple TV uses your mobile devices, while Google’s device relies on capturing what you have in the cloud. Both have single core processors and half a GB of RAM.
This is where the balance starts to shift. Apple TV has four times the storage of the Chromecast with eight GBs total. Since the Chromecast just launched, Apple sports way more channels, but it’s only a matter of time until Google catches up. Also, only Apple lets you mirror your mobile devices.
Right now, Apple is clinging tenaciously to the advantage in channels, so unless you are primarily wanting a device for Netflix, YouTube and Google Play, you may need to consider spending the extra money on Apple TV.
Our generation has had the privilege to witness life-changing technologies develop almost from scratch.
If you’re in your twenties or older, you probably remember a time when your television set had a robust shape and size and the number of channels you could watch were limited. The advancement of technology has completely revolutionized the experience of watching television. (more…)