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Group of men watching sports on 4K TV

Ultra HD vs. 4K TVs: What's the Difference?

In this article, we compare Ultra HD vs 4K resolution and how the different display qualities benefit your favorite content. Understand the pixelation offered on devices at Abt and determine what entertainment style is best for you.
graphic explaining the difference between 1080p, 4K and 8K UHD

Getting Started

Shopping for a brand-new TV can be overwhelming, especially when technical terminology gets thrown into the mix. 4K, Ultra HD, 4K UHD: what does it all mean? Ultra HD and 4K refer to TV resolution, which is often demonstrated in a number representing the number of pixels on the screen. The higher the pixel count, the better the TV's resolution or image quality is. An average HD television has a resolution of 1080p, but screens have been fast advancing and are now being offered in Ultra HD, 4K and even 8K (although these are fairly new to the market). How do you know which one to take home? What is the difference between Ultra HD and 4K in the first place? Keep reading to become a pixelation pro.

What is Ultra HD Resolution?

Ultra HD (UHD) is a term used in the broadcast and display equipment industry and is considered a consumer standard. UHD resolution is most frequently used in television and computer monitors. The resolution is measured at 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is exactly four times the pixels found in an average HD display. This is why brands and companies will often round up the resolution value and label their Ultra HD televisions as "4K UHD". In reality, Ultra HD TVs have fewer pixels horizontally and therefore, cannot really achieve the detail and texture expected from true 4K resolution. As you shop for a "4K UHD" TV, you may notice many offer upscaling technology. What this really means is that your TV can take older content with lower resolution value and increase the pixelation to 3840 x 2160.
LG UHD TV on a table

What is 4K Resolution?

4K is a term derived from the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), used in the video production industry and considered a cinema standard. 4K resolution is most frequently used in movie theaters or home projectors. The resolution is measured at 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is exactly four times the pixels found in the previous digital projection/cinematic standard (2K or 2048 x 1080 pixels). 4K resolution features wider pixelation than Ultra HD because it must be able to support films with both "Scope" and "Flat" aspect ratios. "Scope" films have a 2.39:1 aspect ratio and a resolution of 4096 x 1716 pixels. "Flat" films have a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3996 x 2160 pixels. These numbers may not make much sense to you, but they mostly go to show that Scope films have a display that is wider, but shorter in length than the display of a Flat film. Whether or not a film uses Flat or Scope aspect ratios is up to the producer's and director's preferences, but newer movies, especially action films and larger-scale epics, tend to rely more on Scope than Flat.
4K projector and screen in a home theater

Ultra HD vs 4K: Which One Should You Take Home?

Both Ultra HD and 4K are similar in that they share an image ratio of 16:9 and they also both deliver excellent resolution, stunning image clarity and an enjoyable viewing experience. How you choose the perfect product or resolution for you truly depends on your dedication to entertainment. If you're an average TV viewer who relies on cable or streaming services for daily watching (most customers are), an Ultra HD TV will give you everything you need. They can fit in nearly any room with the variety of sizes sold and you can even enhance the experience with additional speakers or a soundbar. If you're a film buff or an avid DVD, Blu-Ray or 4K UHD disc collector, you may be interested in building or creating your own home theater space. True 4K resolution most likely holds more value to your viewing experience and you can find this in a projector system. At Abt, we sell a variety of "4K UHD" TVs and true 4K projectors to match both wants and needs. Seeking out a display with even higher quality than both Ultra HD and 4K? We also offer a handful of 8K TVs with upscaling technology and a resolution measured at 7680 × 4320 pixels. Note: there's far more than just the resolution to consider before investing in a TV for your home. Jump into our TV buying guide to learn about HDR, smart functions, inputs, accessories and more.