Mid-Week Poll: Are You Holding Out for 4k?

With the failure of 3D, the consumer electronics industry and Hollywood studios are eager to push 4k Ultra High Definition (UHD) as the next great technological breakthrough that home theater fans just can’t live without. After months of speculation about whether UHD would be best delivered by disc or by streaming, the Blu-ray Disc Association has confirmed that it’s currently looking into adding a UHD extension to the Blu-ray spec. With that in mind, how eager are you to upgrade your home theater to 4k? Have you stopped buying regular Blu-ray discs in anticipation, or have you already written off the UHD format as irrelevant to your needs?

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I always (at least in theory, to the best of my ability to afford) strive for the best and want to have the latest and greatest equipment in my home theater. I was an early adopter to both the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats when they debuted in 2006, and I’m very curious to see what kind of improvement 4k could offer me. I find most of my old DVD collection unwatchable on my projection screen, and have done my best to purge most of those discs for Blu-ray upgrades. I kind of regret how much money I wasted on DVD back in the day, and I’d hate to keep buying Blu-ray now if I’m likely to feel that way about it too in the future.

On the other hand, 1080p has established itself as a very nice sweet spot for most home theater needs, even on projection screens like mine. Except on the very largest of screens, 4k may not provide much discernable difference. (But didn’t some people say that about Blu-ray back in the day?) Many of today’s movies that are either photographed digitally or use a Digital Intermediate are permanently locked to 2k resolution and will never benefit from 4k.

Perhaps most problematic, upgrading a home theater to UHD will require a complete top-to-bottom overhaul at every part of the signal chain, from disc player source to display, including every single intermediary device (switchers, splitters, video processors, A/V receiver, etc.) and HDMI cable in between. That just won’t be practical or affordable for me to achieve anytime soon.

I suppose I have to take a wait-and-see approach to this. I’m open to the idea of UHD, but I haven’t stopped buying Blu-rays yet. How about you?

Are You Still Buying Blu-rays, or Holding Out for 4k?

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  1. Until 4k is mainstream – meaning not just TVs, but plenty of content as well – I’m more than happy with Blu-ray. Besides, after Videodiscs, VHS, Laserdiscs, and DVDs, I have no desire to re-stock my film library a SIXTH time. 🙂

  2. T.J. Kats

    I’ll upgrade to 4k as needed assuming it becomes standard. If/when a receiver or TV dies if it is a standard feature on all(most) new units then obviously I’ll get something that supports it but I have no urge to upgrade or to pay more for a 4k version of something assuming everything else is the same.

  3. boston007

    How about the studios get their God damn act together first? They can’t even properly do movies on blu ray right now?

    I purchased my TV in Dec 2009. I really want a new TV as this LCD tech is getting old, even though my pic quality is good.

    I may hold out till next holiday season for a 4K TV, but they still make be too expensive for my taste. If they are I may buy a non-4K TV because they SHOULD be inexpensive by then right, and I mean more inexpensive than right now.

    • Chaz

      Vizio is already planning a 50″ 4K TV for $999, just read that the other day, plus there was another no name company (at least to me) that was planning on pretty damn cheap 4K TVs too, sounds like this might end up coming down in price a lot faster than expected. But of course are these REAL 4K TVs or intermediary TVs that supposedly support 4K, I have no idea really. I’m interested when all my new stuff I just bought in August dies, so by then 4K should be good to buy into, but right now I’m completely happy with my 7.1 and 60″ 3D Plasma and will be for quite some time yet

  4. August Lehe

    Blu Ray is fine….well, until the OLED curved screens are down to 55 or 60-inch affordable prices (okay, like never?)

  5. Mark Luty

    It looks like I have to buy Star Wars all over again! Right now and for many years to come. It will be a market for the well to do. If and when the prices are down to the working man’s level, I will join in on the fun.

  6. The next tv I’m planning on getting is a 1080p. That’s where my head is at. I dumped several thousands of dollars into DVD, then even more thousands into bluray. On what I make now, not happening. I might be murdered in my sleep by the Mrs. If a talked about a complete home theate make over. The displays at the stores haven’t impressed that much anyways. Look how long it’s taken for some titles to make it to blu. By the time that stuff makes it to 4k, they’ll be pushing 8k.

  7. I was planning on getting a Panasonic PDP, but decided to hold off for 2014. If the new crop of UHD TVs come in starting at $999 for a 50 incher, why buy a 1080p set?

  8. Bob

    I see UHD largely as a means for increasing profits for the disk/studio industry. It has some advantages for larger HT screens, but presently has no improvements in color rendition or gray scale rendering. Touted as having “four times the resolution”, it’s engaging in false advertising since the resolution is only twice that of HD (about the improvement of BD over DVD), and with my eyesight and HT configuration, I would enjoy absolutely nothing over BD other than added cost (new player, probably new AVR, new projector, and new media). Not my thing!

    • Technically the 4x resolution IS accurate even though the numbers are only double because if you double height AND width you DO get 4x the resolution. I have mixed feelings about 4K displays seeing how how there isn’t much to take advantage of it right now. On the other hand, I’d think that upconverted blu-rays would be pretty awesome on a 4K regardless, I remember a huge jump with my old HD upconversion DVD player when I first got HD, why wouldn’t this be just as awesome?

  9. Drew

    Television (even very high quality HD shows on HBO) is not even delivered in 1080P, yet. What more needs to be said?

    I owned one of Sony’s new 4K sets (a 65″), until about a month ago. The picture quality was inferior (extremely) to my Panasonic ZT60. And even with native 4K content on the Sony (when compared to an identical clip, in 1080P, on the Panasonic), it was literally impossible to discern additional detail, until you were less than 4′ away. I even connected the televisions, side-by-side, and had friends, family, and neighbors tell me when they could see more detail, some people said they couldn’t, until they were about 2.5′ away. Nobody thought that the picture quality of the Sony was even close to the ZT60.

    With that said, I’m still planning on switching out my current projector, for a 4K model. I will do this, either late this year, or by Spring of next year. I feel that my 12′ screen will significantly benefit from 4K resolution. For televisions, 4K is absolutely pointless, unless you are buying a television larger than 100″, and plan on sitting 6′ away, or closer. Even in that event, unless you’re getting a 100″ OLED, you’re going to be suffering from worse picture quality than the last great 1080P plasmas delivered.

  10. I’m not gonna run out and buy UHD now. I’m still very happy with my 50″ Pioneer plasma. However, I expect to upgrade to a bigger screen within 3 years or so, and I figure that buying something that isn’t UHD at that time, will be silly.

    It depends on price too, of course. If a good 70″ UHD screen suddenly shows up below $2000, I’ll probably get one, even if UHDBDs (or will it be UHD DVD?) hasn’t reached the market yet.

  11. Thomas Eisenmann

    After going from VHS to Laserdisk to DVD to HD-DVD to Blu-ray, there is not a chance I will change out my substantial movie collection again. For once, I will wait until 4K becomes the norm before I even begin considering any change.

  12. Honestly, even 720p would work pretty well for me right now in my current apartment dwelling configuration, so the 50″ 1080p screen I have is a luxury. If I somehow become ridiculously wealthy and can afford a place with a giant dedicated screening room, then I might consider 4K, but that is pretty unlikely. I will probably stay with Blu Ray until it goes the way of VHS.

  13. I’m far more enthusiastic about new color and contrast technologies such as Dolby Vision than I am about a higher resolution most people won’t even be able to detect at a comfortable viewing distance.

    Besides which, when it comes to streaming, no one has even managed to get 1080p right yet. Why on earth should we move to adopt something even more bandwidth-clogging already?

  14. Jaimie Max

    Bluray is fine with me, all movies looks great on my 100 inch screen. I too have a front projection set up and I’m satisfied with how Bluray looks on my big screen. Maybe if 4K took off and became the new standard, then I’ll consider upgrading.

  15. Glenn

    Yes 4K is the way to go for a large front projector but having upgraded through all the previous formats it is only a matter of time until 8K is the way to go. Marketing people are what is driving 4K like the need for white bread. At one point there was laserdisk at about $40 per disc. It was a nich business for the true videophile. I guess if the maketing team had got their act together it could have been a mainstream category. There is the room for the family to watch video, and then there is the theater room, having to get new receivers, new players, new lcd,oled,whatever tv, new front projector, new HDMI cables, new cable boxes, etc. may be too much. But then again, eating is only a want but seeing the pimple about to show up on Geoge Clooney’s face is a need ———– or is it?

  16. Bill

    I second what the other guy said – “I’m far more enthusiastic about new color and contrast technologies such as Dolby Vision than I am about a higher resolution …”

    • Now THIS I can’t possibly agree with any more. Brighter contrast and deeper colors would be better. Well that and having LCD/LED that can actually match plasma in motion tracking. 4k to me gives a very warm, smooth appearance that for some reason 1080 can’t give me in an LED.

  17. Mark

    I bought a Panasonic ZT60 65″ last summer. I went to see Jack Ryan last weekend in IMAX.
    Honest to God, the picture on my ZT60 looks better! I think 4K makes sense for anything larger than 65″. So I will upgrade when I can get an 80″ plus 4K OLED in 21×9 aspect for under 5K. Im guessing around 10 years from now. In the meantime I could not be happier.
    Thank you Panasonic! But VERY dumb move to stop your Plasma production at this time.

    • hurin

      There isn’t much point in watching a movie in IMAX if it wasn’t made for IMAX. You would probably have had the opposite experience if you had seen Gravity instead.

      • Ted S.

        Like Josh said, Gravity wasn’t shot with IMAX cameras but it did look great seeing it on IMAX digital. In fact, it was shown only on digital IMAX, Warner Bros. didn’t produce any 70mm prints for the real IMAX theater.

        BTW, I saw Jack Ryan on digital IMAX and I thought it looked great.

      • Mark

        I did see Gravity in 3D IMAX. IMHO 3D diminishes the quality of the picture. i.e. darkens and slightly blurs with those cheap glasses. But it was a fun ride and the effect was enjoyable. I think a 3D film should be shot native in 3D, like Avatar to fully reap the benefits. I am not a fan of after conversion.


      I have a Panasonic Professional 65″ plasma Monitor 65VX100 model- I wouldn’t dream of swapping that right now of any of the current breed of 4k TV sets- it is 5 years old now, and IMHO cannot bet beaten on all the aspects that make for a solid, realsitic, film-like picture- colour palette is superb! and NO current LCD/LED TV panel can match its fluidity of image.

      I was HOPING my NEXT TV would be a 4k PLASMA from Panasonic- this will not happen- I am GUTTED! I can tell you, Panasonic did NOT take the decision lightly- they had invested huge amounts of TIME and EFFORT developing their baby- one which they ARE proud of- after Pioneer bowed out of the plasma screen market a few years ago-and took over the FLAG for making the finest plasmas available..having bought the “technology” from Pioneer (and some of their key personnel. It was a VERY SAD day when the Directors took the decision to DROP Plasma- they were every bit as SAD as you/WE are! But the fact remains, and hence the “commercial decision” taken- that within the United States Sales last year were in the order of 35 LCD/LED screens to 1 Plasma screen.

      Of course they recognise it was/is THE superior tech THEY’RE ABANDONING (WHEN THE FINAL PRODUCTION RUN AND LAST FACTORY CLOSES IN March 2014).. but they’re running a BUSINESS and they have carried it AS FAR AS THEY DARED GO..before retaining it at a loss- Blame the Market for wanting Cheap AND Not Caring about how their pictures LOOK!!! Joe Public at Large has little understanding- until you show them side by side and say…for just a little more you can have This Plasma and LOOK at the huge difference in Quality! Yes, they can SEE it..but their wallets DO THE TALKING!

      OLED WILL imo be the next technology which will match/better plasma quality- but as yet, the price of those few models available for sale in the US (in small limited numbers) are still in the VERY HIGH Price Band because of the still very high “reject rate” of screens coming off the production line at present-but improvements are expected in 2014 and that will ensure the price will drop accordingly. I’d wait 1-2 years minimally to allow the tech and 4k scene to get past the glitch period- and also for international broadcast stadnards and Blu-ray to finalise STANDARDS before leaping in..Remember! Resolution ALONE is NO SUBSTITUTE for Puity of Colour/Geometry, Brightness and (Native) Contrast levels-AND MOTION (rise times)/NO SMEARING/LAG.. a legacy which the Old TUBED TV sets which HAS YET TO BEATEN by any panel screen!!! .and for now…Your/our PLASMA SCREENS will still “look” better (SIGNIFICANTLY) IN THE DOMESTIC HOME THAN any 4k TV.. even if you have any native 4k content! My set was the first I ever had that I KEPT FOR MORE THAN 6-12 MONTHS OVER THE PAST 8-9 YEARS!! and still it makes me (and my girlfriend) WATCH in awe ON A DAILY BASIS No Matter WHAT content we throw at it- HD Broadcast/Std Def, HD-DVD/BLU-RAY, DVD (Upscaled).

      Michael “chipmonk007” from Camden in London, UK


      ADDITION . I went to a CINEMA for the first time since 1998/99 the other day in London (Odeon Panton Street, a small theatre/small screen- just off Leicester Square) to see Robert Redford in “All is Lost”- (not MY CHOICE!! I apparently slept thru half it!!) So this is DIGITAL HD projection- NO CELLULOID!! I SIMPLY COULD NOT believe the low quality, pixelation, colour looking waxy- it ACTUALLY LOOKED like a large home LCD model TV AND pictures LOOKED far BETTER on my plasma!!! The sound was “stupidly” over-loud- WORSE the centre channel/speech (on the commercials/pre film and the couple of words Redford actually speaks!- the speech was COMING FROM ABOVE US and NOT FIXED to the centre screen at ALL!! No Wonder I had begun NOT going to the cinema from 1999 and concentrating more on a Home Entertainment system- The DIGITAL picture was NOT anything like a real cinematic exprience that had kept us in love with film over the DECADES of the 20th Century.. and the flatness of colour and detail was evident! JUST LIKE an LCD TV screen-

  18. RollTide1017

    I have a 55″ 1080p TV and sit about 11′ away, no point in going 4K for my setup. The TV’s I’ve seen in stores look no different then the 1080p TVs sitting right next to them. Aren’t most digital cinema projectors in theaters today only 2K? They all look pretty good to me so, why do I need twice that resolution on my 55″ TV? I just don’t see the point in 4K.

    The industry finally convinced me to buy into 3D last summer, thanks to my old TV having problems, so I bought our first 3D BD player and TV. Now they are ready to dump that format and move to 4K. Not tricking me again, no way.

  19. hurin

    I will take OLED over UHD any day. When the prices come down 3 or 4 years from now. I’ll buy a 65 OLED screen and retire both my existing flatscreen and my projector as well.

  20. Robert Perschmann

    I have it and I love it. 4K TV makes every source better. 1080p blu-ray is incredible. You can’t imagine… until you are at home and comfortable You would not want to miss it… even if there were no full 4K sources. Those sources ARE here. They are beyond description. Yes I will buy 4K blu-rqy player. I have eased up on blu-ray for now. But some I can’t resist. I am also fully taken with Internet delivery. Direct TV and Comcast would be hard to give up. Though I am pretty sure that our final delivery system will be cable delivered Internet. Direct TV will not stay with individual sat dishes. Why?

  21. Drew


    You couldn’t be more wrong. As I stated before, I owned the highest performing 4K set of 2013, for most of last year. 4K doesn’t bring anything to the table, unless you are closer than 4′ to a 65″ set. In fact, I would add that the video processing built into 4K sets can make some 1080p sources look worse. I’m not alone in having that opinion. Look through professional reviews. It sounds like you are allowing placebo to affect your experience. There’s simply no way a 4K LCD that is 65″ or smaller is going to benefit anyone, in any way. If someone is buying a new television that is 65″ or smaller, there are multiple 1080p plasmas that will blow the very best 4K LCD away.

  22. Random Commenter

    I’m hesitant. Most modern movies are shot and edited in 2K, or even 1080p nowadays. Pacific Rim and the newest Thor, for example, are locked in at 2K. Most TV shows probably won’t be able to afford 4K production as well. Sony seems to be the only studio truly pushing 4K, but they’ll most likely all but abandon the format later on, just like they did with Blu-ray. The biggest thing though, is that I cringe at the thought of having to buy everything all over again. If anything, I’ll probably only buy 70mm stuff in UHD, since it will benefit the most from the extra pixels.

      • Josh Zyber

        “2k” is the Digital Cinema standard of 2048×1080 (1.89:1 aspect ratio). Movies are mastered for this standard during post production, and then either scaled down or (quite often) simply cropped to 1920×1080 for the home video master.

  23. Jeff Shultz

    This seems to be a question of how much improvement can 4K offer on the size screens (80″ and down) that 95% of use use? On a 55″ screen research indicates you would have to sit less than 4′ from the image to notice any improvement over 1080p. Repeat: you would have to be as close as 3′ from a 55″ screen image to notice any change (assumes 20/20 vision) How many eagles have the $ to revamp ALL their equipment to sit 3′ from a screen? (well maybe an eagle could sit 5′ from the screen) If you like older classic films, 4K offers such a minuscule improvement, it would be a total waste of money. If there is not a compelling improvement, 4K will never be mainstream. No mainstream=dead technology.

  24. Actually I had to pick the “closest” answer to this.

    I _HAVE_ decided on 4K but for now will continue with regular discs. I had to choose “Haven’t Decided but continuing to buy discs”

    I will buy a 4K setup as the display prices come down a bit and there are discs available. right now the prices are up a bit, the only content is streaming or Sony’s memory device.

  25. Freakyguy666

    4k is a waste of money. Although 4k video would appear much nicer on my 16×9 14′ screen, there just wont be any content that would truly take advantage of the higher resolution.

    Moreover, the true game changer will be 4k 3D without glasses. This technology was already on display at ces and it actually provides a true 2k image for each eye (3D) or 4k in 2D and was a sight to behold. It is going to be on shelves this year and the content is already widely available given pretty much all blurays are 1080p and you could watch them in 3D without glasses and no sacrifice in resolution…AND you could still have the option of watching 4k if you find the rare piece of 2D content that is natively created in 4k.

  26. Ross Gauthier

    Home theatre is my hobby. It’s really my only hobby. I really got into it when DVD came out. I never spent my money on top of the line equipment. I’ve gone through rear projections tv’s CRT’s, front projectors, 2 LCD’s and now have 2 Plasmas, 1 in my bedroom and a Panasonic 55st30 in my living room and couldn’t be more happier with my display. I’ve also gone through 3 receivers in the last 7 years, just upgraded from a Onkyo 609 to a Denon x3000. In short I’m done. I’m not willing to to start replacing my BD collection with 4K discs. To be honest I’m not blown away by the 4K displays I’ve seen. There is a reason why I switched from LCD to Plasma. If 4K truly becomes the next standard I’ll wait when they introduce new technology that surpasses plasma at a cheap price. $1500 for a 70 inch would work, but I won’t be replacing my discs. Just because company’s claim that 4K is the next big thing doesn’t make it so. For now I am totally happy with my setup and I’m sure I will be for the foreseeable future.

  27. George

    4K is the way forward, but until Televisions include 4K tuners and prices drop it will not become mainstreem. You can definitely tell the difference. I have a macbook pro with retina display, which is about 3.5K and it is a league of its own. Everytime I use a 1080p or lower resolution screen, I can see a HUGE difference. Those screens now even do my eyes in and look pixilated.

    • Drew

      George, I hate to tell you this, but the better picture quality of the retina display has very little to do with resolution, and everything to do with all of the other aspects of picture quality. The retina display offers a higher contrast ratio, better saturated and more accurate color, and superior black levels. That’s what you’re noticing. Not the higher resolution. Again, I had a 1080p Panasonic and a 4K Sony, side by side. It was literally impossible to discern more detail on the 4K set, until you were 4′ away, or closer. The 1080p Panasonic offered a vastly superior picture, regardless of distance/increased resolution.