Technically, 4K has been around since the early 2000s, when manufacturers began transforming cinemas with the introduction of 4K projectors.
But take up was slow to begin with and it’s taken even longer for 4K content to make its way from the big screen into our homes. For home cinema fans, this was undoubtedly a frustration, as the 4K content question hung over projector purchases.
Fast forward to 2017, however, and this question mark is a distant memory. Here’s why.
4K in the cinema
Cinema is the real power here. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are bringing 4K content into our homes now, but they couldn’t have done it without the massive film studios and cinema business making the first move.
This transformation in the now (quite rightly) celebrated world of 4K all began on the big screen. Sony was the big brand to push 4K cinema projectors and it remains the authority.
With the vast majority of UK cinemas now projecting digitally – rather than from physical reels – we’ve got used to seeing new releases in all their crisp glory. But there remains a huge backlog of some of the best films ever created that have never been shown in the clarity and detail they could now be screened in.
Vue Cinemas are among those making a move to change this. This year they’re running a whole season of re-released, remastered versions of classic films for 4K cinema screens, including The Graduate, Robocop and Taxi Driver on the big screen.
Although this may feel like no more than a logical step for the cinema industry, it marks another step towards normalising 4K content. Not only will cinemas work to create future material in 4K, they’re pushing to bring the old catalogue up the mark as well.
4K in the home
With cinema making the big push forward, the road was opened up for home entertainment companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime – both of which now offer 4K content for streaming.
Now Apple looks set to join the team. The tech giant tries to keep its big releases secret, but inevitably the odd thing will leak and developers including Guilherme Rambo have uncovered reverences to a brand new 4K Apple TV box.
If true (and it looks likely) this means Apple TV will be joining its rival devices – including Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast Ultra – in offering 4K-ready streaming options for people with 4K capable projectors and TVs.
It’s almost surprising it’s taken this long for video content to really get up to speed in the 4K arena. When you consider that 4K UHD is a resolution of 3,840 pixels × 2,160, or 8.3 megapixels, our smartphones are capable of taking pictures of this quality with ease and many of us hold iPad Pros in our hands day in and day out and think almost nothing of the fact that their resolution is up to these standards.
Projectors have been well ahead of the game here for a while thanks to their cinematic roots. However, the growing availability of 4K content and increased take-up of the technology has helped make 4K home cinema projectors that bit more accessible for fans.
The Optoma UHD550X, for example, delivers 4K resolution, a Rec.709 colour gamut and easy to use calibration systems for around £2,000, making it a great choice for cinema enthusiasts seeking high quality and ease of use with a lower price tag.
If you would like to find out more about 4K content and 4K home cinema projectors please contact us online today or call us on 0808 274 4790.