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4K TV technology
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TV & streaming

Are 4K TVs actually better? 3 things you need to know before you buy

We all want a bigger TV, a sharper picture and better resolution. Tap or click for four settings you need to change for better picture quality. If you can enhance your home theater experience, then why not do it? But are 4K TVs the answer, or are they ahead of their time?

There’s a lot of power in a 4K television. According to Samsung, 4K TVs can even upscale images to make older movies and television shows appear sharper and newer. So let’s talk about 4K TVs and whether or not it’s worth the investment.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. 4K content is in low quantity

Even in 2022, you don’t have a wide variety of 4K content available. While platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ film newer content with 4K capability, not all content is filmed that way.

Because there isn’t much 4K content available, upscaling is primarily how you’ll enjoy content on your 4K TV. Unfortunately, upscaling isn’t a perfect technology. So some movies may look a bit off as a result.

4K has a lot of data requirements that can’t be met right now, which is why 1080p televisions and screens will continue to be dominant for quite some time.

2. 4K requires a lot of data transfer for streaming

Do you know what your internet speed is? It can fluctuate depending on the time of day. Typically, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. are busy times across the U.S. This can result in lower internet speed due to bandwidth restrictions. Everyone’s online, so there’s a “data surge” on the network.

Unless you can maintain good internet speeds during data surges, you might not even be able to stream 4K content to your TV. You need anywhere from 15 Mbps to 25 Mbps download speeds to stream 4K content.

Some areas in the U.S. still have extremely low-speed internet packages. Unless you can maintain quality internet speeds, a 4K television might be a waste of money unless you only watch 4K DVDs or downloaded content.

3. 4K makes text and small objects easier to see

With 4K technology, you have many more pixels across your screen. Text no longer appears blurry. Small objects have better definition because there are physically more pixels that can clarify the image.

Additionally, 4K TVs have their own software (depending on the manufacturer) that helps with image clarity. Most manufacturers understand how much lighting affects the picture, so local dimming zones and backlighting power (nits) are much better on 4K TVs than standard FHD TVs.

So is a 4K TV suitable for you?

4K content is becoming more widely available, but it’s still far from becoming the new norm and replacing 1080p. But as long as you have the right internet speed to use 4K technology, there’s no reason to avoid 4K TVs.

That said, it’s not worth paying extra until more 4K content is available. The good news is that 4K TVs are becoming more reasonably priced. In fact, you can buy some 4K TVs at nearly the same price you’d find on lesser-quality sets.

Here are two recommendations for top-tier 4K TVs we love.

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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