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Is 2014 the year that 4K goes mainstream?

Posted on 6th Mar 2014 at 08:42 by Antony Leather with 67 comments

Antony Leather
We’ve been lucky enough to have a resident 4K monitor here at bit-tech for a while and I’ve written about the so-called Ultra HD experience elsewhere too. It is, for the most part, mightily impressive and not just in games either.

Anything that benefits from a higher pixel density is markedly improved, from viewing images and movies, to simple content creation. The sharpness on offer compared to current 30in 2,560 x 1,600 displays that boast some of the highest pixel densities is palpable, even staring at the desktop.

Of course most operating systems are still yet to catchup with the high-resolution revolution but especially for desktop computers the benefits still outweigh the downsides.

However, resolutions have otherwise stagnated, especially in the more mainstream 20in-24in market. 2,560 x 1,600 is still one of the highest resolutions you can buy on a standard monitor aside from the small selection of 4K displays available. 1,920 x 1,200 and 1,920 x 1,080 have been the customary resolutions for most of us and for some considerable time too.

With larger monitors, higher resolutions are the logical step forward – especially so with PC’s as opposed to TV screens as you sit much closer. However, having seen numerous laptops and MacBooks with pixel per inch counts approaching 300ppi (a 2,560 x 1,600 30in display only has 140ppi) I was staggered by how good they look too. The additional pixels on offer compared to your average 1080p 13.3in laptop screen were instantly noticeable in a similar way to the larger 4K desktop screen, despite the laptop screens themselves being so small.

Is 2014 the year that 4K goes mainstream? Is it just me that pines for higher resolutions on standard displays?
Dell's UP2414Q is one of the first 24in 4K displays and it will leave you with plenty of change from £1,000 too - Click to enlarge

Thankfully, we are seeing plenty of truth to rumours we heard at the end of last year that 4K screens would see a hefty price drop in 2014 and perhaps even more interestingly that 24in screens for the first time in nearly a decade were getting a significant pixel count increase. Dell’s UP2414Q is one of the first 24in 4K displays and offers a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution IPS panel.

Best of all, it costs less than £900 and is readily available, which for a decidedly premium first-out-of-the-traps product is actually very interesting given it’s only four times as much as Dell’s U2412M, which sports a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display. For me 27in is the limit I find comfortable for every day viewing, but if you’re prepared to let that slip a little to 28in then as we reported in January, Lenovo has an even better value offering in the form of its ThinkVision Pro2840m – a 28in 4K monitor for a price of just $799 – no UK price yet but it looks sure to be even cheaper than the £860 Dell UP2414Q.

Is 2014 the year that 4K goes mainstream? Is it just me that pines for higher resolutions on standard displays?
Asus' PQ321QE was the first 4K monitor to hit UK shores but at £3,000, it was hideously expensive - click to enlarge

It still seems strange that sub 27in PC monitors have been languishing in the 1080p area for so long, especially as many laptops have been getting significant boosts for over a year. It’s one area, that could be a real selling point too when monitors only have refresh rates and panel technology to otherwise shout about. I’d also say it’s worth boosting the resolution on smaller displays too – maybe not to 4K but somewhere in between. It’s possibly unlikely due to the way panels are mass manufactured but I for one would snap up a 24in monitor with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600.

In any event, even if the industry settles on strict 4K resolution boundaries, I for one will jump on one once they’re a bit cheaper and I’m guessing that the thought of 4K gaming, movie and photo viewing on something like a £500-600 24in monitor is pretty appealing to other people too. Maybe some time later this year or in 2015, 4K might break into mainstream PC gaming. Then we’ll all need more powerful graphics cards to cope with all the extra pixels of course. And so the upgrade cycle continues...

67 Comments

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Spreadie 6th March 2014, 09:00 Quote
I can appreciate the idea of a 30"+ 4K monitor but, surely, 4k on a 24" screen is only providing half the benefit. Games and movies will be gloriously pin sharp, but the icons and text will be so small many people will have to rescale the default sizes to use it comfortably, thereby largely negating the extra screen real estate 4K resolution affords.

Or am I wrong?
GeorgeK 6th March 2014, 09:00 Quote
I think it'll be a while yet - you're looking at a massive (£1000+) outlay if you want a 4K monitor and the GPU power required to game at that resolution with all the eye candy turned up - 780ti SLI wouldn't do that for BF4, Crysis 3 etc and you'd be looking at just shy of 2 grand for a monitor and two of those...
Bindibadgi 6th March 2014, 09:15 Quote
700 quid for 27-28 inches, George. TN for now, next year probably eIPS equivalent.
Pete J 6th March 2014, 09:16 Quote
4K is awesome.

However, games developers need to catch up on the texture resolution front. Mass Effect 3 with community hi res textures is sublime to behold on a 4K monitor.
Guinevere 6th March 2014, 09:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Or am I wrong?

Mostly...

On a Mac, HiDPI screens are handled extremely well. For example a 2880x1800 screen will provide an optimal working resolution of 1440x900, which uses a 2:1 ratio. Everything is pin sharp but text and icons are the same size as on a 1440x900 screen.

Different 'resolutions' can be used EG 1920x1200 but then you're breaking the magic 2:1 ratio so while images look sharper than they would do otherwise it's not perfect.

But you're always getting extra detail from those extra pixels. Even if icons and text are the same size and you have no extra working room you still get a much clearer display.

Is 4K needed at small sizes? No more than 'retina' displays are needed on mobile devices. You don't get any more icons on the screen but the screen looks so pretty :)
Bokonist 6th March 2014, 09:18 Quote
In accordance with Betteridges Law of Headlines:
No.
Spreadie 6th March 2014, 09:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
But you're always getting extra detail from those extra pixels. Even if icons and text are the same size and you have no extra working room you still get a much clearer display.

That's what I said - it'll look pretty but you don't get the benefit of extra desktop space that 4K can provide.
Guinevere 6th March 2014, 09:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
That's what I said - it'll look pretty but you don't get the benefit of extra desktop space that 4K can provide.

Yes, but 4K can either give extra desktop space on huge screens, or a crisper display at smaller screen sizes. Or a bit of both.

Having larger and smaller 4K screens is brilliant! We can finally choose the monitor that's right for us and the Popular OSs are good enough to allow us to select between crispness and/or screen real-estat, or to find the perfect balance.

It's not an either/or choice, it's how much of each do you want at this exact moment in time. You can switch easily and quickly these days. On my retina I will switch between 1440x900 & 1920x1200 resolutions depending on what I'm doing and when at the desk it's 1440x900 + 1200x1920 + 2560x1440

It's "You don't need that resolution at that screen size" thinking that allowed manufacturers to think a 1080p display was fine for a 27" computer monitor.
GeorgeK 6th March 2014, 09:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
700 quid for 27-28 inches, George. TN for now, next year probably eIPS equivalent.

My numbers included the necessary GPU upgrades to make games work / look pretty
matee 6th March 2014, 09:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
I think it'll be a while yet - you're looking at a massive (£1000+) outlay if you want a 4K monitor and the GPU power required to game at that resolution with all the eye candy turned up - 780ti SLI wouldn't do that for BF4, Crysis 3 etc and you'd be looking at just shy of 2 grand for a monitor and two of those...

My thoughts exactly. I would make a jump, but I'm sure my good old GTX680 will not handle it. there is no point upgrading the monitor and scale back on textures, AA or resolution.
Sure its different for graphic designers, but as a gamer I'm not making a jump just yet.
Maki role 6th March 2014, 09:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by matee
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
I think it'll be a while yet - you're looking at a massive (£1000+) outlay if you want a 4K monitor and the GPU power required to game at that resolution with all the eye candy turned up - 780ti SLI wouldn't do that for BF4, Crysis 3 etc and you'd be looking at just shy of 2 grand for a monitor and two of those...

My thoughts exactly. I would make a jump, but I'm sure my good old GTX680 will not handle it. there is no point upgrading the monitor and scale back on textures, AA or resolution.
Sure its different for graphic designers, but as a gamer I'm not making a jump just yet.

To be fair, upping the resolution so considerably would allow you to reduce the amount of AA being used in the first place. People don't often seem to take that into account when discussing the performance hit of 4K gaming.
GeorgeK 6th March 2014, 10:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
To be fair, upping the resolution so considerably would allow you to reduce the amount of AA being used in the first place. People don't often seem to take that into account when discussing the performance hit of 4K gaming.

True, although if you look here you can see that two 780TIs can only manage 40fps on BF4 on ultra even with 2xMSAA only... 4K is roughly 8.3 million pixels compared to less than half that (4.1 million pixels) with 2560x1600
Cei 6th March 2014, 10:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Mostly...

On a Mac, HiDPI screens are handled extremely well. For example a 2880x1800 screen will provide an optimal working resolution of 1440x900, which uses a 2:1 ratio. Everything is pin sharp but text and icons are the same size as on a 1440x900 screen.

Different 'resolutions' can be used EG 1920x1200 but then you're breaking the magic 2:1 ratio so while images look sharper than they would do otherwise it's not perfect.

But you're always getting extra detail from those extra pixels. Even if icons and text are the same size and you have no extra working room you still get a much clearer display.

Is 4K needed at small sizes? No more than 'retina' displays are needed on mobile devices. You don't get any more icons on the screen but the screen looks so pretty :)

Actually, there's another level with Apple's handling of HiDPI.

If you're running in "retina mode" (ie: looks like 1440x900), but start an enabled app, the screen starts doing funky things. Aperture is Apple's version of Lightroom (photo editing software), and it will run the UI at the 1440x900-alike scaling, but the actual images will be displayed at native panel resolution. So, for the UI where you don't want things teeny tiny you get everything readable, but for images where you want as close as to 1:1 pixel mapping as possible, you get the full 2880x1800 resolution. It's glorious, and they do the same for Final Cut Pro and other such software.

It makes Microsoft look like idiots. I don't understand how Windows' HiDPI handling is so bad - 4K hasn't exactly been a secret, and they've had plenty of time to sort it out, but they seem to have stuck their fingers in their ears.

I for one welcome our 4K overlords, but only when they stop the 30Hz nonsense in cheap panels and GPUs catch up. Sure you can drop AA, but you still need two high end cards at the moment to make headway. I'll go 4K in 2015/16 probably.
Combatus 6th March 2014, 10:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
That's what I said - it'll look pretty but you don't get the benefit of extra desktop space that 4K can provide.

Yes, but 4K can either give extra desktop space on huge screens, or a crisper display at smaller screen sizes. Or a bit of both.

Having larger and smaller 4K screens is brilliant! We can finally choose the monitor that's right for us and the Popular OSs are good enough to allow us to select between crispness and/or screen real-estat, or to find the perfect balance.

Precisely. I've got a 21in 1080p display in front of me now as a second monitor and it's much sharper than the 24in 1,920 x 1,200 Dell U2412M sitting next to it. For me it's not the extra desktop realestate - it's the extra sharpness that's the real boon.

However, it's good to see something other than game graphics driving forward the need for faster hardware - resolutions look set to increase significantly as these new screens come in to play so it will be interesting to see how AMD and Nvidia deal with it - after all, just because you have a few hundred pounds to spend on a monitor, doesn't mean you can also afford two GTX 780 Ti's :D
Anfield 6th March 2014, 10:41 Quote
4K monitors going mainstream in 2014? I fear they won't be mainstream until 2016.

Not only will they be much cheaper then, but also if we are lucky one gpu will be enough.
Dogbert666 6th March 2014, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
To be fair, upping the resolution so considerably would allow you to reduce the amount of AA being used in the first place. People don't often seem to take that into account when discussing the performance hit of 4K gaming.

This is true, even on our 31.5-inch 4K panel, it's almost impossible to notice a lack of AA (we test at 4K with AA disabled for this reason). On an even smaller screen I don't think you'd see it at all, and it certainly wouldn't make a big enough difference to warrant the performance hit. But it is also true that it will cost you *a lot* of money to get GPU hardware capable of running games maxed out at 4K.
Guinevere 6th March 2014, 10:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
It's glorious, and they do the same for Final Cut Pro and other such software.

Isn't that what I said? Lightroom was updated ages ago too. Can't remember the last time I saw an app that wasn't HiDPI aware.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
It makes Microsoft look like idiots

Apple still aren't there either with 4K panels, not with anything other than their latest and greatest machines... and only then with certain panels.

It's not always a hardware issue, if you're willing to jump through a lot of hoops you can get 4K nicely on OSX across a wider variety of hardware.

Everything will get better though.
Cei 6th March 2014, 11:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Isn't that what I said? Lightroom was updated ages ago too. Can't remember the last time I saw an app that wasn't HiDPI aware.

Nope, that's not what you said (I think?). You explained the 2:1 ratio, and that you can also select other resolutions, but not the mode that essentially runs both resolutions at the same time.

HiDPI aware for many apps simply means they have high resolution artwork, and can handle the 2:1 scaling without looking nasty. Adobe and Apple are amongst the few that have taken HiDPI and run with it to allow UI/font scaling at the same time as retaining the native panel resolution for imagery. But only on OS X.

http://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/hidpib.jpg
UI scaling example, when app is aware or not. But this is simply font scaling and images being updated with higher resolution versions suitable for pixel doubling.

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1323412
This thread on Adobe's forums shows the problem they're having with Windows. Microsoft just haven't got the core software in place - Adobe can't commit to a timescale for a fix, and "Microsoft is getting closer, but isn't there just yet".
Quote:
Apple still aren't there either with 4K panels, not with anything other than their latest and greatest machines... and only then with certain panels.

It's not always a hardware issue, if you're willing to jump through a lot of hoops you can get 4K nicely on OSX across a wider variety of hardware.

Everything will get better though.
Hardware is a different thing entirely. I'm expecting Apple to release a 4K update to their display, but when is another question entirely. However you can use any 4K screen on the market, so aren't just restricted to Apple.
jrs77 6th March 2014, 11:11 Quote
4k becomes mainstream, if the prices of these become mainstream. Simple as that.

Start selling 24"-screens with a 4k IPS-panel for ~€600 and we can start calling it mainstream.

GPUs to power these screens are not a problem, aslong as we don't talk about playing games @4k-resolutions.

Hell... even a €400 iPad has more pixels than a 1080p Display, so just start building such panels in larger sizes and quantities.
Xir 6th March 2014, 11:15 Quote
Well this was to be expected as 4k is now the next selling arguiment for tv's... even though even bluray offers no content.
Strange how all the quality-lovers suddenly like upscaling.

For the PC it's great though. We've been stuck at 1080 for affordable panels far too long.
wolfticket 6th March 2014, 11:16 Quote
It's a matter of time even if it isn't this year.

It's faintly ridiculous that high end phones are starting to use 5 inch-ish 1080 displays as standard when that is still pretty much the standard resolution for 24 inch-ish desktop displays and 32 inch+ TVs. Whether it's necessary or beneficial a jump in standard resolution for larger displays has been inevitable for some time now.

As much as they use marketing guff extensively, I did think Apple had a point when they used the term "retina" for their high resolution displays. The ultimate goal of a display should be to be of sufficient resolution that the pixels are effectively invisible to the human eye, not just inconspicuous. Depending on typical distance from the display 200-400ppi seems to be about what is necessary to achieve that goal, and non-4k displays still lag a long way behind that. If technically achievable and affordable a higher resolution would almost always be preferable up to that point.

It would be nice if they integrated some decent up-scaling technology into 4k monitors as a sort of stop gap until mainstream gaming hardware catches up. It would be good if you could game at a lower resolution with the monitor doing a bit of the work to up-scale the signal properly to 4k, without making it look like arse. Some TVs and AV amps do a decent job of it.
rollo 6th March 2014, 12:12 Quote
Whats classed as mainstream?

If they stay priced above £600 then no they will not go mainstream.

1080p did not really take off in tv till they were available dirt cheap. Most people could not afford to buy both a 4k screen and the required hardware to run it.

Crysis 3 would require most likely sli 780tis to get it going on the higher settings. ( Theres a £1000 ) Add in other hardware requirements and you could be easily talking £2k - £3k to build a pc capable of 4k resolution gaming.

And you would be replacing those 780 tis with the next highest performing cards as soon as they launched if you wanted to maintain those settings in newer games.

Once a Single GPU is capable of gaming at that resolution that is affordable like the current 760 is at 1080 you will see it take off in the pc gaming market.

Till that time it will be super niche for the uber rich or uber enthusaist.
sandys 6th March 2014, 12:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Well this was to be expected as 4k is now the next selling arguiment for tv's... even though even bluray offers no content.
Strange how all the quality-lovers suddenly like upscaling.

its all on the way, its early days but mastered in 4k discs are incoming and even the likes of Netflix are to be streaming 4k.

don't mind scaling so long as its good, in fact what ever 4k screen I buy has to prove it can do scaling as I have a number of sources that barely do 1080p (360,PS3, Ps4) these all have to work on the screen with minimal delay, if the 4k screens can't manage that they won't get bought.

I'm itching to buy, just don't know what to buy, but I want bigger personally. ~40 inch would suit, also want 3d capable.
saxovtsmike 6th March 2014, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Quote:
Originally Posted by matee
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
I think it'll be a while yet - you're looking at a massive (£1000+) outlay if you want a 4K monitor and the GPU power required to game at that resolution with all the eye candy turned up - 780ti SLI wouldn't do that for BF4, Crysis 3 etc and you'd be looking at just shy of 2 grand for a monitor and two of those...

My thoughts exactly. I would make a jump, but I'm sure my good old GTX680 will not handle it. there is no point upgrading the monitor and scale back on textures, AA or resolution.
Sure its different for graphic designers, but as a gamer I'm not making a jump just yet.

To be fair, upping the resolution so considerably would allow you to reduce the amount of AA being used in the first place. People don't often seem to take that into account when discussing the performance hit of 4K gaming.

Personal Situation : 27" Dell 2560x1440 resolution,
BF4 with AA off looks crappy, was crappy @ 1920*1200, will be crappy @4k
I´m soon to be in the situation that I can test 680sli (at the moment running a single 680)in BF4 but my guesses arent that optimistic that they will give me 60+ fps in ultra settings and 4xAA
That mentoned I´m only talkin about 3.7MP. I don´t want to ask about gaming in 4k resolution with 8MP.
My bet at the moment would be a 780ti sli, but thats 1.2k€ exclusive Waterblocks to run 1440p propper
dangerman1337 6th March 2014, 13:46 Quote
People are underestimating the computational power that 4K requires, heck Dual GTX 780Tis struggle to get 60FPS on recent titles let alone this year and the next. The only way 4K will get any recognition at this point will be when Nvidia's Volta and AMD's equivalent come out due to the bandwidth improvements with stacked DRAM or even the next architecture after that.
GeorgeK 6th March 2014, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxovtsmike
Personal Situation : 27" Dell 2560x1440 resolution,
BF4 with AA off looks crappy, was crappy @ 1920*1200, will be crappy @4k
I´m soon to be in the situation that I can test 680sli (at the moment running a single 680)in BF4 but my guesses arent that optimistic that they will give me 60+ fps in ultra settings and 4xAA
That mentoned I´m only talkin about 3.7MP. I don´t want to ask about gaming in 4k resolution with 8MP.
My bet at the moment would be a 780ti sli, but thats 1.2k€ exclusive Waterblocks to run 1440p propper

The driver / SLI profile is quite good for BF4 and you should be able to get that without too much hassle (source: I run SLI 680s)

;)
GeorgeStorm 6th March 2014, 13:54 Quote
I think it'll be quite a while before it's mainstream, but I would assume it will become far more popular this year certainly.
Malketh 6th March 2014, 14:00 Quote
Just to toss in my own two cents here, I'm running approximately 4K resolution with a trio of 24 inch Dells in SurroundVision and vertical config (3900x1920). Now I'm not running the latest and greatest games, but in my experience at that resolution you don't really need to turn on any sort of anti-aliasing, or if you do it's very minimal.

What I've found helps (and this is subjective mind you), is having a very large frame buffer, which my GTX 680 4GB provides, and I've had very enjoyable framerates along with the visuals at having a display that size.
erratum1 6th March 2014, 14:10 Quote
Nah it will be years yet I have some old custom pc's where the buzz word was HD it was a long time before 1080p or 720p become just the norm in peoples homes.

I'm not talking about gamers or tech heads but just your average joe.
DbD 6th March 2014, 14:25 Quote
Can't see it going mainstream yet, number of reasons:
1) Right now to get 4k they have to compromise everything else (refresh rate, blur, etc). That's not a trade off that's worth it. Most TV's out now can only accept a 30hz 4K input.
2) Normal TV's drive the screen production and they won't go 4K for ages as there's no content, and I bet most non-geek people would tell you they can't see the difference between 1920p and 4K anyway.
3) Hardware requirements for gamers are stupid so they won't be in a hurry to update - next step for most of them is 25*16, even that requires display port if you want > 60hz.
yodasarmpit 6th March 2014, 14:40 Quote
The home computer market has been evolving over the past few years, away from desktop style PC's to a mobile platform - be that tablets, laptops, even phones.

For 4K to become mainstream will rely on, I think, the TV market.
This I suspect will take some time, look at HD as an example. That took several years to be classed as mainstream.

For 4K to really take off it will rely on plentiful awesome Hi Def content, TV's at a more palatable pricepoint, and a noticeable difference from standard HD.

Both Sky and Virgin have been trialling 4k, but to roll out properly it will need massive investment, new camera's and new set top boxes.

Key will be content, and the price to consume.
GeorgeStorm 6th March 2014, 14:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
The home computer market has been evolving over the past few years, away from desktop style PC's to a mobile platform - be that tablets, laptops, even phones.

For 4K to become mainstream will rely on, I think, the TV market.
This I suspect will take some time, look at HD as an example. That took several years to be classed as mainstream.

For 4K to really take off it will rely on plentiful awesome Hi Def content, TV's at a more palatable pricepoint, and a noticeable difference from standard HD.

Both Sky and Virgin have been trialling 4k, but to roll out properly it will need massive investment, new camera's and new set top boxes.

Key will be content, and the price to consume.

+1

Also of course the fact that streaming 4k will either not be possible for most people or just have a really low bitrate so won't look much better than 1080p, at least in the UK I would assume.
rollo 6th March 2014, 16:16 Quote
720p on bbc iplayer requires a Internet connection faster than the average joe can aquire. 1080 streaming is even higher. Uk and USA do not have the best internet in the world.

Streaming 4k is going to need a lot of bandwidth that most do not have.

HD has only really became a big thing in the last few years now. 4k will take just as much work to get to mainstream.

Content and price will be a key factor for most.

4k for just pcs that don't game is already pretty afordable if you need the pixels. Dells screen is cheap enough for photo enthusiasts and movie editors alike.
Cei 6th March 2014, 16:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
720p on bbc iplayer requires a Internet connection faster than the average joe can aquire. 1080 streaming is even higher. Uk and USA do not have the best internet in the world.

Streaming 4k is going to need a lot of bandwidth that most do not have.

HD has only really became a big thing in the last few years now. 4k will take just as much work to get to mainstream.

Content and price will be a key factor for most.

4k for just pcs that don't game is already pretty afordable if you need the pixels. Dells screen is cheap enough for photo enthusiasts and movie editors alike.

Average Joe? Sorry, but really? I called BT and got a line that syncs at 76/16mbit without any effort, and manages to stream 1080p films from iTunes, BBC iPlayer's HD and YouTube 1080p without problem. Whilst I agree that 4K streaming isn't happening any time soon, we're finally at the point where you can generally obtain a connection capable of HD streams across a lot of the UK. Of course there are blackspots, but they're smaller than they used to be.

4K screens won't sell to gamers, at least not for a few years. As rollo says, it's going to be creative professionals/enthusiasts to start with.
SuicideNeil 6th March 2014, 17:55 Quote
~£1200 for a pair of 4K, 24" monitors, plus another ~£1200-1600 for a pair of GFX cards to drive them; you can take your 4K tech and stick it where the sun don't shine- I'm happy with my single GFX card & dual 24" 1080p monitors cheers...
play_boy_2000 6th March 2014, 18:57 Quote
My guess for true mainstream: nope, not this year, not next.

I can only ever see it being useful for photo/video editing and the like (with > 28" screens)

If I'm gaming, I generally generally want a smaller screen (22-24") to keep the entire screen in the sweet spot of my vision (racing or flight sim, I might go eyefinity).

If I need to get lots of work done, I've found my ideal setup to be a 24" 1080p with a 22" 1680x1050 monitor on each side.
megamale 6th March 2014, 19:07 Quote
I am not completely sold on 4K, at least not for gaming, or for the desktop. Till the Oculus Rift lands I don't think anything comes close to a triple monitor setup. Gaming is great (when it works), but productivity-wise I find it much more usable than the equivalent giant screen.

Of course, on giant TV (60" and over) 4K content looks jaw-dropping, and I am going to guess that standard definition will look even crappier than it looks today. Coupled with the fact that I can't see myself, nor the general public, embracing yet another physical format, we will need to leapfrog 2-3 generations of broadband speeds to make use of this.

So I don't quite buy the "going mainstream" in 2014. Unless, as with 3D, nearly all new TVs have it by default, like it or not.
SchizoFrog 6th March 2014, 21:26 Quote
Maybe this has been covered but it didn't seem so as I scanned the comments above but... what is the fuss about when there is no, or very little content in 4k? Admittedly some games on the PC can be cranked up to these settings but not many and the vast majority of games are not developed for the PC demographic with even the new consoles not running at true 1080p. Then there is the movie and TV industries, which have only just embraced 1080p so surely with larger 4k screens the content just gets scaled up and once again looks fuzzy the larger you get?
I can see the benefits from a professional aspect but as an entertainment device I fail to see the benefits... So please feel free to explain how and why content looks better on the higher res screens.
erratum1 7th March 2014, 03:22 Quote
I've watched iplayer hd on 320kbps (what speedtest said anyway) with no buffering, sure 4k streaming will happen but in a few more years.
play_boy_2000 7th March 2014, 03:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by erratum1
I've watched iplayer hd on 320kbps (what speedtest said anyway) with no buffering, sure 4k streaming will happen but in a few more years.

kb = kilo bits
KB = kilo bytes

Leave your geek card at the door.

In any event, 320KB/s is bottom bin for web quality pre-encoded 720P. Without going into too much detail, 4k would be in the multi MB/s range at web quality, which would saturate the average internet connection with a single stream. I doubt even H265 will change that.
G0UDG 7th March 2014, 07:58 Quote
I certainly won't be changing my monitor any time soon I'm very happy with the Dell U2410 I've not had any issues with it sweet as a nut as the saying goes the PC is mainly used for my radio logbook and the band scope for the radio as I don't game anymore
GeorgeStorm 7th March 2014, 09:41 Quote
Cei but there are lots of places that still don't have access to those kind of speeds.
yodasarmpit 7th March 2014, 10:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
Average Joe? Sorry, but really? I called BT and got a line that syncs at 76/16mbit without any effort, and manages to stream 1080p films from iTunes, BBC iPlayer's HD and YouTube 1080p without problem. Whilst I agree that 4K streaming isn't happening any time soon, we're finally at the point where you can generally obtain a connection capable of HD streams across a lot of the UK. Of course there are blackspots, but they're smaller than they used to be.

The city state of London and the rest of the UK are quite different.
Gareth Halfacree 7th March 2014, 11:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
The city state of London and the rest of the UK are quite different.
Bradford, West Yorkshire here: currently synced at 78.12Mbps down, 19.53Mbps up on BT Infinity Option 2 FTTC. I'm told by my friendly local OpenReach engineer that there'll be an upgrade some time this year to >100Mbps, too. Which'll be nice.
Cei 7th March 2014, 11:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
Cei but there are lots of places that still don't have access to those kind of speeds.
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
The city state of London and the rest of the UK are quite different.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Bradford, West Yorkshire here: currently synced at 78.12Mbps down, 19.53Mbps up on BT Infinity Option 2 FTTC. I'm told by my friendly local OpenReach engineer that there'll be an upgrade some time this year to >100Mbps, too. Which'll be nice.

Gareth takes home the point. High speed internet isn't just restricted to London - between BT Openreach and Virgin every major (and lots of minor) towns and cities have access to decent speeds. Okay, you may not get the headline speed, but you'll get 30+Mbps on the whole.

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/08/map-reveals-predicted-uk-superfast-broadband-coverage-for-2015.html
At the end of 2012 we were at 70% with 30Mbps or more. At that point we can safely say the large majority today can access high speeds.
rollo 7th March 2014, 11:59 Quote
Streaming is great if you

A: have the Internet connection capable of doing it not sure the average 16mb that most have at last check will cut it for 4k its bearly enough for 1080. ( iplayer is only 720p last I checked on most of there releases)
B: have unlimited internet, this is a big one as most do not have unlimited internet.
Gareth Halfacree 7th March 2014, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Streaming is great if you

A: have the Internet connection capable of doing it not sure the average 16mb that most have at last check will cut it for 4k its bearly enough for 1080.
16Mbps is plenty for 1080p. Using Netflix's own figures as a guide, 5Mbps will get you heavily-compressed 1080p, 7Mbps will get you less-compressed 1080p, and 12Mbps will get you 1080p 3D. Now, as you say, 4K is a different beast - but to say 16Mbps is "barely enough for 1080" simply ain't true.
rollo 7th March 2014, 12:58 Quote
Whatever we think, content has to arive to get the masses involved. The orginal DVD took 2-3 years to really get going where new releases where all released on DVD.

Blu ray was similar lots of big budget films but took a while for rest to catch up.

4k will have similar lead times.

4k on mainstream tv is years away, hd on sky is not exactly great 60-70 channels. That's bandwidth issues as it is according the sky.

Once 50-60 inch tvs hit £600-£800 then it will be truly mainstream for the 4k resolution buzz.

Its here already on pcs if you have the cash £1000 is cheap compared to pro grade screen costs which can be double or tripple that.

Just depends what you want it for.
the_kille4 7th March 2014, 13:40 Quote
Found this while surfing... from Carlton Bale where the article describes the distance required to see a difference depending on the resoltion of the screen
http://s3.carltonbale.com/resolution_chart.png

What I wrote is very subjective so...yeah.
If you guys are saying that we should be waiting for those "average joe's" to buy a 2160p screen where they can:
  1. Cheap Enough
  2. See a Difference in Resolutions
Therefore, if you follow from the above diagram, it would probably take some time, unless they down size their tv areas. For instance in my case, the living room has a 47" full HD TV and I'm supposed to sit around 2m away to get the full glory of the resolution. Although I do enjoy the TV from the recommended distance for TV shows and stuff like that. But if a similar sized (next size would be 55") 2160p screen was used that distance needs to be halved. Something that can be uncomfortable for "normal" TV viewing.

Because of that I believe that 2160p TVs becoming cheaper may take some time.

Now, although I'm pessimistic about it coming to a living room... I'm contemplating for my gaming rig. Currently looking at a 55/60 inch 2160p TV with HDMI 2.0 at the moment. Although I don't have the hardware to run because I have just recently downgraded my PC to a mITX spec rig, I'm tempted to upgrade so that I can run 2160p/60fps constantly. Right now the cheapest seems to be the ones that Sharp launched in CES 2014... 60 inch for 2500 USD which is cheaper than getting a 31 inch 2160p/60Hz monitor.
dancingbear84 7th March 2014, 14:03 Quote
I get a 4 meg connection from BT at home, i can't stream HD content properly, and from looking at the connecting Devon and Somserset roll out map, i am in a similar situation to at least 85% of the counties (by geographic area, not population density).

As for 4k, We were in richer sounds a few months back, and my wife, who doesn't understand HD at all, and claims that there is no difference between SD content and Blu Ray content on our TV turned round to me and said, "what is so special about that TV, why does the image look so much clearer than ours, is it because ours is plasma and that one is LED."
She was looking at the latest (at the time) Samsung 4K TV. If someone can see the difference without being prompted there is a big difference. The thing is though, as has been discussed, it will boil doiwn to price and content. There is a bit of a debate as to whether 3d has been a failure, as the uptake hasn't been as high as expected, in my opinion the reason for that is twofold, one the price of a 3d BR is around 20 quid at point of release, BR is 25, DVD is 10 (ish) a lot of people don't have the desire to move to BR, because they have DVD, and most players do a half decent job (for people like my Dad) of upscaling to HD.

My father in law won't buy BR as he sees no benefit over DVD. My Dad won't upgrade his 720p 40" TV as he doesn't subscribe to any HD content, and doesn't buy BR's or own a BR player.

Me I want 4k but can't afford it!
azazel1024 7th March 2014, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Well this was to be expected as 4k is now the next selling arguiment for tv's... even though even bluray offers no content.
Strange how all the quality-lovers suddenly like upscaling.

its all on the way, its early days but mastered in 4k discs are incoming and even the likes of Netflix are to be streaming 4k.

don't mind scaling so long as its good, in fact what ever 4k screen I buy has to prove it can do scaling as I have a number of sources that barely do 1080p (360,PS3, Ps4) these all have to work on the screen with minimal delay, if the 4k screens can't manage that they won't get bought.

I'm itching to buy, just don't know what to buy, but I want bigger personally. ~40 inch would suit, also want 3d capable.

Yup, the new Bluray standard for 4k was approved just a month or so ago and HDMI2.0 is incoming soon too. I'd be suprised if by early 2015 bluray players that are 4k capable with HDMI2.0 aren't out along with at least the first smattering of 4k Bluray content.

I for one will wait to buy the Hobbit Trilogy when it comes out on 4k extended edition to go with my future 4k capable 50" TV with HDMI2.0 on it. So...maybe by 2016?

For monitors, I'd dearly love a nice quality IPS 1440p display. Sure, if you want to toss me a cheap and super high quality 4k one, I won't bat an eye, but even just a modest step up from the 1080 I have now would be nice (more so, I need a high quality display that the low color reproduction TN 23" I have now).
StaticFX 7th March 2014, 15:48 Quote
4K will take years to be main stream.. just like HD.. it will be the price that determines it.

a 50-55" tv is like $2500 (usd) when that price is in the $600-800 range.. it will explode.
azazel1024 7th March 2014, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Streaming is great if you

A: have the Internet connection capable of doing it not sure the average 16mb that most have at last check will cut it for 4k its bearly enough for 1080.
16Mbps is plenty for 1080p. Using Netflix's own figures as a guide, 5Mbps will get you heavily-compressed 1080p, 7Mbps will get you less-compressed 1080p, and 12Mbps will get you 1080p 3D. Now, as you say, 4K is a different beast - but to say 16Mbps is "barely enough for 1080" simply ain't true.

Very true. With my transcodes, my typical 720p tips the scales at 3Mbps and my typical 1080p rips tip the scale at 6-9Mbps (I don't have too many 1080p rips, so an average bit rate it harder to come by). Of course that is average, I do constant quality and not a set bit rate, so looking at PEAK bit rates, in heavy action sequences I see bit rates going over 14Mbps on those 1080p rips in some cases.

Granted, I am using pretty much every high profile feature on the planet to compress size, but preserve quality, which probably IS NOT being done by netflix.

But, two things to keep in mind for the future of 4k streaming. First off, there will probably be a lot of 2k streaming with upscaling going on. Second, doubling the pixel count doesn't necessarily lead to a doubling in bit rate required as you can general notch up compression just a tiny bit higher as the pixel count goes up and retain psychovisual quality (IE it still looks really nice/better). Also HIVEC/H.265 is coming, which in theory will allow a doubling of quality or a halving of bit rate with the same quality.

So a 4k H.265 stream that is modederately compressed might well be able to be done at 11Mbps and a high quality one might be able to do 14-16Mbps with super uber max quality done at 20Mbps.

So a lot of people's "high speed" connections now, even not very good ones can do Netflix compressed 1080p with its 6Mbps requirements. 4k will present problems for a lot of people, but 2k with upscaling can be done with H.265 at roughly the same bit rate that H.264 and 1080p requires now, or better yet for a lot of folks, 1080p with h.265 to reduce bandwidth requirements further and get more people 1080p at good quality on slower connections and/or hogging less of the internet pipes.

I am not looking forward to transcoding 4k though...sigh. I do 95% of my stuff at 720p right now, just because I don't tend to notice a huge difference with my 42" 1080p TV between good quality 720p rips and good quality 1080p rips...but with a planned 50-55" 4k purchase in a bit (Vizio is coming out with very affordable 4k TVs by the end of the year)...1080p rips will probably become my new standard, with the occasional 2k or 4k rips once 4k Bluray media becomes available.

At least the good news there is that not a lot of stuff will be able to be done in 2k/4k. 35mm motion picture film doesn't have the resolution to support more than 1080p. So its really mostly just stuff shot in maybe the last 3-5 years on higher quality digital cine stuff that might be able to be pressed on 2k/4k Blurays (it might not stop someone from re-releasing, say, Die Hard on 4k...but I'd never consider buying it). So that cuts down on the stuff I'd really want/would be able to rip at higher than 1080p resolution.

So...I am really not looking forward to my rips jumping on average by 2x (since I'd probably move to mostly 1080p rips with an occasional higher resolution for a 4k Bluray disk). I just use my blurays on the occasional time when I really care the utmost about quality or I think I might watch some extras. Otherwise just sooooo much faster and more convenient to queue up a movie through my Apple TV or on my tablet or something in 20s instead of being forced to wade through several minutes of my bluray player starting up, FBI warning screens, forced previews, navigating the menu, etc. If the default could just be you pop the movie in and it starts, with you needing to hit the menu button to get the menu, no previews, no warnings, etc, I'd probably rarely rips stuff (okay, a lie, I'd still rip it so I could watch movies on the go on my phone or tablet, but I probably wouldn't use the rips for TV viewing).
timmehtimmeh 7th March 2014, 16:59 Quote
What I want to know is how can we get hold of those 4k Visio 50" sets that are apparently going for$999 in the US.

I'd be up for purchasing a £700 50" set to view at 1m distance as a monitor.
Star*Dagger 9th March 2014, 00:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
Cei but there are lots of places that still don't have access to those kind of speeds.
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
The city state of London and the rest of the UK are quite different.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Bradford, West Yorkshire here: currently synced at 78.12Mbps down, 19.53Mbps up on BT Infinity Option 2 FTTC. I'm told by my friendly local OpenReach engineer that there'll be an upgrade some time this year to >100Mbps, too. Which'll be nice.

Gareth takes home the point. High speed internet isn't just restricted to London - between BT Openreach and Virgin every major (and lots of minor) towns and cities have access to decent speeds. Okay, you may not get the headline speed, but you'll get 30+Mbps on the whole.

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/08/map-reveals-predicted-uk-superfast-broadband-coverage-for-2015.html
At the end of 2012 we were at 70% with 30Mbps or more. At that point we can safely say the large majority today can access high speeds.

On a bloody island that is 25 miles long and 13 wide, bandwidth should not be a problem!
dyzophoria 9th March 2014, 02:03 Quote
I doubt it will, unless you have single-card GPU's that can drive moderate graphics settings on 4k, that does not suck electricity like crazy, maybe..
Guinevere 9th March 2014, 23:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel1024
35mm motion picture film doesn't have the resolution to support more than 1080p.

Really?

So 35mm film won't resolve more detail than 2 mega pixels? I think you'll find a lot of photography experts disagree with you on that one.

Yes, a lot of 35mm footage isn't that great, and a lot of it will be grainy due to the film stock used but a lot of 'classic' movies have crisp daylight shots and grainier low light footage.

I'm not saying that 4k is essential, only that I disagree with a blanket statement that 35mm movies can never contain any more detail than 1080p
Guinevere 9th March 2014, 23:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
The city state of London and the rest of the UK are quite different.

Yeah, I'm in a village in the middle of nowhere and my I'm only getting 66Mbps down and 11Mbps up.

There may well be gaps in infinity's coverage but the bits between the gaps still cover a LOT of people.
Acanuck 10th March 2014, 16:52 Quote
I would argue that the jump from a 60Hz to a 120Hz+ panel is a far more noticeable experience than just higher pixel density.

Where is my 30" 120Hz 2560x1600 IPS panel?

For me, that's where the gap in the market is. If decent high refresh IPS panels hit the shelves, I'd buy one any day over a screen that just packs more pixels in.
rayson 10th March 2014, 17:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_kille4
Found this while surfing... from Carlton Bale where the article describes the distance required to see a difference depending on the resoltion of the screen
http://s3.carltonbale.com/resolution_chart.png

What I wrote is very subjective so...yeah.
If you guys are saying that we should be waiting for those "average joe's" to buy a 2160p screen where they can:
  1. Cheap Enough
  2. See a Difference in Resolutions
Therefore, if you follow from the above diagram, it would probably take some time, unless they down size their tv areas. For instance in my case, the living room has a 47" full HD TV and I'm supposed to sit around 2m away to get the full glory of the resolution. Although I do enjoy the TV from the recommended distance for TV shows and stuff like that. But if a similar sized (next size would be 55") 2160p screen was used that distance needs to be halved. Something that can be uncomfortable for "normal" TV viewing.

Because of that I believe that 2160p TVs becoming cheaper may take some time.

Now, although I'm pessimistic about it coming to a living room... I'm contemplating for my gaming rig. Currently looking at a 55/60 inch 2160p TV with HDMI 2.0 at the moment. Although I don't have the hardware to run because I have just recently downgraded my PC to a mITX spec rig, I'm tempted to upgrade so that I can run 2160p/60fps constantly. Right now the cheapest seems to be the ones that Sharp launched in CES 2014... 60 inch for 2500 USD which is cheaper than getting a 31 inch 2160p/60Hz monitor.

the chart says 3 feet to notice difference between 40 inch 1080p and 4k wow that is going to be painful to the eye
DraigUK 11th March 2014, 17:22 Quote
Until you can pick up a 4k monitor plus a suitable graphics card to run it properly for less than £600 this won't go mainstream. £400 for the monitor and £200 for the card and it will.
Fizzban 12th March 2014, 07:36 Quote
No 2014 is not the year 4K goes mainstream. It could well be the year that well-off enthusiasts dive in though.
Tyinsar 17th March 2014, 04:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonist
In accordance with Betteridges Law of Headlines:
No.
Nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
To be fair, upping the resolution so considerably would allow you to reduce the amount of AA being used in the first place. People don't often seem to take that into account when discussing the performance hit of 4K gaming.
Indeed. Isn't the whole point of AA to make up for less than "retina" resolution?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
Actually, there's another level with Apple's handling of HiDPI.

If you're running in "retina mode" (ie: looks like 1440x900), but start an enabled app, the screen starts doing funky things. Aperture is Apple's version of Lightroom (photo editing software), and it will run the UI at the 1440x900-alike scaling, but the actual images will be displayed at native panel resolution. So, for the UI where you don't want things teeny tiny you get everything readable, but for images where you want as close as to 1:1 pixel mapping as possible, you get the full 2880x1800 resolution. It's glorious, and they do the same for Final Cut Pro and other such software.

...
Nice move Apple.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
...
Apple still aren't there either with 4K panels, not with anything other than their latest and greatest machines... and only then with certain panels.

...
And there's those stupid garden walls again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Maybe this has been covered but it didn't seem so as I scanned the comments above but... what is the fuss about when there is no, or very little content in 4k? ...
For me the answer isn't in games or movies but in images and text. I deal with a lot of blueprints, many of which come on 11"x17" pages. If I display them on a standard 22" monitor I can't read the fine print unless I zoom in. If I print them to paper (600 DPI) that text is clear at the same viewing distance and size. Current standard monitors simply lack the resolution to be clear at the same size.

What I think may drive the adoption for computers is not games, TV, movies ... but people getting used to viewing pictures and text on higher DPI tablets (and phones) then asking: "but why does it look so bad on my much larger monitor? Is there a fix for that?" Of coarse it then falls on Microsoft and Apple to make it work better all on PCs.
ch424 17th March 2014, 07:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
What I think may drive the adoption for computers is not games, TV, movies ... but people getting used to viewing pictures and text on higher DPI tablets (and phones) then asking: "but why does it look so bad on my much larger monitor? Is there a fix for that?" Of coarse it then falls on Microsoft and Apple to make it work better all on PCs.

+1 on this!
true_gamer 17th March 2014, 11:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK
Until you can pick up a 4k monitor plus a suitable graphics card to run it properly for less than £600 this won't go mainstream. £400 for the monitor and £200 for the card and it will.

Well they don't get any cheaper than this at the mo. 50" 4K TV that also runs 1080p at 120Hz for $550!

Clicky
Tyinsar 21st March 2014, 03:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by true_gamer
Well they don't get any cheaper than this at the mo. 50" 4K TV that also runs 1080p at 120Hz for $550!

Clicky
Hmm... My jumbotron (shown in my avatar) is almost obsolete. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad. I've really enjoyed it and am not at all sorry that I built it. Thanks for the link - though it shows a much higher price ($850).
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