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The issue with UltraHD and HDMI

20130908-133516.jpgSo now we have ultra high resolution TV sets
available, though HDMI seems not to be ready for
handling such high resolutions without compromises.
We speak of HDMI 1.4 and the upcoming HDMI 2.0.

So what are we exactly talking of? The resolution of 3840×2160 demand high bandwidth. HDMI 1.4 supports 10.8Gbps maximum allowing a FHD resolution (1920×1080) to be sent with 60 progressive pictures at a full color scanning of 4:4:4.

Now we have to imagine that QFHD demands 4 times the bandwidth. Since HDMI 2.0 is capable of handling 18.0 Gbps per second, the trick to send/receive at least a 30p signal using this high resolution is to reduce the color scanning down to 4:2:2 or even 4:2:0. But now there’s the problem none of the actual TV sets have a HDMI 2.0 chip built-in nor is clear if there are other tricks used to provide a full QFHD picture without any great losses.

The fact that no next-gen console is currently able to handle QFHD nor equipped with a HDMI 2.0 chip, makes this less of an issue and let the consoles operate properly with current 4K TV sets though the full resolution is not yet used or, at best, upscaled.

And what about TV stations? Some are planning to send 4K signals using the reduced color scanning 4:2:2 and 24p or 30i, some others indeed plan to send 4K using 30p signals and 4:2:0 signals. Yet these plans are for the next 3 to 5 years. Enough time to release HDMI 2.0 and even updates.
And the public broadcast stations? To date none of them intend to plan to send in QFHD and most of them even don’t send in FHD yet. A handfull of private TV stations already send in FHD which makes it an eyecandy to watch. Let alone Discovery Channel with it’s sub-channels, all are sent in FHD in switzerland via cablecom.

So what can we do now. Is it the right time to buy a 4K TV set now? This question, because some manufacturers offer 55 inch tv sets at a fairly reasonable price of below 4’000 US$.

As it isn’t known yet what HDMI standard is used in the current TV sets, and there are hardly any playback sources supporting 4K, the money isn’t spent well since there are lots of isues to be solved first. The one is the fact that HDMI IS receiving an update in the near future but current devices won’t benefit of it so far. The only thing would be a hardware upgrade. As I am one of those guys who invest money in a long-term basis, 4K is for sure no option to me yet though the idea of hooking a high-end computer to the 4K display and enjoying my favourite games in this resolution would for sure give a valuable reason.

Okay, enough babbling about the technical issues about bandwidth and color scanning and refresh rate and all the stuff. Another problem could come from Hollywood. As they insist of a proper copy protection and HDCP 1.2 is already hacked and no longer protective, they will for sure not release 4K material until this criteria is met (again)! This is also a reason why not to buy a 4K tv set at the moment since it isn’t clear if the current built-in HDCP standard is 1.2 or higher but I personally doubt that they use HDCP 2.0 already. As this hardware component cannot be simply software.upgraded, even here a hardware upgrade would be necessary in order to get the money-gobblers in Hollywood happy again and releasing 4K material to the public. At the moment only cinemas are receiving 4K material on encrypted drives to use with specialized 4K beamers.

Final conclusion: As long as there are no graphics cards yet using HDMI 2.0 and the TV sets not being equipped, with HDMI 2.0 also, 4K is not yet an option even for computer enthusiasts.
Until all problems are extinct, the price for 4K TV sets may have dropped and probably first 4K sources have become available.

So give this puppy another 2 to 3 years to become adult and then let’s talk again about 4K, QFHD, 60p and all the stuff.

Have a nice sunday!


September 8, 2013 Netspark - 1593 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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