I often try and explain to people that I was playing games in beyond high definition resolutions, high definition being 1920X1080, long before it became a “thing.” It’s true, I did. Old computer games supported extremely high resolutions back in the 1990s, using CRT monitors, with the only difference being that there was no terminology back then, informing people that a higher resolution was special.
When I tell people I played games in beyond high definition in the 90s, they often look at me like I’m telling fibs, as if high definition only magically became possible when the official term was attached to the numbers. It is, after all, only when “high definition” became a buzz phrase that many became aware of resolution as a concept.
The point I’m trying to make is that resolution is often very misunderstood. Although it is true that more pixels equals more image clarity, always gunning for the highest possible resolution isn’t necessary, or even particularly beneficial. In the case of 4K, the new resolution buzz phrase, adopting it at this stage is all but entirely pointless.
4K Display Versus 4K Monitor
One of the main things I find that people misunderstand is that just because a television or computer monitor has a 4K native resolution, it doesn’t mean that every image displayed on that screen is going to be 4K. And, more to the point, because a monitor has a lower than 4K native resolution, it doesn’t mean that that screen cannot display in 4K.
The monitor I’m currently using is a native HD Dell, 24 inches, and is perfect for my purposes. I play online casino games on this monitor, as I’ve been doing for years, and have no problem seeing the various game images. If you changed the display of this monitor to 4K, the images would not essentially be clearer, given that they were created in HD and display in that resolution, but I would have a great deal of trouble reading the text. Why? Because this monitor is too small to display 4K effectively, and would shrink the images. The images cannot be transformed into 4K images, that’s just not how image quality works. When changing the resolution in a modern video game, the image is recreated in that resolution. An online casino game is a different kettle of fish; it can’t do that.
The numbers 1920X1080 refer to the pixels used per square inch. That’s 1920 across the top, and 1080 vertically. The numbers are not balanced because if they were, you’d need a perfectly square monitor to display the image. Modern displays are widescreen, hence the unbalanced pixel ratio. The trick is that if you increase the number of pixels being used, the tighter the image becomes, shrinking it down in the process.
In a nutshell; if the image being displayed is not designed to be seen in 4K, it doesn’t display very well in 4K. And virtually nothing is designed to be seen in 4K presently, except some modern video games, making it an extremely niche technology. At least for now.
Why Is 4K Needed?
To look at the situation another why, ask yourself why 4K is needed at all? You might find answers to that question to not be very forthcoming. The only instance I can think of at the moment is that you’re a video game enthusiast, which is fair enough.
Beyond that a 4K monitor will not improve any movies you watch, given that the movies will likely be HD, and so will not look better on a 4K display. The movies will simply display in HD, on the 4K display. Until movies adopt 4K as their native display, there will be no benefit. As far as I know, only a few YouTube videos support 4K presently.
So why else would you need a 4K display? Well, truth be told, I can’t see any reason that you would. I for one have literally zero interest in adopting 4K, and am myself a game enthusiast. I’m perfectly happy with slots in HD, thanks very much.
Technology Will Evolve
Given how long it took HD to be the industry standard, and how slow many were to adopt HD, I can’t help but think that 4K will not be considered standard for some time. For years, at the least. Many people I know have only just recently bothered to adopt HD, and are certainly not about to fork out huge sums of cash for 4K.
As with many types of technology these days, I feel like 4K is simply an industry method to keep people thinking that something better is just on the horizon, that needs to be purchased. At least, needs to be purchased if you want to be on the cutting edge, and keep up to date.
But frankly I personally think 4K is about as unnecessary as a new mobile phone model each year. Which is to say; not very necessary at all. At least for now. The industry will evolve and we can chat again then. If I have to eat my hat, I’ve always though a Fedora looked rather tasty!