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October 21, 2012

Naming News: 4K video is now Ultra HD (UHD) [does this offer an opportunity for photography?]

4K video may be a more technically accurate name for video that has around 4,000 pixels in the horizontal dimension, but it's not sexy enough for big electronics store showrooms and flashy TV ads. So the Consumer Electronics Association decided to give it a more sexy name, Ultra HD or UHD for short. Imagine the salespersons encouraging the buyers, "HD is okay, but if you really want to enjoy TV, you gotta get Ultra HD!" versus "HD is okay, but you really gotta get 4K". The mythical average consumer is much more likely to respond positively to "Ultra HD" even if they don't know what it means, but the mention of 4K is more likely to cause a *_* reaction.

Sony, not wanting to be lumped with all the other companies, decided to go with the "4K UHD" name, blending the two.

For the math interested out there, the minimum resolution for an Ultra HD blessing is a doubling of each dimension of today's 1080p/1080i video (1920 x 1080). This gives us a minimum of 3840 x 2160.

Finding commercial video content to watch on 4K TVs, well that's another story for now. This perhaps may offer some more opportunities for stills photography to get a bigger part of the spotlight during the early days of 4K Ultra HD televisions?

I am guessing a handful of crafty photographers out there may start thinking about marketing their pictures as Ultra HD. Slide-slow TV apps showing beautiful 4K pictures may not be a bad idea for a general audience? Or how about special event 4K slide show pictures like weddings, graduations, etc, for the family to use as a screensaver on their new 4K TV and watch them on an infinite loop?

For the non-digital generation, perhaps UHD may generate some UHF giggles, but I'm sure that's probably not going to be a big deal in the grand scheme of Ultra HD things. For the digital generation, lost in terabytes and gigabytes, putting "4K" in a product title makes it feel (at a gut level, Colbert-style) really really small [even though it's an apples and oranges comparison].

Press release parade at Engadget and dpreview and CNet and Electronista and /Gear et al.


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