While the residential market’s been buzzing about 4K for a long time, more pragmatic commercial customers are less eager to embrace 4K without a solid ROI argument. Part of the problem is the price, at least compared to non-ultra-high-definition alternatives. But a recent webinar from Brawn Consulting set out to solve this disparity and help integrators and their customers understand what they’re dealing with when it comes to 4K.
Johnathon Brawn says 4K is already on the radar of potential customers – but some of them don’t even know it yet.
“People are starting to understand that they want that smooth image. I think we are going to have more demand in meeting rooms for 4K images as the years progress.”
He didn’t stop there. Brawn even predicts that, within the next couple of years, 8K and even 16K products will have a place in the market.
But before anyone starts purchasing monolithic 16K displays, they’ll have to come up with a decent way to understand what exactly they will get for their investment in HDR.
Understanding 4K: What You Can Actually Differentiate
As Brawn explained, the human eye only has about 2 degrees of visual clarity when looking straight ahead at something; as opposed to 124 degrees of “blurrier” peripheral vision.
This means that a Full HD 1920×1080 will show signs of pixels close-up than a higher-pixel-density, 4K image will. The same pixel resolution will be sharper on smaller screen and lose sharpness on larger screen.
Only a certain kind of customer would benefit from being shown this chart. So Brawn compared it to something almost everyone has these days: a smartphone.
“This is a very subtle concept, and I think when I speak to end users, I relate it to their cell phone – people love that smooth, buttery image on mobile devices and you can easily compare a phone’s 1080p vs. native 4K or quad hp – You’re basically saying, ‘look, I know a 1080p projector is less expensive, but …’”
Not All 4K is Created Equal
So you’ve been sold on 4K. Don’t let expectations fall flat – because there’s more than one kind of 4K, and not all of them produce the same result.
There’s native 4K and upscaling 4K – and the key difference is that, with upscaling, the original source material is not 4K (usually, it’s a stretched 1080p source).
Not everyone requires “true,” native 4K projectors. If the idea is to be upfront , you’ll need a method of determining what specific projector or display is right for the job.
While that can be a monumental task filled with acronyms that even the most experienced integrators have trouble keeping up with, there is a (relatively) simple formula for measuring which solution has the right image clarity.
Pixel Density – It Matters More Than Size
First, make sure your client knows the range of distance from which end users will view the media – that will always be key in deciding between pixel-packed displays.
Use the following formula to figure out the pixel density of a given display. This will help you determine how dense the pixels will really seem once the solution is installed. The higher the pixel density number, the smoother an image will appear.
You may be wooed by the idea of a buttery-smooth image at every distance; but for many projects, it might not be necessary. If end users view the media from a few feet away, a Quad HD-level display may be optimal.
The Future of 4K: Upping the Numbers
Brawn says that, at some point, all of this will be moot. Manufacturers for both the residential and commercial markets will create pixels so small, all displays will resemble the smooth image found on quality smartphones.
But by no means does Brawn believe that manufacturers should cut back on ingenuity.
“The industry should concentrate on color processing and HDR,” he says. “Resolution alone is not enough.”
This article was originally posted on TechDecisions sister site Commercial Integrator.