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What is 4K?

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What is 4K?


4K is an up-and-coming video technology that promises a better quality picture when you’re watching movies or TV shows. But how does 4K work, and what does it mean for you? Hit play on the video above to find out.

The term “4K” refers to the resolution of an electronic display. A “display” could be the screen on your TV, your iPad or your laptop, and “resolution” means how many pixels there are in that display.

Pixels are the dots that make up on-screen images, and the more pixels there are, the sharper and more realistic images look. When we can see individual pixels, images look blocky and less lifelike, so we usually prefer displays with a higher resolution, and 4K is a very high resolution indeed. That’s why it’s sometimes known as “Ultra High Definition”.

In terms of tech products you can buy like TVs, 4K normally refers to a resolution that has 3,840 pixels along the horizontal line of the display, and 2,160 pixels vertically.

The name 4K comes from the fact that there are roughly four thousand pixels on the horizontal side, which gives 4K four times as high a resolution as 1080p, which is what we normally mean today when we describe a screen as “Full HD”.

For more on 4K, including why a higher resolution doesn’t necessarily mean a better viewing experience, hit play on the video above, and keep it CNET for all your tech needs.

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