This week I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a whole new home theatre system, consisting of a new OLED 4K TV, new A/V receiver, and speakers. Beyond the price, I decided it was a bad idea mainly because of the TV.
I think it’s lost on some people that when they buy a 4K TV, which is becoming the most common TV resolution, it’s native resolution is 4K, meaning that everything shown on the TV will have that many pixels of resolution no matter what input source you give it. All your old 1080p inputs, like over the air TV signals, your old Blu-ray movies, regular Netflix account (more on this later) and so forth will need to be upscaled to 4K. It won’t look terrible, certainly not like when your parents use their 1080p TV with 480i content, but it won’t be true 4K content either, which won’t show off the true potential of your TV. So what’s the purpose of buying a new TV?
To really make your purchase worthwhile, you’ll need to start consuming 4K content. The easiest way to do this is streaming it. It maybe easy but it’ll cost you. Netflix in 4K costs more than a regular HD account. Not all streaming services offer 4K. Even if you do find a streaming service that supports 4K, you need to have an Internet connection that’s fast enough to support 4K streaming. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay more money. Also, keep in mind 4K streaming eats up massive amounts of data, so those with data caps might wind up paying more money.
You could also just play 4K Blu-ray discs but in my case, my PS4 Pro does not have 4K Blu-ray player, it only does plain old 1080p discs. So, I would have to buy a new BD player, plus new 4K discs, which are usually more expensive than regular Blu-ray discs.
Lastly, while my PS4 Pro supports 4K resolution for games, running in games in 4K usually means taking a framerate hit or some other optimization in order to hit the 4K resolution. It’s possible that while the game might look sharper, it may not run as smooth.
As sad as this might seem, I feel like 1080p right now is good enough for me while it gets easier to consume 4K content. I feel like an old man for saying this as I saw plenty of old people cling to their massive CRTs TVs while the world moved into the HD era. They didn’t see the need to change what they enjoyed watching. I wonder if I’m now those old people.