New TV technology
OLED and ULTRA HD untangled
ULTRA HD and OLED TVs have ushered in a new age of television, promising gorgeous picture quality with both new technologies. But which one is going to suit you best? Here are the most defining characters of either screen to help you decide
The benefits of ULTRA HD
Stunning high resolution The crowning quality of an ULTRA HD TV is its eye-poppingly high-screen resolution. ULTRA HD packs in four times the resolution of current Full HD TVs and Blu-rays – that’s a staggering 3840 x 2160 pixels staring right back at you from your new ULTRA HD screen. And it looks incredible. The level of detail is unlike anything we’ve seen before on a flat screen TV, and as ULTRA HD becomes the new Full HD, we’ll soon be wondering how we ever lived with anything less than 4K resolution.
ULTRA HD Blu-rays How to store such high resolution content in a physical format was giving everyone a headache, but we finally have a solution: new triple-layered Blu-ray discs with 100GB of storage capacity. In comparison, the humble Blu-ray disc currently holds just 25GB of space. Sure, there are ‘Mastered in 4K’ films on Blu-ray already, but the prospect of physically owning a full film in native ULTRA HD on disc is giving us goosebumps.
Upscaling to ULTRA HD While we wait for those new Blu-rays to hit supermarket shelves, you can already enjoy ULTRA HD by upscaling standard- and high-definition content – broadcast channels, Blu-rays, DVDs, even YouTube streams – to match the ULTRA HD screen. The upscaling technology works wonders with its clever pixel-creating ways, and gives a tantalising taste of what native ULTRA HD content will look like on your new ULTRA HD TV.
Broadcast and streaming in ULTRA HD Want to watch live broadcast of the World Cup 2014 in glorious ULTRA HD? BBC and Sky have already trialled broadcasting sports in ULTRA HD with great success, while reports are coming in that popular Netflix will have ULTRA HD streaming ready to go in 2014. It will certainly work wonders with those ULTRA HD-filmed episodes of Breaking Bad.
Full HD 3D ULTRA HD might just spark a revival of interest in 3D, because you can finally experience passive 3D in Full HD. Current 3D viewing requires splitting the Full HD (1080p) resolution for each eye. With ULTRA HD, halving its resolution will give you Full HD 1080p in both eyes – which means more detail and deeper immersion with 3D films and games.
LG ULTRA HD TV 65in LA970W
The benefits of OLED
Blacker blacks, whiter whites OLED screens use pixels that create their own light, their own colour. So when a picture demands deeper, truer blacks, the pixels simply switch off and go black. With no backlighting to leak through, OLEDs can achieve even darker blacks than current plasmas – a stunning achievement. Coupled with the ability to produce cleaner, punchier whites, OLEDs have the best contrast levels we’ve ever seen on a TV. Night-time movie skylines look absolutely breathtaking.
Richer, more accurate colour LG’s OLED screens use an additional white pixel alongside the usual RGB sub-pixels. The result? Vivid colours that have more varied and accurate shades, and are better distributed across the screen. The WRGB sub-pixel construction also promises better viewing angles, and a longer life span for OLED screens.
Thinner screens As if flat screen TVs weren’t thin enough, OLED’s self-lighting pixels negate the need for any additional backlighting. This means you can get even slimmer, wafer-thin screens than before. Not only do they look sleek and stylish, they can also be moulded into new shapes. This brings us to…
Curved screens for total immersion That’s right, TVs have a new look. OLED’s thinner, flexible frame make it possible to produce curved screens, such as the LG EA980W. It’s not just a fashion statement – the curved screen promises full immersion by replicating the curved nature of IMAX cinema screens. Remember how it felt when you watched The Dark Knight in IMAX? That – but in your home.
Enjoy OLED content right now OLED screens are good ol’ Full HD 1080p resolution. This means you can start enjoying your high definition channels and Blu-ray films in full OLED glory the second you bring your new TV home. Immediate media consumption has never looked better.
To sum up: ULTRA HD has the highest resolution currently possible, while OLED’s deeper blacks and punchier whites can be enjoyed immediately with existing content. Some might be instantly smitten with OLED’s immersive and curvier screen, while others will patiently wait for the boost in pixels and detail given by an ULTRA HD TV.
Kashfia Kabir is a multimedia journalist on whathifi.com.
To find out more about the 55-inch curved OLED TV see here