We live in the most exciting time in human history for home entertainment. Today, our TVs are better than ever, offering an experience light years beyond anything that the earliest TV pioneers could ever have hoped for.
We’re not just talking about high definition (HD) TV anymore. Today’s movies and shows are being shot in stunning 4K, providing the clarity, contrast, and color that you would only ever have gotten with your own two eyes in the “real world.”
On top of that, many television and movies shot in years gone by were shot on an analog film capable of being reproduced in stunning 4K, too. This has opened up a world of ultrahigh definition content – and things are just getting started!
But what if your television isn’t set up for 4K? What if you are still running a 1080p HDTV and never get the chance to see what all the fuss about 4K is like yourself? How do I know if my TV is 4K, even? Find out the answers to that – and more – below!
How Do I Know If My TV is 4K?
Truth be told, it’s a whole lot easier than most people realize to figure out if their TV is 4K compatible or not.
For starters, the overwhelming majority of televisions made today – including budget options from lower-tier manufacturers – come right out of the box, ready and capable of producing 4K resolutions.
Yes, you read that right.
Today’s budget flatscreen TVs are not only bigger than they ever were in the past (we are talking 50 inches and above), but they also offer 4K HD pictures as standard and will not break your bank account.
The odds are pretty good that if you’ve purchased a TV in the last three or four years, it is 4K compatible straight out of the gate.
To be sure, though, you can use some other methods to determine whether or not your TV is 4K compatible.
Check the Box
An effortless way to confirm 4K status is to check the box your television came in!
4K HD picture quality is still a major selling point for televisions these days, and the chances are pretty good that if your TV is 4K ready, it’s going to be printed pretty prominently on the box and packaging.
Most of the time (not always, but most of the time), you’ll see 4K splashed somewhere on the box – or at least a couple of places on the box – near the make and model of the TV itself.
If this is a 4K TV, you will know it from the packaging alone!
Check the Resolution Settings
Another quick way to check is to jump into your TV settings after firing it up, specifically angling to the resolution section.
Some TVs will offer you a couple of different resolution options, usually ranging from 720p to 1080p all the way up to 4K.
Others will break down the resolution by the number of pixels displayed at any point in time. If you see 3840 x 2160 anywhere in your resolution options, you can be confident that you have a 4K ready set on your hands!
This is a great way to double confirm that your TV is, in fact, ready to rock and roll with 4K content.
Jump Online and Check TV Model Reviews
Sometimes, though, you want to be 100% certain that your television – this specific television – is 4K compatible.
All you have to do is go online, fire up your favorite search engine, and punch your television’s make, model, and serial number into the search bar.
Comb through the first two or three reviews – if it takes that long at all – and you’ll see whether or not your TV is 4K.
This is something that all reviewers will mention pretty early and pretty often. They can help put your mind at ease for sure.
Look for 4K Badging and Decals on Your TV Itself
Finally, it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to include stickers, badging, or decals that highlight the 4K compatibility of this television somewhere on the TV itself.
This is often stuck somewhere on the bottom bezel (bottom right or bottom left corner), often on a larger format decal that includes a whole bunch of other information about your television.
The best thing about these decals is that they can be peeled off pretty easily without leaving any funky residue or “gunk,” either.
It’s just another way to know that your TV is, in fact, 4K ready!
Is 4K Just Ultra High Definition?
Sometimes you’ll see a television described as Ultra High Definition or (UHD), and most of the time – not always, but most of the time – that means 4K ready.
You should know that UHD TVs technically have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 – the resolution that we mentioned a moment ago – but the “true” 4K resolution is a little bit larger than that at 4096 x 2160.
For all intents and purposes, though, UHD is identical to 4K, and you won’t be able to notice a difference at all. We are talking about a difference so negligible and so impossible to distinguish with the naked eye that it’s not even a difference at all.
In practice, though, UHD and 4K are interchangeable and often used in place of one another by television manufacturers.
Will All Content Played on a 4K TV Be in 4K?
At the same time, it’s a point to understand that all content you play on a 4K TV isn’t necessarily going to be displayed in 4K resolutions.
Some televisions (most media players) can “upscale” content to the 4K resolution, but it’s not the same as watching something that has been explicitly shot for – or converted for – 4K intentionally.
That’s just something to be aware of when you fire up your TV.
If you want to make the most of your 4K hardware, you’ll want to be sure that you are watching 4K content.