Let me paint a picture
The year is 2019, and like every other year the tech scene opened with a bang with CES in January. The showcase, like always, was all about tech that’s pushing the limits. Just a few years ago we were introduced to 4K, so in a natural progression, 2019 was no different with the introduction of 8K and above. For most, this technology will be well outside of reality for some time, but the looming question, at least in my eyes, is do we really need it? Only a few years ago we were excited about HD, and then Full HD, then 4K and 5k, and now 8K? At what point do we reach a point of diminishing returns?
We’re able to calculate the distance at which we must stand from any given display where our eyes are no longer able to resolve individual pixels, so why do we keep getting higher and higher pixel densities when our eyes can’t reasonably tell a difference? Rather than ask the question of what’s to much, lets ask a simpler question; What’s good enough?
Now I’m on board with having the best quality possible and highest specs, so if that’s your reasoning, I say go for it. For the general Joe Schmoe who just wants a TV, is going to be watching it in less than stellar viewing conditions, might be on a budget, but wants a TV that’ll get the job done, would FHD (1080P) be good enough?
In my eyes, a 50-55 inch TV is pretty big. While I currently own a 55” curved 4K TV, I wonder if It’s really necessary. The couch in my living room is situated in a way where I sit roughly eight(8) feet away from my TV. According to crutchfield.com, the optimal distance for a 55” 1080P TV is between 6.9-11.5 feet. This number is based off of your eyes ability to resolve individual pixels; A better explanation being if you sit between 6.9-11.5 feet away from your 1080P TV, you will not be able to see individual pixels. Using a similar process for a 4K TV, you would need to sit between 4.6-6.9 feet, or further in order to not see individual pixels on a 55” TV. Making a very general assumption, most peoples TV’s will be under 60”. Furthermore, the seating distance is oftentimes between 5 and 10 feet away.
Colors Matter More
To me, the thing that really matters is the color reproduction. HDR and the dynamic range of a TV affect the experience so much more, especially when sitting at a distance that your eyes can’t really tell the difference between 4K and 1080P. In my opinion, I wish more manufacturers would focus more on providing 10Bit HDR color with true to life color reproduction. That paired with 120Hz high refresh rate, and skip on the ultra high resolution displays except for special case scenarios.
The question that I’m really trying to ask with all of this is if a 4K camera is the requirement for 2019. More specifically, is 1080P still relevant for content creation? I already have a 4K capable camera, but I also purchased a 1080P cinema camera. I decided long ago that most people don’t really need higher than 1080P. When most video content is being viewed on a mobile phone where 1080P is more than enough, on a TV in your living room, where again, the viewing distance makes 1080P more than sufficient. The only outlier being Laptop computers, which are largely still 1080P, and Desktops where you actually sit close enough to tell the difference.
My Opinion Matters...
Ok, so my opinion doesn’t really matter, and if you decide to skip this entirely, I wouldn’t be offended. I live by the philosophy that there is a time and a place for everything. In this scenario, it is no different. I believe If you have a proper setup where a 4K or above TV makes sense, then this whole article is a null point. However, If you are sitting in your living room, on a couch that’s 10 feet away, then I believe a TV with a max resolution of 1080P will be more than sufficient. Furthermore, I believe for content consumed on a cellphone, similar can be said where 1080P will be more than enough. I think what is more important is the color reproduction, dynamic range, and bit depth.
Do you think 1080P is still relevant?
I’ll end this by asking you the very question that’s been discussed; Do you think 1080P is still relevant, or is 4K and above the new standard that we should all live by? Leave your comments below, and be sure to watch out for the video that will be released this weekend going even more in-depth about this subject.