Friday, January 31, 2014

The 4k Dream
-Delving into the very guts of what makes display technology awesome-

The very last thing I saw as I was researching gear for my 2014 PC workstation build, was information on 4k and 8k video formats as well as what hardware was compliant with either of those standards.
Very little if any hardware beyond some esoteric digital cinema gear unavailable to any but the super rich currently supports 8K video standard for motion pictures or still images (50,000 dollars and up).

N.H.K of Japan was rumored to be transmitting U-HD broadcast video when the rest of the world (especially the US market) is only recently getting fully on board with the HD/1080P bandwagon. U.S. broadcasters are unlikely to adopt 4K any time soon due to the massive restructuring of the bandwidth allocations required for such high bandwidth signaling that the FCC regulates. 4K will make its way into the home for non broadcast uses very soon that much is guaranteed.

What is U-HD you ask? Well I can't really break this down into something a non technical person could appreciate without being able to show them the difference visually but I will give it to you in terms of pixel count.
(8K format is such a high resolution format you would not really notice the difference between it and 4K with the naked eye.)

Broadcast video is currently available in a few formats 480p/720p/1080p, with 720i and 1080i as alternatives (that means interpolated). Older broadcast TV signals used to be 360p.

The actual pixel counts of 4K & 8K vary because it’s calculated based on the total area of the screen its being rendered on.

Most 4k compliant LCD/LED panels powering high end computer monitors and what could be for the time being in the US markets considered rarified, 4K U-HD TV's exist in these formats:
         1. 3480 x 2160
         2. 5120 x 2160 (Very large display panel TV's and digital cinema screens)

8K display technology does exist but so far none of it has gone beyond being exhibited as C.E.S showroom floor demonstration models. So far the only formats for this are as follows:
         1. 7680 × 4320 - Prototype TV at 2013 C.E.S by Sharp
         2. 8192 × 8192 - Imax and Planetariums,  with a pixel count of 67 megapixels.

How does all this factor into the domain of Photography and Cameras?

4K displays would have the widest Gamut (largest color pallette) possible, meaning Adobe RBG (1999) and sRGB would easily fit within the color space that a display of this quality would support. Pro Photo RGB which has an even wider gamut than this would also work. Web formats almost all generally default to sRGB. Currently only the most expensive 1080p capable screens in existence can handle 98 to 99 percent of the Gamut of the first two formats i’ve mentioned. Some of the Gamut limitations of screens appear to be caused by the transmission cable itself. The most common modern formats available are HDMI, and the format championed early on by Apple called Display Port.

Display Port is a cutting edge super high bandwidth connection standard that has been slow to catch on. It is capable of transmitting audio, video, data and power to be sent through the same cable.

HasselBlad, Leica, Mamiya have all been able to record and reproduce images in 4k for many years now. With Pixel counts in some of these cameras topping out at 200 megapixels, you can see how it is only a matter of time before the rest of the technological world will realize the need to catch up.

If you were curious what parts i’m looking at, This is a brief list of them: