While most of my friends like to go out on Saturday night, I enjoy staying in and catching up on the latest TV series with a big bowl of popcorn. When winter rolls around, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. So it’s very fitting that September is dedicated to home theatre at Best Buy. Let’s get ready for hibernation by setting up an entertainment centre that includes a 4K TV and all the accessories for the ultimate viewing experience.
Hollywood aims to make more money by producing new movies, both independent and blockbuster, but do you really want to get out of your pyjamas to head to the theatre? On-demand media services like Netflix, Shomi, CraveTV, HBO Go, or if you were able to get an American IP address, Hulu, have made it easy to discover great programs at home. I’m currently watching a Netflix series, Narcos, about drug lord Pablo Escobar and Empire with Tiraji B. Henson, both of which are highly addictive. The supply of TV shows and movies is so great that I just can’t keep up—I still want to re-watch The Wire.
If you are a movie and TV enthusiast like me, buying the right television is an important investment. Right now, the Ferrari of the TV world is 4K. This doesn’t mean that it has to cost $4,000, as they are available for a price to suit almost any budget. Let’s discuss the 4K experience and the accessories that will help you make the most of it.
What Is 4K?
4K refers to resolution on an electronic display, such as your TV screen, laptop, or monitor. The term resolution means the number of pixels. As you may have guessed, 4K screens have over four thousand pixels that run horizontally. Essentially, the more pixels there are, the sharper and more realistic the picture looks. To give you some perspective, regular HD TVs have approximately 2000 pixels, but manufacturers always want to step up their game and give customers more bragging rights. This is why 4K is also known as ultra HD TV. I can get behind the ultra, as I have no shame in wanting a more realistic view of Idris Elba’s sexy lips on The Wire or Luther. Yes, I have a massive crush on him and I think he has the suavity, street smarts, and sexiness to be the next James Bond. I’m also into seeing the wrinkles of worry on Kevin Spacey’s face when he plays Frank Underwood in House of Cards and the sass and confidence of Tiraji B. Henson’s character, Cookie, in Empire. I wish we could all be part of her #squad. [For a detailed explanation on 4K, read this article by technology writer, Erin Lawrence.]
Now, we know that with more than four times the 1080 pixels of regular HD, 4K covers our high-quality picture needs. Next on the list are some accessories to truly optimize the 4K experience.
Audio is also an important ingredient in your home theatre. I just saw the movie Straight Outta Compton and paid extra for the UltraAVX. It was worth every penny because the music was the essence of the film. A crisp picture is just half the viewing experience. Exceptional sound is what helps you swoon over all the great content. But when was the last time you upgraded your AV receiver? If it’s been a while, you’ll want to consider getting one that is compatible with your new 4K television. Your couch will vibrate during the explosion scenes in your favourite action movie. The good thing is that a 4K AV receiver won’t break the bank. For the higher end, check out this one from Denon.
I live in an apartment. I’m not yet ready for a house with my own movie room, but instead of an AV receiver, I chose to get a sound bar to meet my audio needs. It’s slimmer, sleeker, and sexier, so it doesn’t affect the decor of my place. Also, you can mount it on the wall if space is an issue. Check out this Sony 330 Watt sound bar with wireless subwoofer.
To support the fancy new ultra HD screens, this DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter from Kanex let’s you connect your laptop to a 4K HD TV.
Blu-ray. For the movie buffs who want immaculate picture quality, then a 4K Blu-ray will be your new baby. This is definitely for the person who likes to build a movie library by purchasing the latest movies Blu-ray/DVD. The quality is significantly better than streaming 4K content from say Netflix or Amazon. Again, the quality is immaculate due to a number of specs such as, higher-frame rates (60 Hz) and expanded colour. It’ll also include High-Definition Range (HDR). If you’re into photography, you’ll know this term, or you may have seen it on your iPhone camera. HDR is really exciting for TV, as it uses contrasts ratio, which is the range between dark, and light. Simply, it’s the luminance of the brightest color (white), while keeping the darkest color (black) a true black. Check out this Sony Blu-Ray DVD player with 4K.
Final thoughts: we are living in an era where TV is hotter than ever. Consider that movie stars are now accepting TV roles because the content is so good, rich and prominent—it’s not considered a career downgrade. That wouldn’t happen three to five years ago, unless they were desperate for a role. Matthew McConaughey is on top of his film game (he just won an Oscar); and he starred in the popular drama series True Detective. For TV lovers, why wouldn’t you want to view great series on the best quality screen possible!? Maybe some of you are sceptical after the mass rejection of 3D TV by consumers, but 4K TV has the confidence of companies like Sony, Netflix, and Amazon, and more producers are filming content with higher-definition format. There’s momentum building.
What are your thoughts? Will you be switching to 4K TV? Or do you have a 4K TV and looking to new accessories? Love to hear your experience an UltraHD screen in the comments below.