UHD or 4K: What do you prefer?

CEA says "Ultra HD" or "UHD." Sony, and pith, says "4K." What do you prefer?

Geoffrey Morrison

In an effort to keep confusion to a minimum, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) decreed that next-gen "4K" televisions should be called Ultra High Definition, Ultra HD, or UHD . Sony said "pass" and announced it would continue calling its "UHD" TVs "4K" TVs .

Normally Sony's love for marketing obfuscation generates an eye-roll or four here, but in this case, we think it has a point. Not least because we have to type this stuff all the time and "4K TVs" is way easier than "Ultra High Definition televisions."

So with that entirely neutral intro, what do you think. Do you prefer "UHD" or "4K?"

To be fair, 4K isn't exactly the most accurate or simple descriptor of the technology. After all, 4K comes from the cinema side, where the projectors are actually "4K," 4,096 pixels wide, to be specific. In the TV world, the short-hand of 4K refers to 3,840x2,160, also known as QuadHD for being 4x 1080p resolution.

So in that regard, the CEA has a point. Ultra HD is a better term. But it lacks pith, right? Personally, I like 4K for its speed of typing and ease of speaking benefits. Ultra HD has 4x the key presses and twice as many syllables. This may seem irrelevant, but, well, OK it sort of is, but we type and talk about this a lot.

Also, there's a more practical reason behind our asking. If most people search for "UHD," then brilliant articles with 4K instead might get lost in the Google shuffle.

David Katzmaier had this to say, "I strongly prefer '4K' and I use it in headlines/promo text/conversation/videos almost exclusively instead of UHD. In the body of the article I usually de-emphasize UHD by saying something like '4K, also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD),' at first mention, then use '4K' throughout the remainder of the piece."

Ty Pendlebury has a similar thought, "When it comes to technology formats, the one with the shortest name always wins: HD-DVD versus Blu-ray, Digital Compact Cassette versus Mini Disc, Betamax versus VHS. For this reason, 4K -- by virtue of nothing more than a shorter, catchier, more-descriptive name -- has my vote."

So this is a semantic (pedantic?) concern to be sure, but we're curious. What are your thoughts? UHD or 4K?


Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he's written on topics like HDMI cables , LED LCD vs. plasma , active versus passive 3D , and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won't tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.

About the author

Geoffrey Morrison is a freelance writer/photographer for CNET, Forbes, and TheWirecutter. He also writes for Sound&Vision magazine, HDGuru.com, and several others. He was Editor in Chief of Home Entertainment magazine and before that, Technical Editor of Home Theater magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling first novel, Undersea, is available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere.

 

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