Big Picture - April 2015 - (Page 16)
Are 4K Displays
Stay competitive with ultra-high definition screens. | by Beth Osborne
n the world of dynamic signage, stagnation is never
going to be a problem. Neither screen manufacturers,
content creators, nor other industry providers simply rest
on what's in the marketplace now. Screens get larger.
Bezels get smaller. Content becomes sharper. In an
attempt for brands to stand out, we use dynamic signage to set
them apart. But what happens when everybody has 50-inch
screens with crisp imagery? The stakes get higher, and this
competition for your attention breeds the next big thing.
So, what is the next big thing? How will dynamic signage
evolve? Hands down, the trend everyone is talking about is
4K. This technology premiered in 2013 at the Las Vegas
airport with an 84-inch LG wayfinding station, seemingly a
good fit for a trial because everything's bigger and brighter in
Vegas. Since then, screen manufacturers and software
providers have been in a rush to roll out new products and get
buy-in from industry experts that it's viable at scale. So after
some thorough research, the following attempts to answer
three questions: How does it work? Where does it work? And
is it worth it?
WHAT IS 4K AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
4K monitors are quite different from their HD predecessors.
They have four times the pixels (4000), and the description of
their resolution refers to a horizontal measure of pixels.
Previously, resolution was described in terms of vertical.
Simply put, there are four times as many pixels both horizontally and vertically as HD screens. The aspect ratio is different
as well at 17:9 as opposed to 16:9. The color depth has also
been enhanced. It has 10-bit color depth (HD has 8).
What does that mean? It means a 4K monitor has 1024
combinations per color (red, blue, and green), trumping HD's
256. Thus the total color possibilities equal 1,080,045,576 -
BETH OSBORNE is a consultant with many years' experience working with
end users, providers, and stakeholders in dynamic and large-format signage.
She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
more than one billion! Looking at the range of color combinations, 4K significantly expands the options with much richer
greens than HD. And all these additional pixels translate to
the ability to make images larger without pixilating them.
These new, powerful, image-inspiring screens are amazing,
but how do they work with other hardware and software?
With quadruple the pixels of HD monitors, 4K screens
offer a more realistic visual experience. The quality is
overwhelming to the senses, but it's more than just the
pixels. The content format has to change as well. 4K videos
on 4K screens continue to enhance visual clarity. 4K video
plays at 60 frames a second (HDMI is only 30), and with
better video come larger files. The answer is H.265 encoding, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC),
which reduces the data size while preserving the image
quality. The size of the files matters because most dynamic
signage systems are run over wifi networks, and bandwidth
can be a concern. H.265 encoding keeps file size down so as
to not endanger bandwidth.
However, to play 4K video and take advantage of H.265,
you need media players that are built for 4K. Media players
are really the key; not computers. The use of 4K really
represents a shift in the preference of high-quality media
players versus computers. In fact, IHS Technology reported
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - April 2015
Big Picture - April 2015
Super Size Me
Big Picture - April 2015