4K, also known as 2160P, is the amazing new resolution that makes 1080P look like VHS, and by that I mean crappy.
If you’re wondering, the exact resolution of 4K is four times that of 1080P. In other words, there are four pixels on a 4K display for every one pixel on a 1080P display. Here is a picture that shows you what this ratio looks like:
Now is a very good time to buy a 4K television (or display) because, as you’ll see, the prices are reasonable and if you were to purchase a 1080P television (or display) at this point, it will soon be outdated. You’ll be “that guy,” still stuck in 1080P. Another reason to buy sooner rather than later is that 4K resolution is just reaching popularity, so you are guaranteed to be buying a device that will last you the next handful of years, and hey, you’re going to enjoy it. It’s four times better.
While movies and television are still difficult to find in 4K, the resolution is wonderful for using a computer. It’s literally like having four displays in one. Oh, and don’t fret, movie and TV fans, 4K devices are very much on their way. The Xbox One, Sony Playstation 4, new version of the Apple Mac Pro, and a new device, called the Sony FMP-X1 Media Streamer, will all be sending stunningly high resolution images to screens everywhere soon. Many more devices will follow.
All in all, 4K opens a whole new world for media, so you might as well jump on in. Here are the Top 5 best 4K TVs, displays & monitors for the money. Obviously, selection will open up as time goes on, but if you’re the kind of person who’s an early adopter, well it’s too late for you now.
1. Seiki Digital 39-Inch 4K Ultra HD 30Hz LED TV (Best Value), $699.00
At 39 inches, this Seiki television is just big enough to appreciate 4K and just cheap enough that it’s well worth the cost. If you’re wondering how much a 1080P television would cost at this size, they can be had for $300, but for only 2.3x more of your hard-earned cash, you can have 4x more pixels. That’s just plain smart. With 85 reviews on Amazon averaging to 4 out of 5 stars, it’s hard to argue that this TV comes with amazing quality at an amazing price.
Still, there are a couple of key caveats here. DO NOT buy this TV for gaming. While Amazon lists its hz rate at 120, this is not true for 4K. This display can only output 4K at 30hz which is not zippy enough for most games, but it should be fine for movies.
Also, be ready to calibrate. Out of the box, this TV’s default profiles look like crap. Turn the sharpness down and play with the color until it looks good. Be ready to try different configurations depending on your the device that’s outputting to it.
2. Seiki Digital 50-Inch 4K UHD 30Hz LED HDTV (Best Value), $1177
Clocking in at number 2, it’s hard to disagree with the 39 incher’s bigger brother, Seiki’s 50 inch has all the same pluses that its smaller brother has, Still, it’s not recommended for gaming as the Seikis only output 30hz in 4K — and let’s face it, you didn’t shell out for a 4K television to feel like your games are in slow motion.
3. ASUS PQ321Q 31.5-Inch 4K Monitor 60Hz (For Gamers), $3,322
If the price increase seems crazy, realize that for gaming, you’re simply going to have to pay it — at least for now. If you really want to play First Person Shooters or other fast-paced video games, you absolutely need 60 frames per second (aka Hz) and this is the cheapest 4K monitor that can actually do it. At 31.5 inches, it’s not exactly massive, but at this price point, this is the only real option for those dedicated gamers who are looking to take their games to the next level, and resolution.
It goes without saying that the color and overall performance is better than the Seikis, but a bit crisper tones and snappier response time isn’t worth almost 2,000 extra bucks in our book. Stick with the Seikis if you’re itchin’ to watch Planet Earth rather play FPSes or similarly fast-paced games, the price hop isn’t worth it, especially for this size.
4. Panasonic Smart Viera 4K TV (Best Overall), $5500
If you’re serious about having a big 4K television, this is the one for you. Panasonic has delivered in every way possible on this puppy. The resolution, the frame rates (yes, gamers will be satisified for years to come), the interface — this creature has a home-screen and a native 4K web browser, exactly what you want, especially in these dark days where 4K content is less that ubiquitous. Bottom line, this is the best high-end, big TV for your money because of its versatility and how “future proof” it is; the inputs on this television are the standards of the future. Check out an exhaustive review here.
5. Sony 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D LED UHDTV (Best Deals and Picture), $3498
Obviously if you can afford it, this is the TV to get. With picture quality far exceeding the cheap-o Seikis, this Sony will blow virtually any television on the market way out of the water. Not only that, if you pick up this bad boy, you can walk off with a year free of Netflix, $200 bucks off a Sony Media Player (the aforementioned FMP-X1) and $300 off a new Sony 7.1 Surround Sound Bar. This is the TV to beat in this price range, make no mistake. Obviously, we don’t quite give it the edge compared to the Panasonic, but if picture is more your thing, rather than speed (for gaming), this may very well be the TV for you. Sony is known for having better quality picture than anyone around.