Is 4K a scam?

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4K TV’s, 4K monitors, 4K cameras, it seems that every manufacturer is trying to implement 4k resolution into their products.

This is not new, for a brief period “3D” was all the rage and everyone was racing against time to build the newest 3D technology and put it out to the consumer as fast as possible.

Many consumers claim that 4K is a significant upgrade over 1080p, meanwhile, others are not as convinced and think 4K is a scam.

It is quite the accusation, is 4k really a scam? 4K is not a scam provided you buy the right size TV and sit close enough to it.

4K provides higher resolution, enhanced HDR or high dynamic range, and increased color contrast with LED or OLED technology.

However, if you are too far from the TV none of this matters.

In this blog post, I will explain why 4k is not a scam as well as some of the downsides of the format. I will go into detail regarding when 4k makes almost no difference and is worth avoiding.

Is 4K really worth it?

The average person watches their TV from a distance of 9 feet, therefore most people do not notice 4k resolution as they do not sit close enough to the tv to notice the difference in resolution.

Therefore it’s all a scam right?

Not so much, even at a 9 feet viewing distance you are still going to notice the increased color contrast and wider color gamut (HDR) that 4K TV’s provide.

Images will pop and be more brighter and vivid than you’ve ever seen before, this alone makes 4K worth it.

However, it is highly recommended that you get a decent-sized display for 4k, a 50-55 inch is the ideal minimum, anything below 43 inches just get a 1080p TV as it’s not worth it.

Resolution is the icing on the cake


If you do sit between 4-7 feet from a 55-inch display you are likely to notice the crisper/sharper image that 4k resolution provides but it’s not a big deal if you choose to sit further back.

Resolution is kind of the icing on the cake when it comes to 4k technology, the real reason to buy these TV’s is for the HDR and OLED/LED technology.

4K is not as widely available as you might think

Most TV shows or movies do not use 4k technology, and even when they do they sometimes don’t utilize 4k or HDR as much as they could, unfortunately, you will have to do some research to determine if what you are watching is worth it in 4k.

This is inconvenient but there are some phenomenal 4k movies out there and then there are a lot of mediocre ones.

Many shows/films are not shot in native 4k and are instead upscaled to 4k which adds limited if any benefit from a resolution standpoint but it can with HDR.

Although streaming services and movie studios are attempting to put out more and more 4k content it is not as widely available as you may think.

Streaming 4K is barely worth it


For streaming 4k you need very fast internet and with that streaming is still far inferior to 4k from a physical disc.

Usually, black levels (true blacks, that are not greyish) get crushed (lose significant shadow detail) on streaming and there can be banding (degrading of color depth) due to bit rates.

In layman’s terms, streaming can cause 4k to look extremely mediocre.

If you do not want to buy physical blu ray discs than downloading 4k from something like Kaleidiscape is the best way to experience 4k.

However, kalediscape is extremely expensive, it will cost you about 10,000 dollars to utilize their technology but many say it provides a better image and soundscape than 4k blu ray.

4k file sizes are also huge, it is hard to properly implement 4k on streaming especially if you do not have very fast internet speeds.

Audio is especially compressed on streaming as well, degrading the sound. Images will also be compressed due to the gigantic file sizes needed for 4k.

4K without HDR is not worth it

Luckily HDR technology comes with any modern 4k TV so this is not something you have to worry much about if you bought a TV in the last 5 years, however, some of the earlier budget models did not provide an HDR format.

4k without HDR is absolutely not worth it, ideally, get an OLED TV that is compatible with Dolby Vision or HDR 10 Plus which are premium HDR formats.

4K might not be worth it for you

For a lot of people, 4k will not be worth it.

You have to sit ridiculously close to your TV to notice any difference in resolution at all if you have a small display. I’d recommend getting a 55-inch display at the minimum.

Also, unless you are an avid collector of 4k blu rays and research all the discs you buy or resort to downloading 4k files of the internet (kaleidiscape) 4K will have a minimal impact.

I don’t think 4k is a scam per se, however 8k is another discussion, I wrote an article discussing why 8K TV is not worth it if you are interested.

4K technology will cost you


4k is expensive, you need a 4k tv and 4k content that often costs more money whether it’s streaming or physical media like blu ray.

Although controversial many recommend getting high-speed 4k HDMI cables as well, if you want to watch physical blu ray discs you will also need a 4k compatible blu ray player.

Make sure to verify what HDR format it supports as well. For example, if your TV supports Dolby Vision buy a Dolby Vision compatible Blu ray player.


I am a big advocate of 4k TV’s but a lot of what makes 4k worth it or not worth it comes down to your living space. Can you fit a 55-inch TV in your living/bedroom?

Can you afford OLED/Dolby Vision technology with your 4K TV? These are all factors you will have to consider when buying a 4k TV.

However, as someone who owns a 4K OLED, i can tell you 4K is not a scam and is definitely worth it if you follow the guidelines I explained above.

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