The term “4k” is seen fairly often within the electronics and technology industries nowadays. And chances are, you’ve at least heard of it. It’s labeled as an extra feature on a lot of products and many people are big fans of it.
But despite the hype around this type of technology, there’s surprisingly little information about it on the internet and many people don’t even know what it is. And even less know extra information about it, such as when it came out.
In order to remedy this situation, today we’re going to talk about the history of 4k! And we’re specifically going to go into the history of this type of display in laptops, since that is a hot topic right now.
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is 4k technology?
Before we can dive into the history of 4k, it’s important to clarify what it is. We’ll summarize here but you can learn about the specifics in the articles “What Is A 4k Laptop” and “How 4k Works”. So essentially, 4k (also called UHD) is a very high video resolution that transmits higher quality and more defined images across screens.
It’s named the way it is because it basically has four times as many pixels as displays with regular resolutions. For reference, 4k is 3840 by 2160; whereas regular displays are about 1920 by 1080.
And this high number of pixels is why UHD displays look so much better than regular ones, making all the visuals enhanced. We cover more about the difference between regular and UHD resolutions in the article “Does 4k Matter On A Laptop”.
When was the 4k technology invented?
It’s unclear exactly when and how 4k technology came to be originally. Surprisingly though, graphic processors were actually able to reach UHD all the way back in 1984! That makes 4k technology a lot older than most of us would assume, but it didn’t really gain any traction until later on.
In the year of 2001, Sony released the first UHD display and launched 4k technology right into the spotlight. But once again, it would be many years before the technology advanced any further.
What were some of the first applications of UHD technology?
After the first 4k display was released in 2001, quite a bit of time passed before UHD televisions were released in 2012. It was then that the term became more widely known. But at first, televisions were the only consumer-related products that were made with this type of resolution.
And even then, the group that could actually have this type of television was small. Since the technology was so new, it was quite expensive. Even more so than it is now in fact, and a singular UHD televisions could cost up to 5-figures.
By 2013, UHD technology was being integrated into PC monitors to be enjoyed by the consumers that could afford it. And to this day, computer monitors are one of the most popular applications of 4k technology aside from the television itself.
Moving forward another year, in 2014, the first companies began rolling out laptops with 4k displays. This was a long awaited release. Since laptop users were seeing other types of electronics taking advantage of this technology, but didn’t have it available for themselves.
Although the start for UHD laptops was rocky, as people doubted that laptops could handle such high resolution. But we discuss this more in depth in the article “Can A Laptop Support A 4k Monitor”. And in the article, “Can Laptops Output 4k”.
How has 4k technology changed over time?
The technology behind 4k resolutions has obviously been perfected over time, and one of the main areas where you can see improvement is in the amount of applications available nowadays!
Whereas you could only have 4k displays on televisions at one point, now you can have it on virtually any device. Plus, as the technology has been perfected, the price has lowered somewhat. This means that more people have access to this technology than they used to.
How will UHD technology continue to evolve?
Over time, like with any type of technology, eventually 4k displays will make its way into every electronic device you can imagine. And it’s likely that UHD will become the default type of resolution, or at least the most commonly used one. Because people are getting used to that high quality, and are having a hard time downgrading back to regular HD.
Hopefully the price points for electronics with 4k technology will also go down, as the technology itself is perfected and begins to cost less to manufacture.
As far as 4k technology being replaced, there will of course be “higher resolutions” but the astounding thing is that humans may not even be able to get anything out of those higher grade options. Allow me to explain in the following section…
Will UHD be replaced in the future?
There’s actually an ongoing debate about this. With many believing that UHD technology will actually never be replaced because there is no need for it to be. According to multiple studies, 4k is the highest resolution that humans can really benefit from.
One example is the relatively new “8k” technology. Studies have shown that human eyes can’t even fully decipher how high quality 8k it is. So for most people, this high of a resolution would seem fairly pointless. Leading many people to claim that while UHD itself might be improved in some areas, it likely won’t be replaced.
So should you join in on this trend?
Now that you have a good grasp of what UHD technology is, what it was, and where it’s going… Perhaps you’d like to try it out for yourself. In many people’s opinions, the best way to do this is to buy a 4k laptop. You get the UHD display; plus a portable and useful electronic in the process.
But if you’re interested, then you can follow this link to find plenty of high quality 4k laptop options! Or read this article, “Which Laptops Have 4k Display”, in order to learn how to best find these types of laptops.
And if you want to know how to make sure you get the laptop of your dreams, read up on this article “How Do I Know If My Laptop Is 4k”.