Just give me the best video I can display

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 10, 2020, 5:30 PM | comments: 0

Now that we've actually joined the world of 4K television, and it sure is weird that I was not an early adopter, I wish the video services would stop screwing around with what they're serving to the thing that you're watching on.

This might explain why I was not quick to jump on the technology in the first place. There are only so many pixels that you can see anyway. We exceeded that density on phones a long time ago, so while it's neat that my phone can record 4K video, the screen itself can display less than a third of those dots. I don't care if a YouTube video was recorded in 4K, because I can't see it anyway. It's just marketing, like absence of the gluten that isn't hurting anyone without celiac disease.

We actually bought an inexpensive 46" 4K TV for $250 two years ago, for the playroom on a whim for some Prime deal. There weren't very many things that actually displayed at that resolution, but what I understood immediately at that size was that you couldn't really appreciate the density of pixels unless you got close. Otherwise, regular HD looks about the same at couch distance.

When I pulled the trigger on replacing the 10-year-old LED-lit TV in the living room, the primary motivators were to go from 55" to 65" and have an OLED screen. What I value is the dynamic range more than the resolution. Now that we've had it for a bit, I can appreciate the difference between 4K and HD, but you have to squint to see it at that size and couch distance. But it's very obvious to me when I get just a little closer. I find it to be a technological miracle that you can have something that looks that amazing in your house, and not only that, but the content is coming over a wire from the Internets. That's amazing.

But I'm still annoyed with the games that providers play with the resolution. Amazon on some movies would rather you buy them over again to get the higher resolution, but not all of them. Netflix wants you to pay extra. Disney+ seems to be the only one who will give you the highest possible resolution for the device you're watching on, and that's awesome. Look, I paid for Star Wars like six times, I'm not going to do it again. (If you're curious, VHS, VHS special edition, DVD, DVD collection, Blu-Ray and subscription via Disney+.)

Also, a word for the creators out there... no one gives a shit about your video because it's in "CINE 4K!!!11!!" If you have to even say that, it looks amateur. All of those pixels aren't useful if you over-exposed the video and have a high frame rate that makes it look like mini-DV video from 1999.


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