Now that 4K video is becoming the norm to replace HD TV’s that has been in the market place for almost 10 years now, you may want to think about upgrading your TV and Computer Monitors. Not to many times are you able to see a picture of change however, in this example below it explains what 4K resolution really is. A Sea of Change 4K Video on YouTube. If you don’t know what the I or P means for 1080i/p it is tied to how pixels are displayed for a simple explanation Click here. Wide screen LCD/Plasma HD TV’s are typically at the minimum 720P to higher resolution 1080P for sizes larger than 40 inches. New 4K TV’s are up to 4 time higher in resolution.
Computers will use a slightly less resolution than the standard 4K 4096×2160 as displayed in the image below.
Dells 28 inch 4K monitor I use at work is set to run 3800×1930, and is more than I need as when it is in the maximum resolution you need a magnifying glass. You can however watch YouTube in full screen at 4K levels and it works great.
For some time now, 4K video camera’s have been in the marketplace for sale with price points somewhat in reach. YouTube has been supporting 4K video for over a year now. Even though it is available can your PC or Mac and your slow internet connection use this new content? To find out there are two critical components you need.
1. A monitor that can support 4K, keep in mind you can play a 4K video on your PC however if you don’t have a monitor that can display it in full resolution you are just eating up your bandwidth.
2. You do need to have a good video card that can process the 4K video. My standard video card on my laptop can display 4K resolution, for images that it works fine. Video on the other hand, is another story.The video buffers unless only my web browser is running and every other application is closed on my PC.
Hardware (CPU / RAM): The difference between a video running in 4K mode vs. 1080P from YouTube affects more than your CPU power or Ram. You need to have a video card that can process the video quickly. When watching a 4K video on my home desktop PC, I was using on average 70% of RAM available and only 25% of the CPU power. However, I was still buffering because the video card could not keep up with the extreme demand of 4K. Dropping the video down to 1080P showed me that RAM usage went down to 60% and CPU was roughly at the same level. At that point the video played as expected with zero buffering.
3. Finally, you do need to have a good Internet connection. Make sure no one is playing games surfing the web on your home or business connection and for the most part you might have some initial buffering but it should download and play within a couple of minutes. Let’s look at this example form YouTube below.
Once you start to play the video, YouTube will automatically change what it thinks your bandwidth and computer can handle (it won’t be 4K by default). Check out the controls in the bottom right hand corner of the video (looks like a gear). Select the highest resolution your PC and or Network can handle. Note, make sure to have the video go full screen or you are wasting electrons :).