4K TV resolution is the new norm these days thanks to the advancement in technology. Now you can enjoy ultra HD content from the comfort of your home if you own a 4K TV.
But if you are buying a TV or already have a TV, you might be wondering, how do I know if my TV is 4K?.
Here are 6 ways you can check if your TV screen is indeed 4K:
1. Check the TV’s screen specifications in the user manual
2. Find your TV model online and check the specifications.
3. See the TV box and look for any mention of 4K or UHD
4. Turn ON the TV and check for UHD in display settings
5. Try running 4K UHD video on your TV from youtube
6. Compare image quality with a non-HD screen.
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the topic and see how you can check and confirm if your TV is 4K. At the end of the article, I have a list of recommendations to make the most out of your 4K TV so make sure you read till the end.
What is 4k TV?
Before you go deep into finding out if your TV is 4K or not, it is important to know what 4K exactly means.
You probably already know that 4K is a type of very high-definition screen but with all the marketing terms for high definition out there (like FHD, UHD, Retina display etc) it can be pretty confusing.
4K TVs are those that have a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160. Some companies also call it a 2160p display (2160 refers to the number of pixels squeezed into vertical height of the TV screen) or UHD.
Why is it called 4K? 4096p was roughly the resolution of digital cinema (pixels in horizontal length) and were referred to as 4K cinema. For consumer screens, the resolution was slightly reduced to 3840 pixels but the name 4K stuck.
Today, the 3840 x 2160 resolution screens are called 4K, 2160p or UHD (Ultra High Definition) screens. They all mean the same thing.
6 Methods to check if a TV is 4K
Whether you already have a TV and you want to check if it supports 4K or you’re about to buy one, this guide will show you different ways to check if a TV is 4K.
1. By checking the user manual
The user manual contains almost all the necessary details about your TV, which is why it should always be your go-to option if you have access to it.
The only drawback to this method is that some user manuals can be a little confusing, and a lot of people end up throwing their user manuals away after some time.
However, when it comes to figuring out whether your TV is 4K, the process is pretty easy. All you have to do is check the specifications of the TV, which are usually found in a tabular form, either at the beginning or at the end of the manual.
You can also use the index at the beginning of the manual to locate the specifications page. Once you’re there, look for the “resolution” tab.
A 4K TV will usually have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. However, some manuals may also accompany it with terms like “4K” or “UHD”, but more about the difference between them later.
If you don’t have the physical copy of the user manual, you can always find a PDF copy online on the manufacturer’s website or retailer sites. To find the user manual, search “Your TV model + user manual PDF” and you will find it right away.
Once you download it, you can search for the term “resolution” or “2160” and you will find the specification page directly.
2. By looking up the TV model online
If you don’t have access to the TV’s user manual or you’re browsing TVs online, the next best thing is to look up the model.
Almost all manufacturers out there will specify whether the TV is 4K or not on their official website. You can also check the specifications tab and look for the maximum resolution of the TV.
If you can’t find the TV’s resolution directly on the website, you can go deeper into the specifications of the device by downloading the user manual of the device online from the official website.
Besides official websites, there are plenty of manual libraries online, such as ManualLib.
3. By checking the device information on the box
If you have access to the back of the TV, you can look for the label on the back. There, you should be able to find the model number of your TV, which you can use to check for the resolution online.
Some manufacturers make it even easier and will state the TV resolution on the box packaging directly. This can be also done if you still have the box that the TV came in.
This method is remarkably easy and allows you to quickly figure out the resolution of a TV without having to go through tedious online searches or reading large manuals full of technical jargon.
It’s also a great solution if you don’t know the exact model of your TV, so you can’t look it up online.
Using the remote control, open the settings menu on the TV and navigate to the display settings (some TV call them video settings).
Under the display tab, some TVs will allow you to choose the display resolution of the TV. In that case, if the TV has a “2160p” or “3840 x 2160 pixels” listed, your TV is capable of displaying in 4K.
If you only find the maximum setting to be 720p or 1080p then it’s not a 4K screen.
5. By running a 4K content on the TV
You can also test out your TV’s 4K abilities by checking the streaming apps downloaded on it. For example, if you have Youtube built into the TV, search for 4K videos, and you’ll find tons of videos that are displayed in 4K to test out your TV.
For example, play this video on your TV screen and click on the three dots at the bottom and then click stats for nerds (on your laptop screen, you can right-click and choose the same).
Once the stats for nerds window opens, you will be able to see the current resolution of the video playing. If your screen is real 4K, it should display 3840x2160p resolution (check the picture below)
You can also check the quality tab, and you’ll find the maximum quality that your TV can handle. If your TV is 4K, it should be displaying a 2160p (4K) option.
You can also do the same with other streaming apps, but youtube is one of the easiest for testing.
6. By assessing image quality
Although this one may be a little tricky for the untrained eye, it’s still a good method for testing. If you have TV channels that are displayed in 4K and regular HD. you can flip between them to notice the vast improvement in details and quality.
If the image on the 4K channel is the same as the HD channel, your TV is not displaying in 4K. Keep in mind that you need a set-top box that also supports a 4K display to use this method.
What is the difference between 4K and UHD?
A lot of people use the terms 4K and Ultra HD (UHD) interchangeably, and there’s a good reason for that.
True 4K is a digital camera projector standard, which is a resolution of 4069 x 2160 pixels, which is a professional standard. However, in TVs, 4K is the resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is a consumer standard.
In other words, if your TV is marketed as UHD, it should have the same resolution as other 4K TVs, as they’re practically using two different marketing terms to describe the same thing.
Native 4K vs digitally upscaled 4K
You might hear the terms “native” or “true” along with 4K. This is used to describe TVs that offer a true resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, and it’s the kind of TV you should be looking for.
That’s why you should look for the resolution in the specifications of the TV and not rely on the TV description as “4K” on listings and product names.
Upscaled 4K is the result of a process where the TV enhances the original input resolution. In other words, the TV’s original resolution is 1920 x 1080, but it then upscales it digitally to fill more pixels.
The difference between the two is hardly noticed in most videos, movies, and games. However, native 4K remains superior to upscaled one, much like an optical camera zoom when compared to its digital counterpart.
Tips to make the most out of a 4K TV
Just because your TV supports 4K resolution, doesn’t guarantee the optimum viewing experience.
In this section, we’ll provide you with some essential tips to make the most out of your 4K TV:
1. Invest in a good HDMI cable
The cable should also support other essential features like HDR. So if you want to watch true 4K content on your screen, get a high quality HDMI cable. If you don’t know which HDMI to buy that can support 4K, I would suggest this one from SecureOMax.
2. Subscribe to 4K resolution streaming services
To enjoy the 4K quality resolution in its full glory, make sure that you subscribe to streaming services and plans that support such resolution.
For example, Netflix offers 4K resolution only for premium plan subscribers. If you go for a basic plan, your streaming will be limited to Full HD quality.
3. Use 4K devices and set-top boxes
As previously mentioned, your TV will be limited to the input resolution of the image it displays.
For that reason, if you’re connecting a set-top box or a streaming device to your TV such as Amazon Firestick, make sure that it also supports a 4K display.
Not all streaming services or devices support 4K. For example, you can only watch 4K content on the Netflix premium plan (see image below)
Similarly, streaming devices like Roku offer 4K on some devices and not all of them.
4. Improve your internet bandwidth
If you’re planning to watch videos and stream movies online on the TV, you’ll need to make sure that your internet bandwidth and speed can keep up to avoid interruptions.
In fact, 4K quality videos in 2160p quality use up to 5 times more data than regular Full HD in 1080p quality.
For that reason, you need an internet bandwidth of at least 25 Mbps to avoid interruptions while watching. If you are trying to stream 4K on lower bandwidth, your video will keep buffering every few seconds.
5. Consider other TV features for a better experience
Lastly, while 4K is an excellent resolution to enjoy your TV in, it’s not the only feature you should focus on while buying a TV. You should also consider other essential features like:
- OLED screen
- High refresh rate
- HDR compatibility (for rich colors)
- Smart TV features and direct internet connectivity
With that said, you now have a brief guide that shows you how to know if a TV is 4K. As you can see, there are plenty of methods you can use to figure that out, such as checking the maximum resolution on the manual or checking the model online.
You should also keep in mind that TVs can be native 4K screen or digitally upscaled one that displays videos and games in 4K. While both of them are extremely similar, you should opt for a native 4K if you want to enjoy the true 4K experience.