UHD in Dictionary

Whether UHD TV, UHD camera or UHD monitor: More and more manufacturers are bringing products with this screen resolution onto the market. UHD or Ultra HD stands for Ultra High Definition (“extremely high resolution”). Many are not aware of how exactly UHD differs from other resolutions such as Full HD and 4K – and some people use the terms synonymously.

  • A device with UHD is able to display a resolution of at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.
  • With UHD-1 and UHD-2 there are two different UHD formats.
  • Although there are only minor differences between Ultra HD and 4K, it has become established that UHD devices are also marketed as 4K.

What is UHD?

There are basically various standard formats for displaying pictures and films. Defined by abbreviationfinder, UHD is a digital video format and is the successor to Full HD. Ultra HD usually refers to a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16: 9. However, there may be small deviations depending on the manufacturer. Televisions as well as digital cameras and smartphones already have the UHD standard and can play media in the appropriate quality.

Two different UHD video formats

Strictly speaking, the term Ultra HD is misleading. There are two UHD formats: UHD-1 and UHD-2. This situation goes back to a decision of the International Telecommunication Union in 2012. It was not possible for the UN agency to commit to a video resolution. In July 2014, the more than 200 companies involved in the DVB (Digital Video Broadcast Project) agreed on the exact number of pixels for the two formats. The most important parameters are as follows:

  • UHD-1: 3840 x 2160 pixels, 60 Hertz, 10-bit color quantization
  • UHD-2: 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, 120 Hertz, 12-bit color quantization

In practice it is mostly the UHD-1 standard. Therefore, many manufacturers and retailers omit the number and only advertise the products under the name UHD. If you value the significantly higher resolution, you should pay attention to the full name UHD-2 or look out for the designation 8K, the synonymous name of UHD-2.

Ultra HD and Full HD: The main differences

With a suitable device and appropriate film material, the Full HD resolution already offers very good image quality. Full HD means a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This means that UHD has twice as many pixels available both in height and in width as compared to its predecessor. Therefore, Ultra HD achieves four times the resolution of Full HD. In addition, UHD devices offer other benefits, including the following:

  • The higher color depth of 10 bits ensures a stronger contrast and richer colors.
  • Due to the much higher resolution, the necessary viewing distance is reduced. With Full HD this was three times the screen diagonal, with Ultra HD only one and a half times the distance is required.
  • Due to the higher frame rate of 50 Hertz, UHD runs even more smoothly than Full HD.

In order for the strengths of the UHD format to come into its own, you need images in the appropriate resolution. For an optimal viewing experience, it is also necessary that the seat spacing of the audience is not too large. Otherwise, the additional details can usually hardly be seen.

4K and Ultra HD: Often used interchangeably

The term 4K comes from the cinema sector and describes a digital standard with a resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels. There are subtle differences to the standard Ultra HD. Nevertheless, devices with a resolution of around 4,000 x 2,000 pixels or eight megapixels were marketed under the name 4K. Sometimes the specification 4K2K appears instead.

If the product has the designation 4K UHD or UHD in the name, it is very likely a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. If, on the other hand, the abbreviations 4K or 4K2K appear, the resolution usually corresponds to 4,096 x 2,160 pixels. However, this slight difference is usually not noticeable when viewing the images, since both Ultra HD and 4K are very high-resolution video formats.