Could 4K Be the Next HD?

As Panasonic (NYSE:PC) shows off its new tablet with super-high 4K resolution — among other manufacturers making 4K devices — the tech industry could be signaling the beginning of the 4K age and the ending of today’s “HD” video.

Just what exactly is 4K?

Where HD came in and made images and video crystal clear by increasing image resolutions dramatically — with 1080p video having more than 4 times the resolution of DVD video –4K comes with resolutions another 4 times higher than 1080p video. 4K technically can be considered HD, as the definition of so-called High Definition is inherently vague, and while it might seem laughable that tech companies are going to make the crystal clear images of today even more crystal clear, that’s the direction high-end technology seems to be heading.

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How are companies using it?

Panasonic’s showing of the 4K tablet running on a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows-based platform may not mean much for consumers at the moment. The tablet is likely only going to be for industry professional and quality fanatics at first. However, high-end technology like this always has a way of trickling down to the consumer-level after a couple of years, and the technology could be coming in from several fronts. Canon (NYSE:CAJ) has announced two new cameras capable of recording 4K video, and Sony (NYSE:SNE) has shown off a massive OLED TV with 4K resolution.

With pressure for 4K coming from both the recording front and the display front, there’s potential for 4K to replace HD in the coming years. For now, though, device prices will likely be prohibitive for most consumers. But in the future, these same companies will likely introduce consumer-grade products, and companies that don’t follow the 4K trend could get left in the HD crystal clear dust.

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