You ask, we answer: 4K Ultra HD

by Rob Manfredo 04/15/2013

There’s been a lot of 4K talk lately and we’re excited to see so many questions come through from you guys. Check out our list of commonly-asked queries below to get the full scoop.

Are there any that we missed? Drop us a note in the comments section and we’ll be sure to address it in the next round. Don’t forget to keep up with all the #Sony4K news on Twitter!

1.      What is the difference between 1080p and 4K?

Paraphrasing a popular TV commercial …we want more ‘cause if you really like it you want more. 4K Ultra HD TVs delivers four times more resolution than 1080P HDTVs. Full HDTV displays over two-million pixels that make up the image, while on a 4K Ultra HD TV there are over eight-million pixels.

Since there are four times more pixels, 4K Ultra HD TVs can more easily reproduce the smallest details.  Due to this increased resolution, you can now sit closer to a larger TV screen and enjoy a clearer picture.


2.      Will my regular cable programming, Blu-ray Discs™, DVDs, and streaming entertainment appear different on my 4K Ultra HD TV?

Does a one-legged duck swim in circles? Poor guy.

Yes, the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs enhance the picture quality of everything you watch. The Sony 4K X-RealityPRO Picture engine analyzes and refines images from all sources. Whatever you are watching – TV shows, movies, sports, and streaming entertainment will look better.

3.      How close to the TV must I sit to appreciate 4K?

Remember being a kid and mom telling you to sit back from the TV because you were just too close to the screen? Well, forget that. You didn’t have 4K in your living room then.

The ideal viewing distance for a 55” or 65” Sony 4K Ultra HD TV is between five and six feet. That is closer than the recommended distance from a 35” HDTV.

Since the pixels on a 4K Ultra HD TV are four times smaller than on an HDTV, it becomes harder to see them.  When you sit closer to the screen, you feel like you are immersed in the action. You get the same visual impact as you would sitting in the best seat at a movie theater.

4K TV 1

4.      What can I currently watch in true 4K? In near-4K?

Right now, everything you can watch on the Sony 4K Ultra HD TV is going to be enhanced to near 4K by Sony’s exclusive upscaling technology. However, Sony is the only electronics company capable of bringing true 4K to your home.

Starting in the Summer of 2013, folks who own the Sony 55“ or 65“ 4K Ultra HD TV will also be able to buy the Sony 4K Media Player bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts in true 4K resolution. Later in 2013, the same 4K Media Player will also support a fee-based network video service offering a library of 4K titles for download.

Starting in May 2013, 4K fans can purchase a select number of Sony Pictures Blu-ray titles optimized for 4K Ultra HDTVs. These HD titles were created from the highest quality 4K source materials with expanded color for a more vibrant and dynamic picture. They play on all Blu-ray Disc™ players and PlayStation® 3’s. They are the ideal Blu-ray Disc solution for new 4K Ultra HD TV owners and great for Blu-ray collectors as they also display excellent picture quality on HDTVs.

5.      When will more true 4K content be available?

Many movies have already been released in Native 4K. As I write this, even more  content is being shot by Hollywood’s leading filmmakers. In addition, many studios are investing in the 4K restoration of films in their libraries. Films originally shot with 35MM film can be re-mastered in native 4K resolution. In addition, broadcasters and cable companies are investing in 4K technologies to be able to deliver more 4K content experiences to consumers at home.

6.      Do I need a new 4K Blu-ray Disc™player and 4K receiver to enjoy my 4K Ultra HD TV?

The new 4K Ultra HD TV is all that you need to begin enjoying higher resolution and enhanced video. Your current Blu-ray Disc™ player, cable signal or even your personal photos and videos make for ideal content to view on your Sony 4K Ultra HD TV.  Believe it or not, if you have a digital camera that is more than 8MP, you are already creating 4K content. Now, you can finally enjoy the full detail of your photos on the big screen.

Coming later in 2013,  you can enjoy feature films in true 4K resolution with the Sony 4K Media Player. It will come pre-loaded with feature films and video shorts. Sony will also launch a Sony 4K network video service offering access to a library of 4K movies and TV show titles. 1


1.            Ethernet connection required. Fees may apply for 4K networked video service.


7.      What other 4K products and services does Sony manufacture?

As Sony did with the transition to HD, Sony is leading the way with the transition to 4K from the lens to the living room, including:

  • The world’s most extensive line of 4K digital motion picture cameras  including the F65, PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 cameras
  • Complete line-up of 4K professional monitors and projectors
  • Industry training at the Digital Motion Picture Center at Sony Pictures Studios
  • Sony Vegas™ Pro software performs 4K nonlinear editing
  • Sony Pictures Colorworks is Hollywood’s leading house for 4K post production.
  • Sony Pictures is releasing films like the 2013 After Earth starring Will Smith in 4K Digital Cinema and investing in 4K restorations of classics like Lawrence of Arabia and Taxi Driver.
  • Sony is the world leader in 4K Digital Cinema servers and projectors with over 13,000 systems installed.
  • Sony has a consumer line-up including a 4K Home front projector, A/V receivers with 4K pass-through, Blu-ray Disc™ players with 4K upscaling, and now a line-up of 4K Ultra HD TVs.
  • Sony was the first to market with a 4K Video Player solution for the home for buyers of its 84“ Ultra HD TVs and announced the world’s first 4K video distribution service.

8. Passive with 4k will likewise cut resolution but you will be looking at what 4 million pixels per eye with 4K?

This question addresses 3D. A 4K Ultra HD screen resolution has 8.294 million pixels. Wearing a pair of passive 3D glasses, each eye will see half of those 8.294 million pixels (~4M pixels)  – a picture for each eye that is still greater than Full HD.

9. Are pixels smaller between 55” and 65” meaning picture quality is less?

Pixel density of the XBR-55X900A and XBR-65X900A is the same. And no, that isn’t a typo. This is possible for a couple reasons. Picture quality is the result of a combination of many factors. The pixels are smaller on the 55” than they are on the 65” so the number of pixels is the same in each TV, which gives you the same 4K resolution. Having smaller pixels does not mean the picture quality is any less, but different sizes have different recommended viewing distances. One of the key benefits of 4K Ultra HD TVs is that the viewer can view the picture from closer than an HDTV without seeing the individual pixels. The size of the TV does have an impact on how close one can stand from the TV without seeing the pixels, however, with 4K Ultra HD TV, that distance is extremely close for either of these screen sizes.

10. Do the less expensive Sony 4K TVs have the same 4K processor?

Indeed they do. All three of the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs include Sony’s exclusive 4K X-Reality™ PRO processor which enhances everything you watch for 4K Ultra HD viewing. The picture engines are the same on the 84-inch, 65-inch and 55-inch, although the three-chip system on the XBR-84X900 has been re-designed into a two-chip system for the XBR-X900A models – the same picture processing engine, just on one less chip.






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  1. xycris wrote: April 16, 2013 3:08pm

    this is great news! i look forward to a 4k capability in your line of products to support this move. hopefully in future nex models or rx models. maybe to greater extent that includes 8k recording, to be the first to offer to semi-pro to enthusiast markets?

  2. jonathan wrote: April 16, 2013 3:49pm

    How smooth will the motionflow be? i hope it is smooth it makes the actor in the movie looks fake like real life movements im tired of 60hz

  3. james braselton wrote: April 29, 2013 8:36pm

    hi there yeah 4k movies will take up 100 gegabytes too 1 terabyte of storage capacity soo we need 744 exabytes dna storage capacity 60 terabyte laser hard drives isoliniar chips

    1. Sony Support USA wrote: May 1, 2013 9:39am

      Hi james, I understand your concerns about the size of 4K content but the industry has not yet decided on a compression standard or media type (maybe it’s going to be Blu-ray but for now who knows). Right now, as far as I know, Sony is the only company that is offering 4K content for the home and that is the player that is being provided with the 84″ 4K TV. Sony will also be releasing a 4K player for our other 4K TVs and in both of these instances you won’t need to worry about the file size because the content is preloaded and managed by Sony. Thank you for sharing your comments with Sony.
      Best Regards, Scott Fuentes
      Sony Support USA

      1. winthan wrote: May 20, 2013 6:26pm

        So i see that, Sony 4K media has only 2 TB for storages, and it said that it will come with preloaded 4K movies. For those movies, storage may take place about 1 TBs i guess. So consumer will have only 1 TB to use, if we don’t have enough space, we need to wipe out contents then. I guess, 2TB is about 40 Bluray Movies storage space. So if we store 10 4K type movies, we will end up with full disk. I guess, 2TB is not enough for movie fan like me who keep all bluray disc with time.

        Regarding about internet connectivity requirements, what is the minimum required for internet speeds connection? Do we have to download the videos to store and have to watch with Media Player instead of streaming? What will be requirement internet speed for 4K streaming instead of downloading to Media Server?
        Can 4K media player run without internet connection for watching?

        Last question: Can 4K media player play with BRAVIA XBR55HX929?

  4. Jimmy Grewal wrote: May 26, 2013 6:09am

    Hi, can you clarify the current 30Hz restriction for 4K over HDMI? I’ve seen some press reports that Sony will offer a migration path to newer HDMI standards that support 60+ Hz at 4K resolution in the future for buyers of their current generation 4K TVs. Do the current generation 4K TVs support playing >30fps video clips over the network or from USB media?

    1. Kathleen wrote: May 30, 2013 10:43am

      Hey Jimmy, thanks for the questions. We’ll answer them in our next Q&A.

      1. Didac wrote: June 4, 2013 12:28pm

        When will you announce if your current 4K TV will support next HDMI 2.0 over hardware upgrade or not? This is a big concern when we think in purchase this TVs.

  5. Juan wrote: June 4, 2013 9:56pm

    Great news. I hope blu rays will soon be able to handle this. Any news regarding hfr as movies like the hobbit and “in the near future” avatar 2 are using this way of filming

  6. Toko wrote: June 7, 2013 10:09pm

    Will Sony provide anything similar to Samsung’s “evolution kit” for it’s 4K TV’s? Will Sony provide HDMI 2.0 and H.265 to consumers now purchasing?

  7. Sony Support USA wrote: June 10, 2013 7:35am

    Hi Toko, unfortunately we are not provided information about new features until they are ready for public release. HDMI 2.0 has not yet been released. Update information is also not typically released until the update is available to the public. You can visit with your model to check it’s speicifications and to see what updates are currently available.

    Best Regards, Scott Fuentes

  8. Red wrote: June 18, 2013 10:40pm

    Great news. How about compatibility with 4K RED ONE movie clips?

  9. Daniel wrote: June 20, 2013 6:30pm

    Notice they did not include the PS4 among devices that support 4k

  10. Edgar wrote: June 27, 2013 3:47pm

    are the 3D blurays we have now transmited into full HD passive 3D? or do we need to wait untill there is a 4k 3D bluray out to benefit from the 4k resolution? i ask because there are some who are saying that the 3D we have today is still only transmited in half the resolution with passive glasses.

  11. TJ wrote: July 12, 2013 12:49pm


    I have the TV and also looking at the Specs for the TV at Sony’s site it indicates that the TV is limited to 2k for 3D. As of today you need Bluray Player that has HDMIv1.4a and can push out a 1080p 3D signal. The TV will will upconvert the signal and and will display 2K.

  12. Nando wrote: July 24, 2013 1:34am

    Hi sony
    It was not mention anywhere in this blog about the recommendations about ITU-R BT.2020.

    it would be wised to tell the consumers that the sony 4k panels are not compatible with Rec.2020.
    Sony is trying to push is own 4k route, using 17 millions colors (rec.709) vs 69Billions colors that is possible with (rec.2020) PLEASE NOTE its B for billions.

    heres some very important of BT.2020 recommendations
    1- 3840 × 2160
    2- 7680 × 4320
    3- progressive scan frame rate Only (not more interlaced )
    4- Current first version of codec HEVC H.265 only covers 2D and lower frame rates + audio , new codec version h.265 is in the works for 3D and high frame rates coming in…2014
    5- hdmi 2.0
    6- Support for frame rates up to 120 Hz for UHD video.
    7- UHD will use either 10-bit or 12-bit encoding, bit coding increases the total number of color and levels that can be represented.
    8- full chroma resolution with highest fidelity 4:4:4 format
    10- UHD support 23.976p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p and 60p

    how many of does 10 points is currently missing in sony televisions using REC.709 ?

    The same is happening in all the tv industry, with current tv specification ive seem avaibale in 4k tvs, they only giving us 10% of really 4k can show us.

    1. jay wrote: September 6, 2013 3:56pm

      true but 2020 is probably 10 years away for most programming and there are no models out there now that fit this standard – as always – if you wait live long enough the standards will improve :-)

  13. jay wrote: September 6, 2013 4:18pm

    recommended 4k viewing distances seem absurd – 5 ft for a 55-60 in set ? Insuring future generations of myopic watchers badly I need of corrective lenses……….

    1. Kathleen wrote: September 10, 2013 11:09am

      Hi Jay, viewing distance from the screen is personal and differs from viewer to viewer. A real advantage of 4K Ultra HD resolution is the elimination of pixelization – the “blurries,” the “jaggies,” and the “screen door effect” that can occur with even Full HD 1080p. A viewer can sit as close as she wants to 4K without being distracted by those unwanted visual artifacts. So, 3 feet away, 6 feet away, or 12 feet away, Sony’s 4K television delivers a stunning, immersive picture.

  14. Beast wrote: October 1, 2013 7:02am

    Can you watch a 4K (UHD).mp4 movie via the USB on XBR-55X900A?

    1. Kathleen wrote: October 4, 2013 4:54pm

      Hi Beast, yes you can!

  15. bo wrote: October 24, 2013 7:15pm

    What are the specs for the X-reality pro processsor?

  16. Johnson wrote: December 5, 2013 5:46am

    Hi There,

    Appreciate for the professional FAQ!

    1. When will be the Sony 4K media player be available in Asia?
    2. Can we browse the 4K contents from youtube directly from 4KTV internet access?
    3. Can we playback the 4K contents from harddrive directly attached to the TV USB? is it still maintain the UHD quality?



  17. Rob MacKenzie wrote: December 12, 2013 10:17am

    I am really annoyed that I cannot stream my 4K recordings from my NAS directly to my XBR-55X850A. When will this capability be implemented? It also does not seem to work when I plug a hard drive into the USB port. Attempts at both yield “content not supported.” Please advise.

  18. Fawad wrote: December 29, 2013 4:49pm

    I noticed that in the frequently asked questions, you stated that Sony 4K TVs will ‘enhance’ content from all sources such as cable, DVD, BluRay and Streaming. Is there any reason why you wrote enhance and not upscale? Will Sony 4K TVs upscale all content (DVD, BluRay, Cable, Streaming) to 4K resolution?

  19. Bill wrote: February 6, 2014 11:18am

    I noticed that you are saying the 4k display is 4 times the resolution of 1080p, but if you do the math, it doesn’t add up. If you multiply 1920 x 1080 two times, it gives you 3840 x 2160. This is two times the resolution of 1080p, not 4 times. Four times the resolution of 1920 x 1080 is 7680 x 4320. This is the resolution for the so called 8k display. Please, tell me how you are getting your numbers because something isn’t right. Thanks!


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