During the past few years, 4K technology has become increasingly mainstream, with 4K monitors becoming more affordable. As a result, we are seeing more and more 4K UHD products deployed for a wide range of use: broadcasting, digital signage, and corporate boardrooms, as well as display applications in the security, military, and healthcare industries.
Despite the increasing prevalence of 4K technology, the limitations imposed by human vision raise some questions about 4K deployment. What industries can benefit most from this higher pixel density, and by extension, in which situations is the incorporation of 4K UHD processing technology most effective?
To assess the direction that 4K technology is headed, let’s consider some recent developments in 4K implementation across market segments.
In the broadcasting industry, for example, Fox Sports Network is using 4K cameras and replay systems for football games and other sports telecasts to provide higher clarity when compared to regular HD television, and enable commentators to zoom in on particular areas of the action without losing resolution. When spectators view this ultra high-resolution video on 4K monitors, the result is an enhanced viewing experience.
2. Digital Signage
In the digital signage market, there is a growing realization that one large 4K monitor may be superior to a 2x2 video wall of narrow bezel monitors. With a large 4K monitor, advertisers get the same resolution as a 2x2 wall array at a comparable price-point and without the visual inconvenience of monitor bezels. For larger installations, a video wall of 4K monitors would have far fewer bezels than an HD video wall of comparable size, again enhancing the viewing experience.
3. Corporate Communications
4K technology is also making inroads into corporate boardrooms. As businesses replace HD projectors with 4K projectors and monitors, they benefit from a dramatic increase in brightness, clarity, and visibility. The result is an impressive installation that makes a statement. Higher-resolution 4K surfaces, whether individual monitors or a video wall array, enable the simultaneous display of more data, provide improved clarity for corporate applications like videoconferencing, and enhance collaborative workflows for decision-making.
For security operations centers, control rooms, and surveillance applications, operators rely on high-resolution visuals and video feeds to be able to monitor a range of factors and facilities. More and more companies are developing ultra high-resolution surveillance cameras that provide security operators with the sharpest, most precise imagery possible. With 4K-compatible display processors and monitors, operators can view this imagery without downscaling, and can zoom in farther without affecting clarity. This enables them to better monitor and analyze system resources and respond to potentially critical situations.
5. Military and Defense
Many military and defense applications require the visual clarity and precision of 4K technology. A single 8 megapixel (4K) monitor used with multiviewer is ideal for a number of display applications including vehicle, vessel, and airborne consoles, mobile command centers, tactical operations centers, and UAV ground control stations. With a robust processor, 4K video walls can be used to provide enhanced situational awareness in a range of mission-critical military applications.
Finally, one of the most compelling applications of 4K imagery is in healthcare. Today, doctors and medical technicians have access to the highest-resolution imagery possible to make accurate decisions about patient care. The advent of 4K monitors certified for medical imaging and for use in surgical suites is revolutionizing the practice of medicine. New technologies enable the simultaneous display of patient data, vital signs, and video-assisted surgery, all on a single monitor. Whether powered by multiviewers or video wall processors, 4K monitors provide 8 megapixels of resolution to display vast amounts of data and vivid imagery to doctors and technicians.
The Advantage of 4K
The real advantage of a 4K display may have little to do with 4K imagery, but rather with the usefulness of 8 megapixels of resolution to display multiple images simultaneously without downscaling. No matter what industry you are in, the benefits of ultra high-resolution can be effectively implemented to fit a situation’s needs.
Bob Ehlers is vice president of Vertical Markets and Strategy at RGB Spectrum.