A 4K HDTV is also called Ultra HD TV (UHD TV). This is because 4K has two standards.
One if the cinema industry standard (DCI) with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. The other is the consumer standard referred to as UHD 4K.
Can You Watch 4K on a 1080p HDTV?
Yes, you can watch 4K video on a 1080p HDTV. However, you’ll not get to enjoy 4K resolution. Your video will be downscaled to 1080p.
So, if you’re planning to watch 4K video, you must have a 4K HDTV to enjoy it’s superior resolution..
Does 4K HDTV Require a Special HDMI Cable?
Chances are you’re currently using HDMI 1.4 cable with your 1080p TV. In most instances you don’t have to buy a special cable to watch 4K video on a 4K TV.
HDMI 1.4 can support 4K video up to 30Hz. If you want to watch 4K video at 60Hz, you would need to use an HDMI 2.0 cable.
By the way, 4K video at 60Hz doesn’t really improve picture quality. It just has a higher refresh rate. A higher refresh rate is useful to reduce motion blur in fast motion video as in video games and sports events.
Read Do I Need Special HDMI for 4K TV? to find out more.
Do You Need a 4K TV?
It depends on your needs. If you’re just watching cable TV, you could do well with your 1080p TV. 4K TV broadcasts are rather limited, available mostly from Dish Network, DirecTV, and Comcast and during special sporting events like the Olympics.
But then you get to watch 4K video through video streaming services like Netflix, iTunes, Hulu and Amazon Prime. For this you must have a High-Speed Broadband Internet connection.