4K refers to 4K resolution which means that a display device has approximately 4000 pixels of horizontal resolution and 2000 pixels of vertical resolution. It is generally accepted that 4096×2160 represents 4K for Cinema Screens, but other resolutions around these values are commonly called 4K as well.

“Display” is a generic term, and it could be a TV, computer or mobile device, just to cite the most probable ones. Resolution refers to the number of pixels contained within the display matrix within which the pixels are laid outas a 2D grid.

Several 4Ks: 2160p, DCI 4K, UHD 4K…


The resolution of 4096×2160 is also referred to as 2160p (2160 “progressive-scan”) and DCI 4K. It is however not along to claim to be “4K”: UHD 4K is also called 2160p but has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels.

The main difference between the two is the aspect ratio. 4096×2160 is for an aspect ratio of 256:135, while 3840×2160 is for the more common 16:9. In general, it is estimated that UHD 4K (Ultra-High Definition) will be a more common format because most consumer devices such as TVs, laptops and mobiles use 3840×2160.

There are even more “4K” resolutions if you take in to account the cropped formats:

Ultra Wide Television: 5120 × 2160 / 21:9 ratio
DCI 4K (native): 4096 × 2160
DCI 4K Cinemascope (cropped): 4096 × 1716
DCI 4K (cropped): 3996 × 2160
UHD 4K: 3840 × 2160

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Filed in Photo-Video. Read more about 4K.

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