Upgrading to 4k

I’ve had my projector for around . . . five years now? Something like that. And I’ve been very happy with it. I remember when I first switched from standard definition to HD. It felt like I’d been seeing the world through blurry glasses all this time, and suddenly I’d gotten my prescription fixed. Since then, film and TV have continued to evolve, with offerings now that are 4k or even 8k in definition. (For a full explanation of the different definitions, see here.)

I’d held off upgrading for a number of reasons. First, it would be a real pain in the rear to do. My A/V receiver only did up to regular HD, so I’d have to swap that out, and that’s a lot of wires you have to futz around with. Second, I wanted to wait until I could upgrade one last time and then not worry about it anymore. While TV resolutions might keep increasing, the human eye’s ability to tell the difference does not. With a 105″ screen, as long as you’re sitting closer than 14 feet to it, you can see a difference between HD and 4k. To see the difference between 4k and 8k, you’d have to sit around 3 feet away. That ain’t happening, so there’s no practical need for me to get any higher resolutions.

Also, I didn’t have a 4k projector. I wanted to switch to a laser projector, because those are brighter and don’t need the bulbs switched out. And as long as I was doing that, I wanted to upgrade the sound in the room to the latest surround platform, which is Atmos. (With Atmos, you install speakers in the ceiling, so sound isn’t just coming from around you, it’s coming from above as well.) Again, I doubt I will need more speakers than that for my space. Any more speakers, and it’ll be more speaker than walls.

But upgrading all of that is expensive, and so that was another thing holding me up. I’d done the research, and I knew what I wanted to buy, but I was going to wait until I had the funds.

Then the royalty check for The Perfect Place to Die came in, and suddenly I had the funds I needed to make the change. I decided that would be an excellent way to celebrate the success of the book, so I pulled the trigger and have spent the last week swapping out most things in my movie room. A new A/V box, brand new speaker wire, four new surround speakers, two ceiling speakers (yet to be installed. I have to cut into the ceiling . . .), and a new projector.

Can you tell a difference? Definitely. The picture is crazy sharp. Daniela described it as feeling as if the people were literally in the same room with you. We watched the climax of Avengers Endgame, and it just looked incredible. I’ve watched some World Cup in 4k as well, and you can see pretty much everything.

So now I’m selling my old stuff and no longer worrying about upgrading anything again. Would I recommend 4k and Atmos to everyone? Probably not. For one thing, you have to have a big screen and be sitting not too far away for you to really tell the difference. (You can read all about that here.) Just because a TV can be a certain resolution doesn’t mean you’ll notice. For another, it’s quite tricky to set a system like this up on your own. You need to really want to do it, and do a lot of research to find just what you want. (On the plus side, I’ve spent this time rewiring me room so that most of the cables on the walls are hardly noticeable.) So in the end you have to balance between how hard it is to do it versus what you’ll get out of it.

But personally? I’m very happy with the result, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about it.


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