When I made a dad-joke about 4K TV

Yep, I’m not immune. Back in 2014 I proclaimed that 70% of folks don’t know 4K from Special K, and I backed it up with the most 90s-tastic photo of Special K cereal I could find. You don’t have to believe me, read the article and you’ll see the picture.

The point I was trying to make at that time was that 4K television, which had been out on the market for two years, was a colossal flop. And, at the time, it was. There was no interest in the product at all. In fact I didn’t endorse buying a 4K TV until late 2018 when prices for HD and 4K televisions were essentially identical. Today I tell people they may as well get a 4K TV because they are so cheap and because quality manufacturers don’t make anything else.

4K’s history has just started

The 2010s may not have been the decade of 4K, but the 2020s look like they very well could be. I expect it to be practically impossible to buy an HDTV larger than 32″ by 2020. That means pretty much every new TV will be 4K. We are finally starting to see widespread 4K content. Most of it is streamed, meaning the quality isn’t that good, but at least it’s there.

After all, Netflix’s initial HD quality was pretty poor at first too. By the time we all have 1000Mbps connections to our homes real streaming 4K might work. At least we have DIRECTV in the meantime, the only way to get live 4K that actually looks good.

Unless the winds of political change blow the opposite direction, we could also have 4K over the air television by 2025. That’s the plan right now, and some broadcasters are already doing some tests. Yeah, I’m a little worried those tests will cut down on HD quality, but eventually it’s all going to get sorted out.

Throw-forward Thursday

Ten years ago, as smartphones were just starting to take over the world, there was a real fear that televisions were just going to go away, that they would be obsolete in a world where everyone had their own screen. That fear hasn’t really materialized. TV sales are not as robust as they used to be, that’s true. But, there’s no sign of television’s impending demise. Indeed, as the first millennial turns 40 in a few short years, they’ll begin to realize that watching those tiny screens isn’t as much fun as they remember. I expect TV to surge back up much as vinyl records did a decade ago. It’s part of a lifestyle that millennials and Gen-Z will want to explore. Shared experiences have valuue, and watching TV together is a shared experience.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.