Sign & Digital Graphics

February '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • February 2018 • 21 In addition to HDMI standards, the issue of handling content is another ele- ment that needs to be considered. "4K content requires substantially higher data rates than 1080p content. As a result, the existing H.264/AVC com- pression algorithm traditionally used on various 1080p content can't meet the necessary compression ratios to show the 4K streamed content on various media players at 60Hz," says McCullough alluding to Advanced Video Coding (AV C) versus High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). "Many players require the H.265/HEVC algorithm to be used for 4K content instead, which delivers 4K streamed content at 60Hz, as it can achieve 25 to 35 percent lower bit rates and with better image quality. When cre- ating your own 4K video content, be sure to use HEVC whenever it's supported by your hardware platform." C o n t e n t — B u i l d i n g o n w h a t McCullough described regarding video content, outside of data rate concerns, 4K is able to handle a wide variety of content. "While 4K can handle any type of content like other displays, PC applica- tions dominate as content providers, as video graphics cards have supported 4K output for quite some time," Pratt says. Pratt mentions Apple TV as a driver of more 4K content to users, as well as the growing number of devices that can video record at 4K. "While movie companies shoot in 4K and greater," he continues, "the resolu- tion exists but the file size is too large to distribute, and the required bandwidth can strain delivery systems such as the internet; however, that's changing." "Another challenge," Heberlein adds, "was to produce items that could manage and distribute the 4 K content, including the technology that allows the same UHD signal to be compressed and sent over a network cable for long distance transmis- sions. This is especially important in the commercial space, where AV signal man- agement hardware is commonly located hundreds of feet from the 4K displays being used." Streaming services are also an option for providing content to 4K displays, and Heberlein mentions "manufacturers like Brightsign have 4K media players capa- ble of playing 4K digital signage." Applying 4K Technology As sign makers, it's important to know what environment suits 4K technology best. Though it's true that there is a movement toward 4K replacing other high-definition options, some users are slower than others in adopting the tech- nology. This group may be resisting the changeover to 4K until the last possible moment. But for those who are making the switch, many employ "detail-oriented displays and content ideal for 4K," says McCullough. "Anything from maps, directories to sophisticated and detailed imagery are ideal for 4Ks. The colors and details will be clearer and crisper with a 2160p/4K resolution display." Pratt admits that this isn't a "one-size- fits-all solution" and that, "understand- ing markets and application require- ments and knowing where 4K provides the most benefits is critical. Not every application," he continues, "will need or require 4K resolution. Where it is really 4K displays can be used for both large and smaller cor- porate appli- cations, and can be seen clearly from close quarters and from afar. (Image cour- tesy of Planar) 4K resolution basically refers to a horizontal screen display resolution in the order of 4,000 pixels.

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