Most of what we’ve written and read about 4K UHD pertains to film and/or television (with the exception of our recent post about HDR in AV). It’s important to mention where we think the technology will be important in specific vertical markets, too. We think there’s a particularly important play for UHD in transportation, security, and healthcare. Here’s why.
When people think of 4K UHD, they think of big screens where the higher resolution really matters. But as we’ve repeatedly said, UHD is more than 4K. Features like Wide Color Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) improve the look of an image on any screen–even the smallest.
In fact, WCG and HDR will make a huge difference for displays on cars and in planes, and in other less-than-ideal viewing conditions. With greater contrast between lights and darks, HDR will be essential on airlines–you’ll be able to view your screen clearly even though your seatmates have their reading lights on or the window shade open. Pretty soon transportation AV will HAVE to adopt UHD — not for the resolution, but for the overall improvement in picture.
You know the complain about high-tech surveillance as portrayed in TV/movies, where a character zooms and sharpens an image in order to identify a suspect? That’s not possible with low resolutions–there’s a limit to the “zoom and sharpen” effect. But with higher resolutions — think 4K, 8K, even 16K, suddenly what used to be science fiction can become reality. Security cameras using 4K UHD could conceivably cover a broader field, and/or offer much more detailed pictures.
In security applications, HDR is once again an important feature of UHD. Picture a scenario where a suspect is recorded on a dark street beneath a bright streetlight. At normal dynamic range the suspect’s features would be washed out. But at high dynamic range, it will still be possible to view details, even with the high contrast scene. When visual information is as important as it is in most security contexts, image quality matters!
Video plays an increasingly significant role in healthcare. Whether we’re talking about imaging applications like the video recorded in an endoscopy or surgical procedure, or remote medicine applications such video appointments with specialists, visual detail is crucial. The color and resolution provided by 4K UHD could give doctors the detail they need to accurately diagnose and treat illnesses. WCG and HDR will give doctors that use imaging–radiologists, for example–more detailed visual information and thus more insight into their diagnoses.
Of course, there will be many more vertical applications of 4K UHD, especially as the technology becomes more mainstream. We think these are three of the places to look for it first.