Should you buy an Ultra-HD TV?

Consumer Reports puts them to the test

CLEVELAND - Just when you thought you had the sharpest picture possible on your high-definition television manufacturers are promoting ultra high-definition, also called ultra HD, UHD or 4K.

Consumer Reports has tested several 50- to 60-inch UHD sets from big names like Samsung, Sony and Panasonic and the television expert says ultra high-definition TVs has a lot to offer. They deliver four times the number of pixels as regular high-definition sets, so they’re capable of razor sharp detail, especially if you stand up close.

But here’s the rub: from farther away, say, the distance you might be sitting in your living room, the difference between ultra high-def and high-def can be difficult to detect. Another issue: what to watch. Right now there is not a lot of 4K content to watch, so that means you will be watching a lot of regular HD content on your ultra HD TV.

How does that look? Actually, quite good, testers say, because the ultra high-def sets can “upconvert” regular HD programs to the higher resolution, making details look smoother. How well a TV performs the upconversion process is one of the things that differentiates sets.

So, should you buy an ultra high-definition TV? Consumer Reports says that if your TV peaks, you might want to consider an ultra HD TV. But for most people, a regular high performing, 1080p high-definition TV is still a great option.

Those ultra high-definition sets Consumer Reports tested cost between $2,000 and $8,000. A great 60-inch 1080p high-definition TV costs far less. These three are Consumer Reports Best Buys: Sharp Aquos LC-60EQ10U for about $1,300, Samsung UN60H6350 for about $1,400 and the LG 60PB6600 plasma TV for about $850.

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