Can I Play 4K/Ultra HD Discs On My 1080p TV?

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A I’m interested in buying a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player but don’t yet own a 4K TV due to budget constraints. Can an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc be played on a regular HDTV? What quality issues would I run into? —Billy Keener / via e-mail

Q Yes, you can play Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs on a regular HDTV. What will happen is that the player will downconvert the 3840 x 2160-resolution video on the disc to a 1080p format your TV can display. It will also bypass any high dynamic range (HDR) metadata since regular HDTVs aren’t capable of processing that information.

As for quality issues, I personally haven’t noticed any serious artifacts when viewing down-converted Ultra HD Blu-rays on a regular HDTV. I should add that many Ultra HD Blu-rays also come packaged with a standard Blu-ray version. So, even if you do buy movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray while saving up for a 4K TV, chances are you won’t even have to mess around with video downconversion.

SkinnyPanda's picture

Think your going about this all wrong Billy Keener. Why get a 4k ultra Hd player when you don’t even know the capabilities of your future tv. If you get a display capable of Dolby Vision, you would need a player capable of supporting it. Save and get the tv first and purchase a player that would support all your tv capabilities. Getting a player now to use with your 1080p set would provide zero benefits as your not taking advantage of the higher resolution, HDR or wider color support. Chances are by the time you have made your tv purchase, players will be better priced than what’s available now. Put the money towards your tv purchase than purchasing a 4k player right now that would provide zero picture improvements.


africord's picture

I believe the "Q" and the "A" for this Q&A are reversed.

dnoonie's picture

So I'm already collecting UHD BD disks for my new purchases (exclusively unless the HD BD price is bargain basement).

All the UHD purchases I've made have come with a HD BD disk too which is what I least until I get a UHD TV and UHD player.