Who needs to read this: CI firms
Why: In addition to staying on top of the latest 4K/HDR displays, integrators should also become fluent in explaining the necessity of upgrading the client’s cables.
Customers are contacting their local integration firms and wondering about upgrading to Ultra HD 4K/HDR displays. It’s a great opportunity for the integrator to re-visit all of the technology in a client’s home, as other upgrades and new technologies might merit discussion. Integrators, in addition to staying on top of the latest 4K/HDR displays, should also become fluent in explaining the necessity of upgrading the client’s cables, as the likelihood of the existing cables meeting the advanced specifications of full Ultra HD 4K/HDR are somewhere between slim and none. Let me recommend a simple analogy you can use so your customer doesn’t freak out about having to shell out again for new cables.
Here is a simple visual explanation of the 4K /HDR specification (image courtesy of Metra Home Theater Group)
Explain to your client that the cable is analogous to the highway that the data travels on from source to display. Their old cables were able to handle a few lanes of ‘traffic’ that ran from their Blu-ray player to their 2K display. Simply put, 4K/HDR needs more lanes to handle the increased traffic of the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players. Pixel count, refresh rate, how many pixels are receiving the color, and the bit count are all cars on the highway that provides Ultra HD 4K/HDR.
Here’s the real kicker, though. Let’s say your customer says, “I already have 4K cables. It said so on the package.” And that may be true, they may indeed be “4K/HDR compliant”. But be aware that they may only meet the minimum requirements to be able to make this claim. These minimum specs will not provide enough lanes on the data highway to provide the picture quality of Ultra HD 4K/HDR. To better understand, here is a scale of the range of 4K/HDR specifications: Note where the HDR spec comes into play.
The customer sees 4K/HDR on a package and they think they have the correct cable for the new 4K/HDR and in reality that may be incorrect. For example, if you want to play a Ultra HD BluRay HDR movie on your new 4K/HDR display – the lanes/bandwidth needed will be 18 Gbps and fall somewhere on the far right of the line in the above graphic. The cable to the left of the line will either downgrade the picture or completely fail even though the package has “HDR” written on it. Only a cable that has been tested and certified by a reputable institution will provide the Ultra HD 4K/HDR home theater experience your customer’s are looking for.
So, the next time a customer asks about upgrading their home theater to Ultra HD 4K/HDR, use this analogy so they can fully understand the possible extent of the upgrade. Providing your customer with all of the information up front will make it much easier to get to “yes”.