Whether you bought a fancy new 4K TV for yourself or received it as a gift (you have great family or friends!), making the switch from regular HD to 4K isn’t as simple a switch as it might seem.
To make the most of a 4K TV, you need to make a few changes.
It’s not difficult, per se, but it does mean signing up for different video streaming plans, checking out new gadgets that support 4K, and looking out for 4K content where it might not be so obvious.
Check out how to make the most of your 4K TV after upgrading from traditional 1080p HD setup:
1. Upgrade your video streaming service to the 4K plan, if it’s available.
Most streaming services offer 4K video, but some charge you a little more for the extra resolution and sharpness.
Netflix, for example, charges $14 per month for 4K streaming. But others, like Amazon’s Prime Video service, don’t charge you extra for 4K streaming.
2. You might need to get a faster internet speed plan from your internet service provider or a better WiFi router to stream and download 4K content.
Depending on the service, you need between 10 and 25 megabit-per-second internet to stream 4K video.
That shouldn’t be a problem for most people in the US. The average internet download speed in the US in 2017 was 64.17 Mbps, according to the internet speed testing site, speedtest.net. That’s more than enough for 4K streaming.
For downloading movies and TV shows you bought, faster internet speeds means faster downloads and less time between the moment you click “buy” and actually start watching.
As for WiFi routers, if you’re still using an old “N” router, it might be time to get something newer. You can usually tell what standard of WiFi router you have with the model number printed on the router itself. If there’s an N in the model number, it means i’ts pretty old and could be bottlenecking your internet speeds.
For newer routers, look for those with the “AC” WiFi standard.
3. Upgrade to a game console that supports 4K resolution.
If you’re a console gamer with an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, you’ll only make the most of your new 4K TV if you get the 4K-capable Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro, both of which cost $400 each.
Of course, you don’t need to buy either of these consoles just for 4K video gaming. Your games will play and look just fine in 1080p HD resolution, even on a 4K TV. They just won’t look quite as good.
Xbox gamers are lucky to have the $200 Xbox One S as an option, which upscales 1080p HD video games to 4K resolution. It’s not quite as good as true 4K resolution, but it’s a little better than playing 1080p HD games on a 4K TV. Plus, the Xbox One S can stream video in 4K resolution from streaming services like Netflix.