4K Terminology Glossary

4K Ultra HD™

A 4K Ultra HD TV has 8.3 million pixels which is four times the pixel resolution and detail compared to conventional high-definition TV (HDTV). This means bigger, more vibrant displays providing an immersive experience, which lets you get closer to the big screen without seeing pixels. Look for CTA’s 4K Ultra HD logo on TVs that meet these criteria.

Smart TV

Most 4K Ultra HD TVs are “Connected” or “Smart,” which means they support streaming apps. These apps can deliver 4K Ultra HD content without the need for any additional devices. Smart TVs get better over time as manufacturers release updates that improve performance and add new content. It’s like smartphones and computers that get better with updates. Some 4K TVs have voice control, so you can use your voice to find shows, control the volume, and more.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR refers to the ability of the TV to make images look more realistic by making the dark parts darker and the bright parts brighter. Colors become more vibrant, and you see more detail in shadows. There are different types of HDR, like Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG.

Picture Modes

In addition to HDR, today’s 4K Ultra HD TVs have exceptional technical capabilities and deliver a wide range of viewing options for gaming, sports and movies. Most arrive with several preset picture modes to optimize the viewing experience for the content. Modes vary by TV brand, but often include:

  • Movie/Cinema: settings designed to reproduce movie and TV content the way the creator intended.
  • Filmmaker Mode™: faithfully reproduces content to better experience the filmmaker’s vision in the home. This mode disables all post-processing (e.g., motion smoothing) and preserves the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates. Filmmaker Mode is a collaboration of leading filmmakers, studios, TV makers and the UHD Alliance.
  • Sports: fast-paced action appears smooth and boosts the brightness, contrast, and color.
  • Game: lowers video processing to reduce lag and increases color and contrast. Some 4K TVs may include FreeSync or G-Sync processors that automatically optimize gameplay.
  • Vivid/Dynamic: Usually the brightest mode, sharpness, contrast and brightness are dramatically increased. Best for viewing in extremely bright environments.

Color Spectrum (Wide Color Gamut – WCG)

4K Ultra HD TVs offer a broader color spectrum and deeper saturation to show you more of the vibrant colors you see in real life. This means you can experience the content as the director intended.


Today’s common panel technologies include:

  • LCD/LED: Light Emitting Diodes are used to generate the light that shines through an LCD panel to create video images. LCD TVs that use LED backlighting are often referred to as “LED TVs.”
  • OLED: Organic Light Emitting Diode displays use organic compounds that light up when electrical current is applied, so no backlight is required. Each of the 8.3 million pixels in a 4K Ultra HD OLED display can be individually controlled to create superior black levels and contrast.
  • Quantum Dots: An enhancement to LCD/LED displays that uses nanoparticles to make a greater range of colors and brightness.

* Some manufacturers modify these naming conventions or use proprietary names to differentiate their products.

Immersive Audio

Features like Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X® let sound come from all around you, even from above. This makes it feel like you're right in the middle of the action. It's a great way to watch movies and TV shows, and it can make music sound amazing.


4K Ultra HD TVs contain video processing to automatically make lower resolution content look better. This means that any content received by the TV will be made to look like it has more pixels than it does. While almost all video can be upscaled to look better, final image quality will vary based on the original content quality.

DEG logo


NEXTGEN TV is a new way to watch over-the-air broadcast TV. This new standard delivers an enhanced over the-air viewing experience in up to 4K Ultra HD HDR that offers improved picture, sound and interactivity. Expected services include interactive content, like on-demand video, an innovative TV guide and advanced emergency alerts. Viewers also will experience Voice Plus audio clarity for better dialogue enhancement.

NEXTGEN TV signals are available to nearly 75% of U.S. homes in many major markets with more being added. See NEXTGEN TV availability in your area.

Look for the logo to identify TVs, dongles, or converter boxes that can receive the next generation of free broadcast content using your existing HD antenna.

About Consumer Technology Association:

As North America's largest technology trade association, CTA® is the tech sector. Our members are the world's leading innovators – from startups to global brands – helping support more than 18 million American jobs. CTA owns and produces CES® – the most influential tech event in the world. Find us at CTA.tech. Follow us @CTAtech.

About the UHD Alliance:

The UHD Alliance–comprised of the world’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies–establishes performance requirements for resolution, high dynamic range, color and other video and audio attributes with an eye toward giving consumers the best possible UHD with HDR experience. Home entertainment products, mobile devices and content meeting these certification requirements bear the UHDA’s Premium Logo marks, making them easy for consumers to identify and purchase with confidence.