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Can a 4K TV Improve a HD Picture?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2013) -- Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I know that there isn't much 4K content out there which is a good reason why NOT to buy a 4K TV. But can't a 4K TV upconvert a normal HD picture so it looks better -- better meaning closer to a 4K picture? -- Adam, St. Louis, Missouri

That's a great question, Adam. For starters, you are right. There isn't much 4K content available if you buy a 4K TV, which right now would cost anywhere from
$15,999 to $40,000. No TV channels are broadcasting in 4K and there aren't any discs or streaming available in 4K.

Sony is bundling a free 4K player with its 4K TVs;
the player will include 10 movies in 4K  But that's about it.

So why buy a 4K TV, you ask? Well, 4K TVs and projectors come with what's called an 'upconvert' feature that promises to take your HD picture to a higher quality level, something closer to a 4K image.

If you recall, a similar upconvert feature has been in DVD and Blu-ray players for some time; it purports to improve the standard-definition picture of a DVD so it looks more like a high-def picture.

Does it work? I haven't seen it tested yet on a 4K TV so I can't offer a first-hand assessment. (Note: CNET was underwhelmed when it tested the upconvert feature on Sony's 84-inch 4K set.) However, I will say that the DVD upconvert feature does offer some improvement in a standard-definition picture, although not as much as some CE companies would like you to believe.

So we're going to have to wait on this question. Perhaps when Sony launches
a less expensive 4K set and/or I win the lottery, I can give one a full workout at home.

See More Answers from the TV Answer Man

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