In the consumer sector, Ultra HD is currently unfolding its enormous potential. In 2016, 4K UHD TV sales again grew rapidly – in April 2016 alone, six million of these devices were sold in the USA. In a survey of 475 global video providers (including Pay TV and OTT providers) and content producers all over the world, 96% of those questioned believe that the majority of consumers and video providers will have made the move to 4K UHD TV by 2020. This all sounds extremely promising. But what is behind the terms ‘4K’ and ‘Ultra HD’ (UHD for short), and will the technology succeed in establishing itself not just in people’s living rooms, but also in industry?
The advantages of Ultra HD
The Full HD format offers 1,920 horizontal pixels and 1,080 vertical pixels. The abbreviation 4K stands for 4000 and refers to the approximate number of horizontal pixels. 4K technology, officially called “Ultra HD”, has an image format of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. 4K consequently offers four times as many pixels and resolution that is four times greater than Full HD, the standard that, with its 1920 x 1080 pixels , was still the benchmark not all that long ago. But 4K is still not the ultimate goal. Meanwhile there are monitors on the market that support the “Full UHD” or 8K Standard with a resolution of 7,680 × 4,320 pixels.
But what advantages does the 4K format offer? First, the greater resolution means improved definition and consequently another relevant advantage: Since there are significantly more pixels in the same area, the viewer can now sit or stand closer to the screen without seeing the individual pixels. And Ultra HD naturally also offers superior reproduction of colours and contrasts, with greater differentiation in the depiction.
Ultra HD: Still a challenge in industry
Achieving Ultra HD resolution on industrially used wall screens is still seen as a challenge. The reason: Ultra HD places enormous demands on the performance of the computer on which all important machine control information converges. Individual components are subjected to a much stronger load and must therefore be specially adapted to the challenging industrial environment.
Since 2016, one of our customers, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, has been working with a giant 65-inch wall screen that offers an impressive 4K Ultra-HD resolution. This screen is anything but a standard product in industry, but the high resolution pays off every day for the company.
Simplified, intuitive handling of complex processes
The reason: The Ultra HD wall screen allows greatly simplified operation: When used in production, all important indicators on interconnected printing procedures can be seen on the screen at a glance. This allows complex processes to be handled as simply and intuitively as possible, which significantly increases the user’s productivity. The set-up time, or the time needed to configure an order on the printing press, is in fact substantially shorter thanks to the modern control station monitor. And time is money, because every minute saved means additional capacities and consequently higher possible sales for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG customers. Impressive sums accrue rapidly for machines that print up to 18,000 offset sheets an hour. The high-resolution display is made possible by a powerful system that also effortlessly allows representation on an Ultra-HD wall screen. Our Kontron C-series KBox serves as the central computing node for collecting and evaluating all data acquired by the printing presses.
Since 2016, at least one Kontron KBox has been implemented in each Heidelberg sheet-fed offset printer and virtually all digital printers, where it serves as the ideal platform for all current and future process requirements.
You can download the complete user report on the Kontron KBox at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG here.