The best 4k upscaling TV uses updated tactics and techniques to make sure the upscaled image looks similar to native 4k content (original 4k content). 4k upscaling uses an interpolation algorithm where the empty or new pixel is guessed from analyzing its surrounding.
The main component needed for 4k upscaling TV is a 4k source, it could be a Blu-ray player, 4k set-top box, or other devices. Also, you need to choose the best 4k upscaling TV to make sure non-4k contents are upscaled with high quality.
Different TV manufacturers like Samsung or LG use different techniques where AI is a well-known feature. While these TVs don’t disclose complete information about their upscaling software and methods, you can look for their picture engine and basic features used for upscaling.
The factors that affect the upscaling of a 4k TV is the source, picture engine, and software. The size of the TV and the sitting distance also matters while watching 4k content because if you sit far away your eyes will not be able to view the 4k resolution even if you have a 4k TV.
What is 4k Upscaling?
A 4k TV will upscale contents to 4k resolution. The 4k resolution, also known as 2160p or QFHD (Quad Full High Definition) that contains 8.3 million pixels. The term upscaling means increasing the sharpness and details of an image. 4k upscaling or Ultra HD TVs perform upscaling so that low-resolution content will fit the 4k screen.
So if you watch content in HD or 1080p, 720p, or in SD format, the 4k upscaling TV will help you to convert those to high-resolution 4k. Once an input signal is received, the TV focuses on minimizing noise, enhancing edges, clarity, and details of the image.
A 4k upscaling TV uses various methods to convert contents to 4k. it uses nearest-neighbor interpolation along with bicubic (smoothing) interpolation and bilinear (sharpening) interpolation.
Upscaling technique is known as the ‘guessing game’ where you increase pixels around one pixel and guess their output. Considering 1080p content, it has 1920 x 1080 pixels where each pixel is converted into 4 pixels.
This is because 4k is 4 times that of 1080p. TV manufacturers don’t reveal enough information regarding upscaling but most famous brands do this job well.
Things Required for 4k Upscaling
When you want to watch some low resolution video in upscaling mode, you will obviously need help from some special features to convert them. Also, video source and tv size plays a vital role over here. So, let’s take a tool what facts you need for 4k upscaling.
The main reason 4k upscaling isn’t perfect is the contents of sources. 4k sources are vastly popular yet so you need to make sure you have got 4k sources down the line. Depending on the type of device you are using, you need to own an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player or 4k set-top box. The UHD Blu-ray players have a bitrate of 128Mbps and can output 4k content. A TV with HDCP 2.2 is needed to play from UHD Blu-rays.
You can use a video download box like the Sony FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player. It will help you to download and store movies from Sony Pictures in 4k. As a 4k source, you can also use the Kaleidescape Strato S Movie player that can deliver content in 4k resolution at 100 Mbps and 60fps. It can download Blu-ray and DVD type content and store them in the internal hard drive.
You can also get 4k contents from:
- Specific shows in Netflix and Amazon Prime video viewed on a 4k TV.
- Using Xbox One or PS4, you can get few 4k contents
- 4k content from cable and satellite
- Amazon 4k Fire TV, Roku, NVIDIA Shield.
- Hypnotic Ink Physics in 4K Slow Motion
- Human Water Catapult – 55 Foot Launch! In 4k
The size of a TV screen matters in 4k upscaling. This is because it is seen that 4k upscaling isn’t very vivid on TV screens below 55”. Another thing to remember is that the number of pixels will remain the same no matter what the screen size is.
If you have the budget and space in your room, experts suggest a 65” or higher TV screen for a noticeable difference between 4k and non-4k upscaling.
The sitting distance based on the 4k TV screen size affects what you can see on your TV. This means for a particular TV size you have to sit a certain distance away so that your eyes can visualize the 4k resolution. If you sit further away, you will not be able to see it.
The following graph shows you a general guideline for normal 20/20 vision for your sitting distance, so even if you have a 4k TV with 4k upscaling content, you will not be able to see it if you sit beyond the distance recommended in the chart.
If you want to see 4k resolution you need to make sure you have the correct HDMI. The HDMI can display UHD contents but with an fps of 30. For 4k, you need HDM 2.0 or higher versions that can play 60fps.
Why Upscaling is a Must for 4k/8k Tv
Is it necessary to upscale low-resolution content to a 4k or 8k resolution? Well, if you don’t upscale the 1080p into 4k the image will not fill the whole TV screen and will look like the image below where the image will take some of the space and will be surrounded by an empty screen.
Since a 4k TV will display a total of 3840 x 2160 pixels on the screen, any content you show on the screen must be of the same size. That’s why the low-resolution contents will be expanded to 4k.
Types of 4k upscaling
Well, in the realm of 4k upscaling, there are some variations that you have to confront some variations. And here we are talking about those variations which may help you to have a better understanding.
4k Upscaling TV
This is the basic idea of upscaling content depends on a TV. 4k TVs has different types of picture processor that helps in upscaling contents. Popular brands are Samsung, Sony, LG, TCL, Hisense, etc.
Blu-ray or A/V Receiver 4k upscaler
Some people look into a 4k Blue-ray player or A/V receiver for upscaling. You can buy a 4k Blu-ray player from cheap to expensive ones. While the best method for 4k upscaling is to own a 4k TV, you can also buy a Blu-ray player for upscaling.
If you buy a high-end 4k Blu-ray player for upscaling, it might upscale contents but if you compare between 4k Blu-ray player vs 4k TV for upscaling, the differences are almost similar. One affordable 4k Blu-ray player is the Sony BDPS6500 3D 4K Upscaling Blu-ray Player.
In most cases, a decent 4k TV can handle upscaling low-resolution contents perfectly. A/V receivers have a feature known as 4k pass-through that helps contents to pass through the receiver to the TV without altering it.
Which Brand Uses What Upscaling Technology?
Sony and Samsung outperform other brands in terms of upscaling. Sony uses 4k X-Reality PRO for standard 4k TV and the X1 Ultimate processor for the Master Series. Samsung uses UHD Picture Engine and the AI upscaling started in 2018 which is currently available on Samsung TV Q60, Q75, Q80, Q90, and Q900.
|Sony||4K X-Reality PRO|
|Samsung||4k AI Quantum processor|
|UHD Picture Engine|
|LG||Picture Master Processor|
|Alpha 6 Processor|
|Alpha 9 Processor|
Which Upscaling Technology Gain More Trust?
Some of the popular upscaling technologies are used by Sony, Samsung, and LG. the AI 4k processor of Samsung isn’t only a buzzword to attract consumers. The upscaling with AI makes these TVs expensive but it is needed for performance.
The X1 Extreme processor of Sony is another famous picture engine that gained popularity. The upscaling with this is sharper and well-detailed. LG also use AI techniques along with their Gen-2 Intelligent processor.
Best TV According to Upscaling Technology
Which 4k TV has the best upscaling? It is tough to recommend the best TV for 4k upscaling. However, cheaper TVs will not display ‘mind-blowing’ upscaling. This is because the cost of TVs increase as they insert several techniques and methods for 4k upscaling.
According to experts and user-feedback, the best TV for 4k upscaling is Sony or Samsung. After that LG comes in the line and then Hisense, TCL, and Philips. The TCL TVs aren’t very good at upscaling and suffers from motion clarity due to the 60Hz panel.
Review of Samsung Upscaling Tv
Samsung Q80T vs Samsung TU8000
|Samsung Q80T||Samsung TU8000|
|Upscaling method||4k AI upscaling||4k AI upscaling|
|Picture processor||Quantum processor 4k||Crystal processor 4k|
|HDR||Quantum HDR 16x||HDR|
|Color||100%color volume with Quantum Dot 4||Crystal Display|
|Motion rate||240 (49” has 120)||120|
Crystal UHD TV is basically QLED without the Quantum Dots. Samsung uses Crystal Processor 4k in its Crystal Series. Comparing Crystal Processor 4k vs Quantum Processor 4k, the Crystal processor doesn’t have AI features. It uses the standard Edge LED light. The view angle and HDR brightness are mediocre. The Contrast Enhancer improves the image quality, especially in dark scenes.
The Quantum Processor 4k in Q80T is more powerful and better than the Crystal processor in Samsung TU8000. It uses its own methodologies of content algorithms when the reference point is absent. It can optimize images and upscale them with precise details. The processor allows the TV to interpolate details and produce a clear final image. Along with the powerful AI processor, the TV has objective tracking sound which means the audio will feel like it is tracing the action.
Samsung TU8000 has very good upscaling capabilities. It can upscale 1080p contents to 4k. the final image we see on the screen that excellent color, brightness, and details. Along with that, the Auto Game Mode prepares the TV for gaming with a lower input lag.
Although the upscaling will not be similar to that of Q80T which uses AI, it is still good based on the budget-friendly price. Overall, the 4k images have excellent clarity and sharp edges.
Samsung Q80T is a 4k TV with best upscaling. It occurs via software technologies and takes place automatically so you don’t have to enable any settings. It uses Machine Learning Techniques and Artificial Intelligence to improve the upscaling method. It can effectively upscale DVD or Blu-ray contents to 4k. The image you will see will have minute details with minimum noise.
In 4k resolution, the TV displays minimum screen blooming and the HDR performance is excellent with a brightness of around 900 cd/m2. However, if you do most of your watching from cable, then Samsung X950G does better upscaling. With the help of Quantum Dot, the TV has one billion colors and the upscaling is done with clarity.
The Samsung Q80T is also known as one of the best 4k gaming TV because of the lower input lag and good response time. It supports VRR and a broader color gamut along with excellent brightness.
Winner: Samsung Q80T with Quantum AI 4k processor for 4k upscaling.
Review of LG Upscaling Tv
LG UM8070PUA vs LG OLED C9PUA
|LG UM8070PUA||LG OLED C9PUA|
|Processor||α7 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor||α9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor|
|HDR||4K Cinema HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG)||4K Cinema HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG)|
|LG ThinQ AI||yes||yes|
|Contrast||Object Depth Enhancer||Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro|
|Clarity||Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhance||Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer|
|Resolution upscaler||4K Upscaler||4K Upscaler|
LG UM8070PUA is one of the best upscaling 4k TV in 2019 that uses the alpha-7 gen 2 processor. It works with contents and ambient lighting and uses deep learning Artificial Intelligence to improve the picture quality. upscaling an image brings noticeable changes in brightness, color, and precision.
The 2nd gen of α7 Intelligent Processor analyzes the original image and improves the quality in terms of brightness, improves color and sharpness. It reduces noise from the image and increases the brightness with AI. This is done by looking into the ambient lighting and then the processor will increase or decrease the brightness of the scenes.
Comparing LG Alpha 7 gen 2 processor vs Alpha 9 gen 2 processor, we see that the Alpha 9 is more powerful than the Alpha 7. The Alpha 7 doesn’t have the vast color storage and may not have as much ‘raw picture processing power’ as the Alpha 9. Overall, the Alpha 9 is an improved version of the Alpha 7.
The Alpha-9 processor is LG C9 follows these steps to improve image quality. It does: Content Analysis> Content Quality Recognition> image processing> AI Engine optimization. It improves brightness, sound quality, and sound tuning. If you are looking for affordable LG TV, then LG Nano 65NANO90UNA90 is one of the best affordable 65-inch 4K TV.
The specifications of Alpha-7 and Alpha-9 are almost similar so the upscaling is also similar. The upscaling of 720p is very good for both TV. The Alpha-9 in LG OLED C9PUA uses AI upscaling along with the Super Resolution feature. The 4k upscaling of 1080p content looks excellent and similar to that of native 4k content.
Along with upscaling, the Alpha-7 processor and spatial recognition technology improves the audio quality and make it sound balanced and neutral. If you think a mediocre TV will fulfill your needs, then you can look for the LG OLED55B9PUA B9 TV which is one of the best entry-level 4K OLED.
Winner: LG OLED C9PUA with Alpha-9 gen 2
Review of Sony Upscaling Tv
Sony X900F LED 4K UHD TV vs Sony A8H Series OLED 4K UHD TV
|Sony X900F||Sony A8H|
|Picture processor||4K HDR Processor X1™ Extreme||Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate|
|HDR||Yes (HDR10, HLG)||Yes (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision)|
|Clarity||4K X-Reality™ PRO, Dual database processing||4K X-Reality™ PRO, Dual database processing, Object-based Super Resolution|
|Color enhancement||Live Color™ Technology
Precision Color Mapping
Super bit mapping™ 4K HDR
|Live Color™ Technology
Precision Color Mapping
Super bit mapping™ HDR
|Contrast enhancement||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-based HDR remaster, X-tended Dynamic Range™ PRO||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer,
Object-based HDR remaster,
Pixel Contrast Booster
Comparing Sony X1 Extreme vs X1 Ultimate processor, it is seen that they differ in terms of power and upscaling techniques. The X1 Ultimate is twice as powerful as the Extreme which is needed for its advanced features needed for 8k upscaling. The X1 Ultimate has object-based image processing where it works with each image in each frame. The X1 Extreme processor works with frame-by-frame images.
The X1 Extreme enhances clarity in every step of image processing focusing on details. In HDR remaster, focuses on every single object and changes the color as per their need which results in more real-to-life scenes and immersive experiences.
Comparing 4k HDR processor X1 Extreme vs 4k processor X1, we see that the X1 Extreme has real-time image processing which is 40% greater than the 4k X1. In Sony A8H, the MotionFlow 1 option in the processor removes judder effectively to make the scenes look better.
The X900F upscaling in SDR and HDR content is excellent. It uses dual-database that minimizes noise and improves brightness and sharpness. With the help of X1 Extreme, you can watch content from Blu-ray and DVDs easily.
The upscaled images have minimum noise and blur. The TV displays crystal-clear images. Overall, the 4k upscaling is impressive and satisfying. It is one of the best upscaling 4k TV in 2018.
The upscaling of the Sony A8H is excellent. The processor will upscale non-4k contents while focusing on color contrast, image noise, and texture. Each color is analyzed with concentration so that they turn out to be perfect.
The DVD contents with 480p might look a bit grainy but the upscaled version is quite decent. The 1080p contents look almost similar and sharper like the native 4k contents.
Review of Hisense Upscaling Tv
Hisense 65H9G 4k UKED TV vs Hisense 55U7QFTUK 4k UHD HDR TV
|Hisense 65H9G||Hisense 55U7QFTUK|
|PQ/chipset||Hi-View chipset||Hi-View chipset
|Wide Color Gamut||Yes, Quantum Dot||Yes|
|HDR||Dolby Vision HDR & HDR10||HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG|
Hisense 65H9G TV uses Hi-View Chipset for improving the images of low-resolution content. The ULED technology and the chipset increases the power and scenes. While they don’t reveal the details of the methods, the TV is known to automatically adjust color and contrast, and brightness as per need.
The U7QF models of Hisense use the Hi-View as chipset and Quad-core as a processor. It uses the Quad-core processor for the Smart TV OS. It is known to be super smooth and faster without any delays or screen-hang. It has Hi-View chipset video processing which is needed to upscale images. While the upscaling is good in most cases, in some content some visible lines were seen.
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The upscaling of Hisense H9G is impressive. whether it is SDR or 1080p files, the final result is of high quality. the 1080p contents look detailed and sharp and look almost similar to that of native 5k content.
It can easily upscale 480p, 720p to 1080p low-resolution contents. If you have budget limitations, then you can look for the Hisense 43R7E Roku TV which is known to be the best cheap 4k TV.
The U7QF uses upscaling algorithms and is known as ‘razor-sharp’ 4k TV. The 4k upscaled images don’t look grainy or noisy. The SD content might not have outstanding definition or clarity, but they look decent with vivid colors. The TV can upscale contents from Blu-Ray, video games, or DVD and make the final image look impressive with good color saturation and real-to-life view.
Winner: Hisense U7QF for excellent upscaling
Review of TCL
TCL 75Q825 4k QLED TV vs TCL 65R625 4k QLED UHD TV
|TCL 75Q825||TCL 65R625|
|Processor||CPU: Quad-core / GPU: Dual-core||CPU: Quad-core / GPU: Dual-core|
|HDR||Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG||Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG|
The AiPQ Engine in TCL Series 6 uses machine learning techniques to enhance color and make images crystal clear. The TV has Contrast Control Zone that works with each image in a particular zone. The Engine uses Smart HDR, Smart 4K Upscaling, and Smart Contrast to improve picture quality. along with this Engine, the TV uses Quantum Dot color technology.
The Series 8 of TCL also uses the AiPQ Engine. With similar machine-learning algorithms, it works with improving the image in terms of ‘visual perception’. The Smart HDR deals with separate video frames and with an AI ‘curated library’ so that the final scene has excellent dynamics and color enhancement.
The Smart 4K Upscaling works with a special machine-learning method to enhance sharpness and making it clear. Finally, the Smart Contrast uses the Contrast Control Zone feature which works with color improvements reducing halo effects. If you want to know about the TCL and LG comparison, then we have brought a cold comparison that may rise your interest.
The upscaling of TCL Series 6 is impressive in terms of color and contrast, clarity, and sharpness. It can easily upscale HD/SDR images to 4k resolution. However, some older content may display some noise which you might not get if you use Samsung or NVIDIA Shield for upscaling.
The TCL Series 8 can upscale 480p, 720p and 1080p contents to 4k effectively. However, in terms of color, the evenness of gray isn’t outstanding while watching dark scenes.
Winner: TCL Series 8. Although the processor and upscaling of both are almost similar, the Series 8 wins in terms of contrast and brightness.
In this article, we have listed some of the best 4k upscaling TVs that you can use for excellent picture quality. While different TV brands use different techniques, we prefer Samsung or Sony for 4k upscaling. Depending on the size of the room, you can buy 55” or 65” for medium-sized rooms and 75” or larger screen size for large rooms.
The reason to choose one of the best upscaling 4k TV is that you can watch non-4k contents into 4k resolution. The resulting image will be sharper, enhanced color accuracy, and detailed. This is needed while you are watching movies or playing games.
Along with 4k upscaling, the TV should have a good contrast ratio, evenness of black and grey color so that the images will look good in dark scenes. To achieve the best results, make sure you are using 4k sources along with a high-end TV.
FAQs: 4k Upscaling TV
In this section, we are going to discuss some of the basic questions that may arise while browsing the 4K upscaling realm. Let’s hop right into it!
Is There Any Difference Between 4k Upscaling and Native 4k Contents?
Native 4k content means you don’t need to upscale the content to 4k. it is already in 4k resolution consisting of 3840x2160p. whereas 4k upscaling is a method done upon non-4k files like 480p, 720p, 1080p to convert them to 4k resolution.
In most cases, 4k upscaled content is similar to native 4k content. But generally, the native 4k content is better than the upscaled content.
What Should Be My Wi-Fi Speed for 4k TV?
Netflix recommends you to have an internet speed of 25Mbps. However, both Netflix and Amazon work fine if you have a speed of 15 to 25Mbps. Along with this, the stability of the internet should be maintained to stream 4k contents. Initially, the streaming devices may show blurry scenes but it will be crystal clear after some time.
How to Check 4k Upscaling While Buying a TV?
While checking TVs in a shop, you need to keep in mind that they are tuned for maximum brightness. But this is not how the TV will look when you will bring it home. To view the display under normal mode, change the picture mode to natural or cinema mode.
After that, watch any non-4k content so that you can understand how the upscaling works on the TV. You can also watch non-HD content to understand what the TV actually looks like.