They Can See Clearly Now—A New School Year’s Resolution

The new school year has started and resolutions are top of mind. Sure, this could mean kids pledging to tackle their homework before the quarterback or spending a fortnight on the science fair instead of a fair part of after school hours on Fortnite. But the real resolution on teacher and admin’s mind has more to do with pixels and OLED panels.

In the world of displays, Full HD once boasted the sharpest picture a teacher could hope for. But new players have upped the game to 4K Ultra HD levels. Crisp images with endless detail reinvigorate lesson plans to engage little minds. Four times the pixels, with a total res of 3840x2160, equals visual clarity and a wow-factor— particularly for work stations where kids sit close to the screen. Even from 12-20 inches, individual densely packed pixels melt together for a seamless image. 

Classrooms upgrading to 4K from 1080p Full HD will only feel a serious impact when viewing material made for those 8 million pixels. To truly take advantage of the display’s visuals; access 4K/Ultra HD content on Amazon, Netflix, YouTube’s HDR Channel and nature travel programs such as those by Jacob + Katie Schwarz — or by building an educational 4K Blue-ray Library. For larger displays, 4K is assumed to become the new standard so investing now rather than opting for soon-to-be-outdated makes sense for the long term budget.

Photography students will love finally being able to access all of the information their trusty digital lenses are capturing. Students with special needs or little ones who struggle with focus and attention issues will love the immersive nature of close image fields sans pesky grids and the distraction of visible pixels. But while “4K” sounds exciting and unbeatable — other factors beyond resolution can impact the projector's overall picture quality. Aspects like higher quality optics/lenses, higher light output and contrast ratios go, longer lamp life, lower noise and better color should also be considered when picking the perfect projector. 

“Ultra HD is the next natural step forward in display technologies, offering consumers an incredibly immersive viewing experience with outstanding new levels of picture quality,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. The consumer electronics industry’s designation for Ultra HD products also defined the core characteristics of Ultra High-Definition TVs, monitors and projectors for the home. Minimum performance attributes include display resolution of at least eight million active pixels, with at least 3,840 horizontally and at least 2,160 vertically. Displays will have an aspect ratio with width to height of at least 16 X 9. To use the Ultra HD label, display products will require at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native 4K format video from this input at full 3,840 X 2,160 resolution.

Sascha Zuger

Sascha has nearly two decades of experience as a freelance journalist writing for national magazines, including The Washington Post, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Traveler, and others. She writes about education, travel and culinary topics.