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4k tv internet setup

Buying the family a new TV for Christmas? Get your internet right!

Lenny |

The high-resolution future has arrived. 4K, also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition), is becoming accessible. 

That’s great news … but there’s a catch. 

This resolution revolution chews up colossal amounts of data. Remember, a 4K image doesn’t have twice as many pixels as 2K … it has four times more. 

An HD stream uses 6–8Mbps of data – but a 4K equivalent gulps a mammoth 25Mbps. 

Rinky-dink internet won’t cut it for 4K… 

You’ll need to get serious about your connection. Lenny’s here to guide us through these choppy waters … 

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G’day punters, I’ve returned from your local lagoon! I’ve been scouring the internet’s depths for the most authoritative advice on this murky issue. 

Considerations

Consideration 1: Get serious. 

My first consideration might sound obvious, but it’s vital. Make sure your internet connection’s got enough leap! 

No matter how hard you try to hop around it, there’s no substitute for raw bandwidth. Streaming 4K makes your TV hungrier than a starving bullfrog.

So, how fast is fast enough for 4K? 

Try 50Mbps … minimum. That’ll separate the frogs from the tadpoles! 

Consideration 2: When it comes to 4K, ain’t no such thing as too much speed. 

I’m no fan of understatement, as you can tell by my lime-green wardrobe. 

So, while 50Mbps will j-u-s-t get you by in the 4K ocean, 100Mbps is just the ticket. 

That’ll make sure your 4K streams flow nicely, with some left over for other applications (pond monitoring, amphibian chatrooms, whatever).

For that kind of velocity, you’ll need a top-notch internet company. 

No prizes for guessing who I’d recommend! 

Consideration 3: Make sure your internal setup’s built for 4K. 

Beaming pristine 4K over WiFi sounds like the best thing since sliced grubs, right? 

Be careful. Broadcasting that behemoth will sink your poor WiFi network to the bottom of the pond. Your other devices – phones and tablets, for example – may also become swamped. 

So whenever you can, physically plug in all your streaming hardware.

Direct connections are inherently faster than wireless ones. There’s simply no substitute for physical cable. 

But what if your home’s twistier than a platypus’s burrow? You might want to give yourself a shot in the arm with a powerline adapter…

Read all about it in my previous pearl of wisdom, Lenny’s Lesson 7

Stay cool, humans! 

Tips

  • Having a 4K TV doesn’t mean you’re committed to downloading and playing 4K – it just means that you can. Your source material will automatically select the correct resolution. 
  • It’s not just picture that gulps all that data – it’s audio, too. If you’re watching 4K, chances are it’ll be in surround sound. So, if you’ve got a hi-spec audio setup, be prepared for the extra data load.
  • If you’re watching more than one 4K stream at once, you’ll definitely need 100Mps. Running multiple applications is notoriously data-hungry…
  • An alternative to streaming 4K is downloading the whole file first, then watching it. Remember, though – these files are massive!