4K Advertising Face-Off #1

The AV industry has been reacting to the new Ultra HD or 4k resolution displays and many have brought up concerns about the “availability of content.” In this series, we will face off the resolution of a 4k Planar® UltraRes with a variety of common advertising platforms to illustrate that experienced graphic designers, advertisers, and brands have no problem creating “beyond HD” content and in fact, have been doing it for decades.

In this first battle round, we compare the Planar UltraRes 84” LCD display with a full-page advertisement in the iconic New York Times newspaper. The Planar UltraRes measures 84” diagonal, or more than 6 feet across (in landscape, although the product can also be mounted in portrait for life-size impact). The pixel resolution of the display is 4x full HD or 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall.

In circulation since that first issue on September 18, 1851, the New York Times has won 112 Pulitzer Prices and is the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the US. It is America’s newspaper, operating under the motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” The paper has tracked changes to the city, the country and world for nearly two centuries and has contributed to the launch of many brands and campaigns.

A full-page center spread in the New York Times measures 20.6” wide by 10.875” tall. Newsprint is notoriously difficult to print upon because the ink absorbs into the paper and spreads. As a result, the off-set printing process for newsprint is a coarser than the equivalent glossy magazine ad. At the recommended 85 lines per inch used for off-set printing or 170+ dots per inch for digital files, the files would measure 3,502 pixels wide and 1,849 pixels wide. To compare different aspect ratios, we can multiply the width and height to achieve a total pixel count.

In the final tally, the resolution of a full-page spread in the New York Times requires a file about 80% of the size that is required for native resolution on an UltraRes display, but is still 212% the resolution of a full HD display. This variance is within the mechanical specifications for the ad submission. In other words, the magazine would take a submission that was 100% UHD resolution.

If the aspect ratios were compatible, upscaling a New York Times advertisement to a Planar UltraRes display would look twice as good as a full HD (1920 x 1080) image on the screen which customers do all the time and the Planar UltraRes supports with it’s 8 distinct inputs all capable of 4k and 1080p input and the unique MediaPlex features.