If you need a new TV go ahead and get a 4K/UHD TV, if not, I think they are still an Optical Financial Illusion

4K Ultra HD TVs, Optical Financial Illusion?

Look for TVs on Amazon, walk into Sears or your local Best Buy and all you’ll see the splendor of the “new” 4K TVs. They may also be marked as UHD (Ultra High Definition).  The demo videos of butterflies flapping their wings as dew drop fly around are stunning. Pretty much the same videos we were amazed by when 1080p TV’s were first featured.

Optically the new 4K TV are definitely something to behold but again I judge this based on the demos provided by the manufactures. Some argue that the difference isn’t that big as the human eye has trouble distinguishing between 1080p and 4K.

One look at the TV below which is the Samsung UN105S9 Curved 105-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV and  one can’t help but go wow, but at a price tag of $119,999.99 we are absolutely dealing with an Optical Financial Illusion.


Samsung UN105S9 Curved 105-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV


The same can’t be said for some of the more reasonable models. I’m personally shocked how fast prices are coming down on these. I purchased a nice 55Inch good old fashioned 1080p TV only two years ago and I can’t help but notice some of these new 4K TVs go for less than what I paid.

Most 120Hz (the rate at which the screen refreshes) still seem to be around the $1000 mark but there are some lower than that.

The VIZIO M55-C2 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV goes for $999.00 and seems to get a good set of reviewsVizio_120HzThe more mainstream brand Samsung UN55HU8700 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TVcurrently goes for $1598.00 Samsung_55Inch_The Sony XBR49X850B 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV will run you $1499.90 as of today

SonyXBRSo price-wise buying a 4K isn’t that much of a financial leap (from 1080p only a few years ago). If you are in the market for a new TV and you are willing to pay close to a $1000, I would say go ahead and get a 4K. You don’t want to be “stuck” with a 1080p 4 years from now when 4K has become the norm (who knows how fast or slow this will happen).

If you’re not in the market for a new TV like I’m currently not, then I would say HOLD OFF, buying a 4K TV to replace your perfectly good 1080p TV IS an Optical Financial Illusion. Here is why:
There isn’t much content yet for the 4K and the content that is available comes at a premium. The 4K players are still very expensive (upward of $600) and movies for those players will run you $30 (remind you of the day we upgraded to 1080p and Blu-Ray not too long ago?).

Streaming is available but you’ll need to pay for the premium packages. I do have to wonder though what 4K streaming will do to the bandwidth of your internet connection.

So my conclusion is twofold:

  1. If you’re in the market for a new TV because the old one is giving out and you’re a sucker for high quality picture: I DON’T consider the 4K (although Pricey)  an Optical Financial Illusion.
  2. If you have a perfectly good 1080p TV but think you have to hop on board the 4K train: The 4K I DO consider an Optical Financial Illusion.

In the second scenario I would wait a few more years and you’ll be able to buy them MUCH cheaper AND there will probably be actual content available (again at better prices).

Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section.

Want to read more about Optical Financial Illusions visit the Optical Financial Illusion page


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About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.