Knights of IOT User Quest: 4K No way! Challenges with 4K

We’ve loved writing about our own escapades with smart devices in our own homes and we really try to make it user friendly and most importantly – HUMAN. These devices have to form part of our lives and integrate with everyone in the home not just the tech lovers and developers.
With that, we sometimes get contacted for our advice or recommendations. It’s great to hear from you and we love to be involved, as every scenario is different. Here’s one below we thought we would write up

“One thing that strikes me odd/annoying is that 4k TV’s tend to have just one HDMI port that supports it and it isn’t configured by default.
With consoles coming along with 4k (and potentially 8k) functionality, I find that I could have 2 consoles and Apple TV that support it.”

Gary- The Quest Giver

Trying to think about a solution for something like this, involves a few aspects, let’s explore them. Firstly, thinking about the ecosystem(s) that are at play and how they are compatible. Secondly, thinking about the users and other members of the household and making it easy and simple for everyone.

Wait, what do you mean by 4k?

A little tangent here first on the actual problem. 4K is actually a terminology that has blended quite considerably with UHD (ultra high definition). 4K refers to movie grade things and is really only to be considered for the actual cinema and projection type equipment. UHD is the LCD or screen mirror of this but the two terms have become extremely blurred to the daily consumer (and even us! We had to unpick this knot). You’ll see lots of things advertised as 4K or 4K UHD. Check out this link for further reading https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/174221-no-tv-makers-4k-and-uhd-are-not-the-same-thing. That being said a lot of services offer UHD content which when you’ve only got 1 input port on your screen then you have to choose what gets connected…Or do you?! How do you decide which input option gets access to that luscious UHD graphics?

Keep your devices in use:

We’re a big fan of not throwing away technology until it’s really past it. A crop of UHD TVs from a few years ago (ours included) typically only have 1 port capable of true UHD content whereas current TVs and screens are certainly being fitted with more.
The first part is relatively simple; by buying a HDMI (KVM) switch like the one below, you can add UHD input capacity without buying a whole new TV. This particular model we found had ‘auto sense‘ for detecting the active input and switching to it. That’s built in smarts! It also had 3 input supports which would be enough for Gary’s specific system. We balanced this off against a full Keyboard, Video (monitor), Mouse (KVM) switch due to price levels.

UGREEN Switch- Source: Amazon

Perfect, problem solved? Well yes and no. The initial problem is solved however it’s not really smart! Another remote? Great…

It’s not smart if you need a remote…

So we went a step further here with a suggestion to install a Broadlink device as another piece of infrastructure. We first heard about these from Paul Hibbert (his review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FUln2xMIIQ) which allows it to control any remote control device (not just the HDMI switch). We think that’s pretty cool and it could replace as many remotes in that space as required so…TV, soundbar, set-top box…the list goes on. It integrates with the smart home ecosystems too. Voice command and away you go.

Whilst this seems like a relatively large investment just to solve the first problem (and it IS!) having base infrastructure that allows you lots of connectivity choices for the future is a great thing. Also probably cheaper than a new TV.

Thanks Gary for getting in touch with us, we will love to hear how you are getting along.
Have a quest for us to take a look at? We’re always happy to hear from you!

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