The 4K Resolution(s)

The term 4K is used to describe several resolutions with a width of about 4,000 pixels. 4,096 x 2,160 was established as the native 4k resolution by the Digital Cinema Initiatives. Most of the different resolutions are used in digital cinematography while the resolution 3,840 x 2,160, which is known as 4K UHDTV (2160p), is commonly used in digital television.

4K has become a term to market ultra high definition television (UHDTV) products. Technically 4K and UHDTV are not the same. The 4K industry standard is the resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels at a 1.9:1 aspect ratio, while UHDTV has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 at a aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16:9).

The different widths and heights of the 4K resolutions result in varying aspect ratios and pixels:

Format Resolution Aspect ratio Pixels
Digital Cinema Initiatives
native 4K resolution
4,096 x 2,160 1.9:1 (256:135) 8,847,360
Digital Cinema Initiatives
widescreen standard (Flat cropped)
3,996 x 2,160 1.85:1 8,631,360
Digital Cinema Initiatives
anamorphic widescreen (CinemaScope cropped)
4,096 x 1,716 2.39:1 7,028,736
UHDTV 3,840 x 2,160 1.78:1 (16:9) 8,294,400

In the following image

  • native resolution is presented by the image itself,
  • flat resolution is presented by the red rectangle,
  • scope resolution is presented by the green rectangle and
  • UHDTV resolution is presented by the blue rectangle.


The largest ultra high definition television standard is the 8K resolution.