This is going to sound like a rant and that's right... it is a rant. Good God, all I hear about is 4K this and 4K that. Will we please fix HDTV first and then talk about 4K? Why do we even have 4K television to begin with? We can't even get 1080 done right in the United States. Warning, before you do this I have to warn you that you will never be able to watch your cable TV quite the same after you do this experiment. You have been warned! Seriously, when was the last time you looked at your television that's being fed a signal from your local cable company? I mean really looked at it! Take the time to really look at the picture. Notice something? I'll give you a hint... it's not HD. Well, it is "HD" in the sense that it's better than 480 but not by much when you start seeing the compression artifacts such as crushed blacks, macroblocks, etc. Yep, start looking for them. This is the part where you will never be able to look at cable TV quite the same anymore, you're going to find yourself picking the picture quality apart after this. Trust me, I do and it's annoying as hell. You see, I know what HDTV is supposed to look like. I have seen it! Where? Blu-Ray of course! Go find yourself a copy of Avatar on Blu-Ray and be prepared to have your mind blown. That's because the Avatar Blu-Ray is the considered by HDTV enthusiasts as the gold standard by which all other Blu-Ray discs are measured up against and fail. Why? Because the encoding was just that damn good! HDTV is supposed to take your breath away with vivid colors and sharp and pristine picture quality, none of which is what you get when you subscribe to most pay-TV providers. Why is this? There must be a reason! Well, the reason is that we just don't have enough bandwidth going to our homes in the United States to be able to support a properly encoded HDTV broadcast video stream. Most video encoding experts agree that to provide a well encoded HDTV broadcast video you need at the very least 12 Mbps for acceptable video quality, 16 Mbps to provide superb video quality. Guess what? None of the providers in the United States provide HDTV video streams that come even close to this. Most compress down to 8 Mbps, some even worse than this (*cough* uVerse *cough*). Even the lauded DirecTV, the once gold standard when it comes to HDTV broadcast, still can't provide anywhere close to the required bandwidth for a properly encoded HDTV video. So here it comes to the question... Why are we even talking about 4K television when we can't even do 1080 correctly? Why are we talking about 4K which requires nearly four times the bandwidth that a 1080 video stream needs and we don't even have that? Yes, I know... NetFlix and Amazon are providing 4K, this I understand. But the difference is that it's pre-encoded so the encoder has had a lot more time to be able to really crunch that video stream down to an acceptable stream size while still maintaining superb picture quality. This is all thanks to something called multi-pass encoding along with variable bitrate encoding. Obviously multi-pass encoding cannot be done with broadcast video because the encoding has to be done in real time. Variable bitrate can be done but most cable companies don't do this, the only provider than does this is DirecTV and still they can't even get 1080 done right. So to compensate for the fact that we can't do multi-pass encoding to real time broadcast video we need to have a higher bandwidth profile to be able to provide for a superb picture quality. So why 4K? Well... I think that it's much like 3D. We need to get people to buy new TVs since most people already have a 1080p set. In the future we may all have enough bandwidth but that will require the providers to lay down fiber to all homes across the United States but lets face facts here, that's at the very least 10 or 15 years down the road. Crap.