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February 28, 2018
In terms of screen resolution, 4K is the next level after most TVs went began to support 1080p in the past decade. DirecTV was the first TV provider to offer 4K content through on-demand and it picked up steam with sports programming where viewers could now stream matches in 4K live. Since YouTube now supports 8K video content, 4K video streaming is now becoming more common.
4K is here to stay for TV and video so it’s no surprise that video games would follow suit. The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S consoles were released in 2016. Both are capable of supporting 4K videogaming by upscaling the resolution. In late 2017, Microsoft released first 4K-native console, the Xbox One X.
The Difference between 1080p and 4K Resolution
While the upgrade from 1080p to 4K may not be materially different viewed side by side due to the visual acuity limits, 4K has become popular for games with immersive and cinematic experiences that take place on large screens (at least 55 inches.) Most consoles were only structured for generating enough pixels for 720-1080p game assets and this makes running a game at 4K significantly more difficult if using a non-native console aside from the PS 4 Pro or Xbox One S. You will also need an extremely robust Internet connection in order to get the best possible gaming experience in 4K.
Boost your Internet Speed for 4K Gaming
First, you’re going to want to get the game to run at least 60 FPS. An Internet speed of 100 Mbps would be the absolute minimum for 4K videogaming content with a dual-GPU setup. The latest graphics cards can help you attain 60 fps in most modern PC games that demand a lot of resources, but a dual-GPU setup is the ticket to reaching that frame rate consistently. Without dual-GPU, it would literally be impossible for PC gaming at lower speeds than that.
For online multiplayer games relying on consoles, 100 Mbps is the initial ideal speed to aim for after accounting for bandwidth priority, and if other people are using the same connection for transmitting large amounts of data like streaming videos. By running a speed test, you can find out what speed you are hitting based on how much bandwidth your ISP has allocated to your area.
Get the Right Internet Plan from your ISP
If you’re looking to start playing 4K games or streaming 4K content on a regular basis, you need to find out what your particular service package covers since a fast and reliable connection capable of at least 100mbps is needed for the best quality. You also need to find out where gaming servers are located, because 4K servers can result in high latency when located too far from them. It will also result in a reduced frame rate that makes for a poor experience. 4K-native devices can make this easier but ultimately, server location matters as does the bandwidth.
All around though, 60 Mbps is a good place to start for video streaming but 100 Mbps is the bare minimum to aim for in 4K gaming. As long as your Internet speed is significantly higher than the streaming content’s bit rate and your hardware is capable of handling high-end content, 4K videogaming shouldn’t be that difficult.
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.