Artemis I’s launch will be the first streamed in 4K. Here’s what that means for you
From the desk of Tech Tomorrow:
Monday will undoubtedly be a historical day for NASA as it kicks off the Artemis program, which plans to send humans back to the moon after 50 years in hopes of eventually making it to Mars. But it will also be a historical day for NASA TV—the network’s coverage of the launch will be broadcast in 4K resolution for the first time.
4K refers to a level of image quality that exceeds HD. Traditional HD video has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080–that is, 1,920 pixels on the screen wide by 1,080 tall. 4K resolution doubles both of those dimensions, resulting in a picture with a resolution of 3,840 pixels by 2,160–four times the quality.
In order to sustain the higher throughput required to broadcast in 4K, the NASA TV crew performed a complete upgrade to its equipment. Members of the crew say they’re eager to bring this new stunning standard of broadcast to viewers at home.
So, what does this mean for you?
If you’re watching at home on a device including a 4K TV, modern higher-end smartphone, or tablet, the increased resolution will be immediately apparent. You’ll be able to see greater detail on every element in the frame.
However, this comes with a condition. Stable 4K video streaming demands a high bandwidth Internet connection due to the increase in data required. For those living in the city, this is probably accessible, but those in rural areas with spottier internet connectivity may not be able to experience the full quality of the image.
Even if you don’t have a device that supports 4K natively, you may still experience some benefits. Watching 4K video on an HD screen will result in richer colors and deeper contrasts. Even though this is not the full experience, it is still an upgrade from the previous system.
You can watch the Artemis I livestream in 4K on the NASA YouTube channel.