Future TV Tech Isn’t 3D, it’s 4K

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone. Perhaps I’m jaded, or simply numb to some of the miraculous gadgetry paraded out year after year, but I wasn’t all that attentive. After all, a good deal of the amazing stuff that comes out of these shows is either so high-end that the average consumer won’t see anything like it until 3 or 4 years down the road or ends up never really making a dent in the marketplace.

Take 3d television: when it debuted at CES 2010, it was heralded as the biggest thing since the plasma screen. Now in 2013, nobody cares. I think this is because the tech just didn’t appeal to as broad an audience as expected. The need for most to have clunky and expensive glasses didn’t help, and neither did the lousy picture quality. While 3D tv’s are still out there, they have fallen into the “expensive minimally useful gadget I use to impress people” category.

However the future isn’t 3D, it’s 4K.

LG’s 84″ Ultra HD 4K Television, available for preorder

If you haven’t heard of 4K television, you will. They were the darling of CES ’13. This tech is more of an evolutionary move than the “revolutionary” move of 3d tv, and chances are that it will be more widely adopted, especially by media outlets and corporations. The “4K” refers to the resolution that these televisions are able to produce, namely horizontal resolutions of about 4000 pixels (3840 pixels to be precise.) That’s twice as high as the current HD standard, 1080. Byte’s George Ou wrote me saying,

That ends up being 4 times the number of pixels, but it actually only represents a doubling of lines.  Our eyes will perceive twice the optical detail.  In the world of photography and video, line count is what counts.

On small screens (if you consider under 60 inches small) you won’t notice much of a difference. However 60 inches is the smallest that 4K tv’s tend to be. Sizes of over 100 inches are possible and, with these high resolutions, they will still be razor sharp. These televisions are available now at about the price of a new Honda Fit, but consider that the first HDTV’s cost about that much at first and they can now be had easily for under $500 for a decent 40″ model.

These new ultra HD TV’s will be able to produce 3D content, likely at a much higher quality than available now. However that’s not saying much. The rub here is that 3D capability is not the major selling feature. It’s really more of an add-on.

The consumer market right now isn’t that favorable for 4K sets, given that most consumers opt for set sizes of 60″ or less and that the current technology is pretty darn good and cheap as well. But corporations looking to project a high-tech and cutting edge image will surely eat these up, as will advertising agencies looking for large digital billboards, sports teams, airports, sports bars, maybe even schools and universities who need ultra-large screens for big classes.

So if anyone would like to send me one to review please let me know, as I’m finishing the basement and need to know where to hang it.



Posted on February 18, 2013, in Entertainment, Tech News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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