This will be the year of the 4K television. Let it be known. At least, as far as announcements go.
That’s the word coming from the Consumer Electronics (CES) Show in Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest annual consumer electronic tradeshows.
Held each January, CES is a chance for the top electronics manufacturers to unveil their upcoming products and by the looks of things, 2013 is going to be all about 4K television sets.
Now you may be asking, what is 4K and can I eat it? The answer to the latter would be no (unless you count a tasty format for your eyes to digest), but 4K is essentially super high-resolution, with some calling it “Ultra High-Resolution.” While HD has finally become the standard, it seems that TV manufacturers are already looking to the future as they begin rolling out their 4K-compatible sets.
While 1080P resolution is generally around 1920×1080 pixels, 4K can range from 3840×2160 to 4096×2160 — or more than twice that of what most people have become accustomed to.
Samsung, always pushing towards dominance in pretty much all of the key electronics fields, unveiled a huge 110-inch 4K TV in Vegas earlier this week and was just one of a few brands to show off their new sets.
But what does this mean for you, the consumer? Should you go out next month and plop down thousands on what manufacturers are touting as the “latest and greatest,” in television technology?
No, no you shouldn’t.
You see, unless you happen to have a 4K video player (which don’t yet exist) or happen to have some futuristic 4K digital package from your local cable provider (which nobody has) the only 4K experiences you’ll be having are the ones you can shoot on your own 4K camera.
You see, there is literally nothing that is providing content in 4K at the moment apart from the Internet. None of your favourite shows, none of your favourite movies are in 4K. Gaming consoles are not in 4K. The only thing you’d be able to do is custom load your own 4K videos onto the new sets, if they let you.
However, Sony is hoping to change all that. Announced towards the end of 2012, the Japanese manufacturer is set to offer a $25,000 85-inch 4K display later this year that comes with a “4K Ultra High-Definition” player, loaded with 10 4K movies. The player will be a hard-disk server rather than a disc-based machine and would be the first real 4K experience consumers could actually enjoy from the comfort of their couch.
Being able to watch 10 movies for the low, low price of $25,000? Maybe not so great.
So while having a 4K TV set to come home to at the end of the day would be just dandy, the reality is that we’re likely half-a-decade off from seeing the resolution adopted by the general public. At this point, there are still channels that aren’t even offered in high-definition. Heck, we still have to go through that medium’s format war.