CES 2013: 4K Ultra-High Definition Tech Will End Up In Your TV Someday Anyway

Posted by on January 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm
You'll need a TV that big (or bigger!) to take advantage of 4K in the first place

You’ll need a TV that big (or bigger!) to take advantage of 4K in the first place.

As you’re well aware, CES is in full effect at the moment and all the biggest players in tech are showing off their wares. While the industry has been cost-reduced like crazy, tech giants like Sony and Samsung are bringing out all their best televisions, looking for the next big technological leap to justify gaining a few more measly points of margin out of their displays. In the past, it was 3D, now it’s apps, soon it’s 4K, a resolution so dense that unless you have a massive television, you can’t even physically see the pixels amongst the pixels. Thing is, this “disruptive” tech is gonna end up in your TV anyway. Just give it a few years.

The first shots were fired this year when Samsung unveiled new 4K TVs, including an 85″ model nested and tiltable inside a large easel. If you’re not familiar with 4K, it’s quadruple the resolution of “Full” HD, 1080p. It’s a lot of pixels and the gold standard professionally for mastering movies. That means that before it’s ported to that 320×200 version you play on your iPod Video, it’s mastered at 4,000 pixels. Because of the format’s size, here’s going to be a dearth of content in regards to delivering that kind of content to anyone, although Sony and RED have some ideas. Sony even demonstrated Netflix broadcasting 4K content, which is probably well out of the reach of most internet connections, unless you happen to live in Kansas City’s Google Fiberhoods.

Strangely, until last night, everyone had been silent on OLED-powered TVs. OLED, should it start to gain traction, will easily be my pick for my next television tech. Instead of just colorizing a big sheet of white light, OLED’s color elements are instead individually activated, meaning there’s no whitewash/backlight bleed in OLED displays, allowing for some of the best contrast in displays and the thinnest profiles. Unfortunately, it’s still new, unproven, and expensive tech. Samsung is still pretty non-committal about pricing or availability, having re-announced a single display and demonstrating (along with LG) a curved model, something that only OLED allows. Then Sony came into their keynote with an OLED 4K TV that might be the best display ever made that isn’t in your face.

Inevitably, all of this will be cost-reduced and even if the technology is useless to you now, it’ll probably end up in your set soon anyway, just because it’s too expensive not too include it. If you’re buying a 720p HDTV these days, it better be 5″ or smaller. Are you excited for these new $10,000 TVs? I know we are.

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