from the style-and-substance dept
Well, if you've been paying attention to the news coming out of CES, one of the new buzz words you may recognize is "4K TV", which offers picture resolutions up to 4 times what was previously available on big screen TVs. But, just as there was with 3D TVs, questions abound about whether or not a large enough market exists for these products.
The word 3D is barely being uttered at CES 2013, but just about all the major TV makers are talking about 4K or ultra-definition HDTV that has four times the resolution of those 1080p sets many of us now own. That's a lot of pixels, which means the picture will be sharper not just when you're sitting several feet away from the set but even if you get up close.The idea here is that at some point, there are going to be diminishing returns on resolution. Whether 1080p represents that point remains to be seen, but it may be reasonable to think that we've reached a level where more needs to be done to generate interest in higher resolution TVs besides just announcing them and showing the normal demos. They tried that with 3D TVs, along with a few movies that lended themselves well to the 3D experience, and we know that wasn't enough. The real opportunity here is content, specifically good 4K TV content that really takes advantage of all that the technology has to offer. That means content shot with the higher resolutions in mind, including mind-blowing shots that will simply pop with the higher resolution. Sony is the big player here, so you can probably already guess the route they've decided to go.
But most us don't get all that close to big screen TVs. The 4K sets being shown at CES are big. Samsung has an 85 inch set, Sony is already selling an 84 inch model. About the smallest set you'll find is 55 inches but even with that size screen, people tend to sit a bit from the screen. I have a 55 inch 1080p set perched several feet in front of my living room couch so I rarely get close enough to my TV to notice any gaps between pixels.
Taking advantage of the fact that it owns its own movie studios, Sony is trying to jump start content by re-rendering some of its own films into 4K and encouraging short film makers to create content. But it will still be awhile before there is enough native 4K content out there to give viewers a lot of choice of programming.Sorry, but rehashing old content isn't going to do the trick here, and a lack of early adoption and interest may doom 4K TV to 3D TV's fate. It's all about the implementation. Your new release should show us why we already want the product, not try to generate interest that wasn't natively there. Higher resolutions could be a selling point, were there content that took advantage of it. Given that Sony, as already mentioned, owns its own movie studios, I would have expected them to have timed the product release to something they'd created to take advantage of it. Sadly, it looks like the $20k+ 4K TV devices won't be off to a hot, or useful, start.