Black Friday has passed. I hope you didn’t just dig into your war chest and plop down a few paychecks on a “new” flatscreen TV for Christmas, because just as you sit down in your darkened room, put your feet up, and relax, about to enjoy your new flatscreen HDTV, it is already obsolete before you get it home.
HDTV is being replaced by “Ultra HDTV“. Till now, it has been known in the industry as 4K TV, however the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has officially announced the new name for it: Ultra HD TV.
What is Ultra HD TV? Well just as there are four HDTV specs (720i and 720P, 1080i and 1080P), there are a few Ultra HD TV specs. The CEA determines it to be: “Minimum performance attributes include display resolution of at least eight million active pixels, with at least 3,840 horizontally and at least 2,160 vertically. Displays will have an aspect ratio with width to height of at least 16 X 9. To use the Ultra HD label, display products will require at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native 4K format video from this input at full 3,840 X 2,160 resolution without relying solely on up-converting.”
Yes. At least 2160p, that is twice the current 1080P resolution. At 3840 x 2160, it’s twice as wide, twice as tall, with an 8.3MP image, that’s quadruple the 2.1MP image found on current HD.
To illustrate this, here is a graphic showing the different video resolutions, starting with the original 704×480 (NTSC) or 704×576 (PAL/SECAM). As you can see, 4K Ultra HDTV absolutely dwarfs 1080P HD TV.
An odd side note: The previous 4K-TV moniker refers to the horizontal pixel count, contrary to industry standard, measuring along the vertical axis.
Alright, so aside from costing an arm, leg, and a few other body parts, what are the drawbacks? Primarily, lack of content. HDMI cable specs are capable of handling a 4K Ultra HDTV bitstream, but the industry currently lacks a standard for getting Ultra HDTV signal over HDMI from a playback device. Furthermore, Ultra HDTV is beyond the realm of current BlueRay hardware, so at this time, the technology to deliver native 4K Ultra HDTV content doesn’t really exist…
Luckily, that is about to change in the very near future. All the major Hollywood film studios have 4K stored in their vaults, and increasingly, more movies are mastered in 4K resolution, such as Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, which is being shot on RED Epic digital cameras, which reach up to 5K resolution. It won’t be a far stretch till the industry creates new standards for Ultra HDTV interface, and new Blue Ray style hardware to play movies on. Till then, Youtube has a selection of 4K contentto feast your eyes on, while Sony promises free 4K theatrical films for 4K tv buyers.
To wrap this up in a nice Ultra HDTV bow for the holidays, I am going to leave you with some eye candy… a $25,000 Sony VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector… drool.
What do you think?
I would love your thoughts and comments. You can Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply to as many of your messages as possible, maybe using some questions and answers in a future post.
J. D. Redmond ~ “Dr. Tech” ~ http://www.DrTech.co