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back to article OK, forget the 3D telly fiasco: 4K is gonna blow you away - say tech giants

We have mixed opinions regarding the merits of 4K TV viewing here at El Reg. It's something that we have covered in scientific detail. In short, the 4,000-plus-pixel resolution looks great for still images, but misses the point for moving pictures. Reality check aside, that hasn’t stopped world+dog at this year's IFA trade show …

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What the hell? Samsung is talking such bollocks, world's largest my arse.

Did everyone already forget about the 152" Panasonic plasma?

Oh, right, I see, the 152" Plasma has a HIGHER horizontal resolution, actual 4K: 4096x2160.

The Samsung is lower at 3840x2160.

Oh come on, Samsung, that's just total horse shit. We made a large TV with a slightly lower resolution than the world's largest, so now we can claim it's the world's largest 4K TV?

A new low.

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Anonymous Coward

A new low

Such phrases have no meaning in Samsung-land.

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Headmaster

Re: What the hell? Samsung is talking such bollocks, world's largest my arse.

<Pedant mode>

Quote: "world’s biggest Ultra HD TV"

Ultra HD is defined as being 3840 x 2160

The Samsung is 3840 x 2160 and therefore is a Utra HD TV.

The Panasonic is not 3840 x 2160, therefore is not a Ultra HD TV (it's got more pixels in width).

Therefore the quote above is accurate, as the Panasonic is not a Ultra HD TV there isn't being compared against in the comment above.

</Pedant mode>

But it's still Samsung mincing words.

Yes it may be the largest 'Ultra HD' TV in the world, but it's not the largest 4K TV * in the world. A case of the letter of the law, rather than the spirit I think.

The Panasonic is actually better than Ultra HD TV resolution (slightly wider), so is not only a larger TV, but higher definition too!

* There are quite a few 4K resolutions, for example CinemaScope etc.

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Re: What the hell? Samsung is talking such bollocks, world's largest my arse.

I realise the details, but it is definitely not in the spirit of such a statement.

Also, Ultra HD was defined as an 8K resolution before 4K. But now the branding has degraded.

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Re: What the hell? Samsung is talking such bollocks, world's largest my arse.

Well, if people are dumb enough to pay for a 4K TV that 95% of the public will be unable to see the difference in, maybe they can repeat the trick 10 years later and get them to pay for an 8K TV that 100% of the public will be unable to see the difference in.

Even though HD is very visually noticeable for most people, I remember seeing stats a few years ago that fully 1 in 3 people had things configured incorrectly so that their HDTV was in fact displaying SD (i.e. cabled wrong, cable/satellite box misconfigured, or viewing the SD version of channels instead of the HD version)

I fixed two friends setups over the past few years, one hadn't seen what the big deal was about HD but immediately noticed the difference when I fixed it, the other had been bragging about his HD setup and pretended not to notice the difference when I fixed it probably because he was embarrassed at bragging over something he didn't even have.

I expect very few 4K sets will ever display 4K content given how many people couldn't even manage the HD transition where the difference on screen was so easily discernible!

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Meh...

It still just doesn't quite come up to be worth the price.

Jeezy-Creezy, I can't yet get a 1080p download from any of the online video services. Who gives a shit about 4K at insane prices with no content?

I just want to buy, download, and have it stored in my local-network collection. Once I can do that I'll consider starting to look at 4K - and if I want to get a movie in 4K that is TRUE 4K and I already own a license, I want to pay a small upgrade fee, not rebuy the movie all over again.

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Re: Meh...

"It still just doesn't quite come up to be worth the price.

Jeezy-Creezy, I can't yet get a 1080p download from any of the online video services. Who gives a shit about 4K at insane prices with no content?

I just want to buy, download, and have it stored in my local-network collection. Once I can do that I'll consider starting to look at 4K - and if I want to get a movie in 4K that is TRUE 4K and I already own a license, I want to pay a small upgrade fee, not rebuy the movie all over again."

Then don't. The rest of us who want to or can do will do.

I've always thought it silly when self-indulgent people who can't progress with technology complain about the others who do.

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Re: Meh...

The move to 4k televisions will be a fantastic thing, because it'll mean that the standard panel resolution becomes 4k, to the massive benefit of every laptop that isn't the Retina MacBook or the Chromebook Pixel.

For TV itself? Films are already that resolution without the hassle of needing to be redigitised, YouTube can stream in 4k and smartphones have been announced that can record in it. So there'll probably be a pincer movement on production television. I mean, it won't make much visible difference, but you can at least realistically see it happening.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh...

I don't have any such problems with online video. Have you tried http://www.proxybay.me/ ?

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Mushroom

more waste

when there is something intelligent or funny to watch, then, maybe. Thats if I dont have a life and want something synthetic and pathetic. Until then, mere SVGA grade or less will do fine for viewing the latest propaganda pieces or Top Gear reruns.

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Re: more waste

I don't see why intelligent or funny programming would be improved by more pixels, either. I rarely bother watching HD content now, even when it's available, because the HD channels are listed after the SD ones in the programming guide and I can't be bothered to scroll down to find them. I can't think of anything I've ever wanted to watch where HD would have increased my enjoyment.

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Boffin

All that resolution....

... won't make a crap programme any better!

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Re: All that resolution....

Maybe not, but what a monitor!

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4K With Ambilight?

Sure why not.........

... HOW MUCH !?!

Not this year then.

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Could give a fly'sh*t

My HD Project is still:

- Cheaper

- Takes up less space

- Uses less electric

- Very Portable

- Can give an image from 30"-300"

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4k benifits?

I kind of want 4k to succeed, not because it will make much difference to me TV viewing, but maybe it will put an end to the sh*t laptop monitor resolutions we have these days.

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Re: 4k benifits?

I appreciate your sentiment but why do you think that's going to happen?

Most TVs sold now are 1080p but laptops are sold with "HD" screens that are 1366x768

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Re: 4k benifits?

but laptops are sold with "HD" screens that are 1366x768

Which is a lousy ratio for normal use. There's never quite enough vertical space and too much horizontal space. It's great if/when you want to watch a film or show but the rest of the time it seems a poor choice.

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Re: 4k benifits?

As a business user of a 1366x768 laptop (Lenovo T420) I feel the pain! So glad I'm mostly at the office or at home where I have external monitors I can plug in (1600 x 1200 or larger).

Only thing I leave (dual screen extended mode) on the 1366x768 is usually my web browser.

They really should ban the use of lower than 1920 x 1080 on laptops.

Although I'd still rather have 1920 x 1200, 16:10 so much nicer for PC use than 16:9.

Issue I guess is so many people (i.e. non tech budget buyers, i.e. most people) don't even consider the resolution of the screen when looking at laptops. Just cost!

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Re: 4k benifits?

Nearly all Ultrabooks have at least 1080p screens now - even the 11"ers. I know, because I've been looking around with a view to picking one up in the near future.

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I can't see it catching on, for the reason that anything greater than HD resolution can't be discerned by the human eye in a typical domestic environment.

Caravan-sized cinemas, like the one in Fort William, could maybe put such a thing to use, though.

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World's biggest telly

I dare them to show an episode of Embarrassing Bodies at the IFA.

Actually, make that a double dare.

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Don't judge a book by its cover

In this case the cover is the TV. Whether it is 4K, 3D, 625 lines (yikes!) or even in colour.

The "book", however is the content: the programmes, video games, films and is (hopefully) the reason why we bought the telly, in the first place. To watch them, not to dribble lovingly at the sight of an enormous screen.

Now, it does seem that with every new revision of the "cutting edge", the technology improves but the programmes (and other stuff) do not. So we end up spending £100's or £1000s on spiffy new kit, only to turn it on and watch 40 year-old episodes of Dad's Army.

Unless there's something completely immersive about 4K, and there is sufficient content made available specifically for it then there seems little point in upgrading - at least until the currrent telly has worn out.

There does seem to be one aspect of 4K that would make it a "must buy": the ability to get three or four ordinary TV programmes running as P-i-P at the same time. Then we might stand a chance of finding something decent to watch. Provided the picture quality isn't compressed to hell and back, just to get a number of channels down the satellite link.

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Anonymous Coward

Content is key - and doesn't really exist

If I see the idiotic levels of compression of video on demand services and general TV offerings I cannot really force myself to create any enthusiasm whatsoever for an upscaled version of that rubbish whose man ability will be to display the shortcomings so much more accurately.

4K feels to be a failure in resolution on the same scale as Alice in Wonderland was of 3D..

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Re: over compression

Which is one reason I still prefer my HD films on a shiny silver disc than as a download.

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Static display...

If they brought out a version which fitted that sort of pixel-density into something with, say, a 25-inch diagonal - and it gave decent colour-balance - it'd be great for those of us whose main interest is in editing still digital images.

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Roll on the cheap TRUE 4K PJ

Sod you lot trying to download 4K movies, I want to play true 4K games on my XBONE/PS4/PC.

And as for still versus moving, the bit you tend to concentrate on in an image is the non-moving bit, which does benefit from higher res.

Yep, 4K for me please. Hurry up.

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A large TV with that resolution might have a use other than High Res TV

You could still watch normal HDTV but keep in touch with, say, the twitter feed on the program.

Could appeal to viewers of anything from live football to Big Brother

I sometimes do it at home with my tablet on my lap, manually refreshing it, but would be nice to have a self scrolling twitter feed down the side of the picture.

In saying that, anyone know a nice auto scrolling twitter app for windows? Might have to write my own.

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Re: A large TV with that resolution might have a use other than High Res TV

Oh, FFS.

So now, I'll not only be able to watch the footy with crap commentary, I'll also be able to see tweets from people at the match (or watching it on TV) saying "OMG - I'm at the match!", "That was never a penalty!","Clear penalty!","He should never have been sent off", "Blatant red card!" etc etc etc etc. That'll REALLY add to my enjoyment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A large TV with that resolution might have a use other than High Res TV

Dear me. How sad.

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Re: A large TV with that resolution might have a use other than High Res TV

I already hate the twitter stuff they stick on at the add breaks, and that lasts just a few seconds! I really don't care if <Someone I don't know> thought <insert actors name here's> was <some meaningless dribble>.

Even worse are the chat channels they seem to be setting up to discuss the program in real time with other viewers while the episode is airing. (Syfy channel I'm looking at you).

FFS, if the program is good, you should be glued to the TV, not chatting with complete strangers and missing half the show. If the show is so bad that chatting is preferable, then watch something else, or better yet get out of the house and have a pint or something with real friends!

I can just imaging people having to set up firewalls to block specific feed addresses in order to 'clean up' their TV streams!

I predict 4k TVs with constant ticker feeds from Facebook updates, Twitter etc. etc. Announcing what you're watching to the world, and targeted adverts running along the bottom trying to sell you the box set of the TVseries or movie your watching. I expect unauthorised downloading of 'clean' rips will become more and more common.

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4K TVs need 4K content

I'm sure a 4K TV mounted on a wall or stand will look amazing even if it's only showing 1080p, 720p or SD content. But so too would an equivalent sized HD TV and for a lot less money.

I see little reason to buy such a TV now. There is little content, the ink is still drying on relevant standards such as HDMI 2.0, HEVC and the price of sets is ridiculous. Wait a few years and the TVs will be cheaper, better and there may actually be something watching on them. Let some early adopter brag about a TV which cost an arm and a leg with nothing to show for it.

About the only thing I see being available on 4K in the short term is some token support on the next gen consoles which are coming out - 4K picture viewing and suchlike. Maybe a streaming 4K video service turns up a while later (assuming it provides the bitrate to go with the alleged picture quality). It'll be years for HEVC enabled satellite / cable. Waiting is the safest option.

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Re: 4K TVs need 4K content

How long does your TV last?

We've had old tube TVs lasting 15+ years.

My first gen Sony Plasma lasted 10.

If we look at advancements in Networking as well as storage, along w 14nm lithography... We see faster delivery, cheaper and more efficient storage, and improvements in terms of CPU/GPU driving the video.

Imagine your 4K tv having an interface to slot a card the size of a postage stamp, only thicker that contains your movie along with some digital rights tech to keep the studios happy.

How far off is that? 3 yrs? 5 yrs? 10yrs?

You may not want to junk your current set, but if you're in the market to buy a new tv... You will want to future proof it.

Just saying...

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Re: 4K TVs need 4K content

"You may not want to junk your current set, but if you're in the market to buy a new tv... You will want to future proof it."

No doubt about it - but there is a pesky thing called ROI. Think about it: Today a 4k TV costs... 5 thousand? How much a Full HD TV costs today? I'm brazilian, so I don't know the price for You. But, for the sake of argument, let's say 1 thousand.

Question: When my FullHD get obsolete, will the 4k of the time be more than 1 thousand cheaper than the 4k of today? If the answer is "yes" or "it will cost exactly one thousand less", then it is better ROI to buy a FullHD today, and buy another one when the time comes.

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Coat

Re: 4K TVs need 4K content

Marcelo,

When I bought my first gen Plasma, the set retailed in the US for 8,000.00. Today, I can get a better 42" TV for around $500.00 (USD) And of course if I want to get a much better set... I'd end up playing more.

To me, it was worth it because I had a TV I could hang on the wall and even though it weighed a ton, it was still a fraction of the weight of a CRT.

But here's my problem....

If I did what you suggest... buy a cheaper TV and then when the better TVs come out, buy a new one... two things happen.

1) Even today's signal would look better on a 4K than a FullHD set. (The set converts the image)

2) Tomorrow, I would have to ask what I would do with the FullHD set that still works? I mean why buy a new set when the old one still works? (I tend to be the guy who buys something and uses it until it dies.)

Mine's the jacket I have been wearing for 10 years because its still in one piece...

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Re: 4K TVs need 4K content

"You may not want to junk your current set, but if you're in the market to buy a new tv... You will want to future proof it."

Buying a TV set which doesn't implement HDMI 2.0, doesn't implement HEVC decoding, doesn't implement any tuner which supports HEVC is is not future proofing. It's an open invitation to obsolescence. It reminds me of all those people who owned 480p/1080i TVs in the US that used component who became enraged, ENRAGED when consoles and media players ignored their setup.

As a rule if you want future proof wait a few years after a standard comes out.

As for your first gen plasma... I bet it doesn't do HD (or it wouldn't be 1st gen). But maybe you meant 1st gen HD. Then it probably doesn't do 1080p, or 24fps or HDMI 1.3. Things which came later in the HD lifecycle. And even in what it does do it probably has a sucky processor which makes menus and video source switching feels sluggish by modern standards. It probably also cost a small fortune and equivalent TVs were out a few years after for 1/2 the price.

There are benefits to waiting. You save a lot of money and you enjoy a TV which has a robust implementation of the standards and therefore can withstand time better.

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Re: 4K TVs need 4K content

@Dr. Xym.

It was the first gen Sony which did 1080i. And it died ~2yrs ago.

Never had to worry about heating the room with the monitor on. (It was a monitor, no tuner which is fine with me because all of the tuning was controlled from the cable box and it had no speakers....

I don't disagree with waiting. And that's part of my point. I bought the plasma because 1) I had the opportunity to get it at a great price (at the time) and 2) I needed a new television because my CRT was starting to die.

I was mad about having to buy my current TV because I was hoping that my Plasma would have lasted until "42 OLED TVs hit the market.

I agree 100% with your points... but when you have to buy a new set... do you buy one that's behind a bit on the curve, or the latest tech in your price range?

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Would prefer higher framerate

I'd be quite happy with 1080p48 or 1080i96, 1080p96 would be great. Not much point having four times the pixels if it means four times as much motion blur. Doesn't involve much more bandwidth either as you can keep the I frames at the same time interval and P frames change less when they are closer in time.

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Re: Would prefer higher framerate

Not just frame-rate. Dynamic range is overdue for improvement too. Either of these would do more for realism than more pixels (not that I'd turn down more pixels if it was "as well as", rather .than "instead of").

Of course 4K is (contrary to some other posts) easier to find content for. Plenty of films are shot at a suitable resolution (that version would just need distributed beyond the cinemas). However very few are shot at higher frame rates (I can only think of The Hobbit) and as for higher dynamic range, thats probably limited to still images from high-end cameras.

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Re: Would prefer higher framerate

Having watched 50fps progressive 1080 video it's a proper jump forward compared to 3D or 4K. High frame rate even in movies for action etc is such an improvement of the pointless 24fps we've got stuck with and for TV it's a no brainer.

H.265 should allow double the framerate with the same bitrate so hopefully more people will start using HFR progressive (or MBAFF to switch interlaced progressive frame by frame). I don't know how much work is required or how many studios have unused HFR abilities but I'd hope the tech is unused and not unavailable.

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Re: Would prefer higher framerate

What the above said.

Increasing frame rate improves the picture to the viewer more than increasing resolution due to the issues mentioned. Doubling frame rate also means you need less than double the bits/s because the compression works better on images that are 'closer' together. So in fact with the move to H265, you can get double the frame rate plus some extra resolution in the same bits as H264.

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Anonymous Coward

Why the hate?

I don't understand all the hate for 4k, when you will hear the same amount of moaning when a modern 5" phone will not even have 1080p.

Just see the thing as a whopping big monitor, and put the content on it that you want when 4k screens drop to normal prices (just like 1080p screens did) and HDMI 2.0 is available on all your devices.

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Re: Why the hate?

Just see the thing as a whopping big monitor

Some of us don't want a "whopping big monitor".

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Subscription Media

I suspect the ultimate aim of this is to wean us off physical media and go to streaming/downloads with the associated subscription payment.

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Re: Subscription Media

Maybe so but until everyone gets FTTP, it ain't gonna happen.

Until then, I'm sure Hollywood will appreciate you buying your movies all over again at the higher resolution...

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In the meantime,

while we are waiting for prices to fall, there are other uses for this technology.

For example, I live in a small country town that is closer to the Antarctic than it is to Paris, so it would be great if there was an art gallery nearby that had 4K screens on the walls. This would let me see images of some of the art I would otherwise have to travel halfway around the world to see. I could even zoom in on particular areas of a painting, something that in the Louvre would require a large magnifying glass and balls of steel.

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Moving Image Difference

Going back to a bit on what the reg has already said, but with a slightly different angle...

When a shot in a film moves, the shot exposure gets smeared over time, this is motion blur. When the camera is in motion are we really going to be able to discern a difference between 1080p and 4K?

I think 4K needs 50 fps progressive as a minimum requirement.

Such a shame about the lack of interest in High Dynamic Range tech, but I expect that will come when the technology is ready to offer it economically. HDR tech would solve a lot of the OLED "colours look too intense" problems while allowing the display to show intense colours when they should be there (e.g. a red Neon sign in a movie).

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You are looking at it wrong

A 4k TV doesn't need the content yet, what it needs is the ability to display multiple 1080p inputs on its screen simultaneously. THAT will be useful. And very Sci-Fi.

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Re: You are looking at it wrong

If a program is worth watching in 1080p, it's worth concentrating on.

If you've got four programs on at the same time, you're not concentrating on any of them. If you're not concentrating on any of them, you don't really need it in 1080p.

Unless all you want to do is impress your friends.

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