back to article 4K-ing hell! Will your shiny new Ultra HD TV actually display HD telly?

With just about every TV maker showing off 4K sets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month, and companies like Netflix promising to have content available in the format, it’s tempting to think that if you’re buying a new TV, 4K may be worth a look. Or, at least, worth hanging on for until it’s more sensibly …

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Anonymous Coward

It is simple.

Do not be an early adopter.

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Even now I don't think any of the Sky channels are 1080p. 720p at most? The BBC were putting good quality broadcasts out but didn't they lower the horizontal resolution?

I'm not going to wait for broadcast sources. When I went 1080p I bought lots of blu-rays. I'll wait until there's media and equipment for 4k before I bother with the TV.

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Broadcast HD resolutions

Broadcast HD in the UK is 1080i50 - though the BBC use some 'smart' systems to automatically switch between 50i and 25p (e.g. when they play out movies).

I think 3D broadcasts (certainly the ones on the BBC HD channel as was or the BBC Red Button service more recently) are side by side 3D which meant chopping the horizontal resolution in half - two 960x1080 images next to each other.

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Re: Broadcast HD resolutions

Yes, the BBC stuff was side by side; they did a fairly cunning simulcast a couple of christmasses ago of Streetdance 3D http://gonedigital.net/2012/01/02/more-3d-on-bbc-hd-streetdance/ where they used the side by side format for the main transmission, with a red button to change to 2D.

That used the scaling capabilities of the interactive engine to scale the left hand side of the image up to full screen. Less bandwidth than you need to do it the other way - a full HD stream and a separate side-by-side stream for the 3D version - but the consequence is that the effective resolution is lower whether watching in 2D or 3D.

Back when 4K was first talked about, one of the touted advantages of such a high resolution was that it would mean that there wouldn't be such a loss of quality when viewing 3D material. Of course, since then, 3D has become the red headed bastard that won't be inheriting the throne any time soon, and they'll have to think of another way to persuade us we really, really need it.

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Anonymous Coward

"As for the analog insistence of audiophiles, I believe the issue is not so much bandwidth as it is tonal idisyncracies. Some people DO have a very sensitive ear, I understand. Has anyone conducted a scientifically-significant study to see if audiophiles really can tell the difference between a good analog audio setup and a good digital one."

Wireless world tests in the 1950/60s showed that the ears can detect a difference in arrival time of around 1uS. Phasing I guess. All digital audio is passed through analogue filtering before amplification. Any errors will be magnified. I very much doubt that the phasing can be retained in the reproductive system.

HDMI content may be encrypted before the cable and decoded in the display system.

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Boffin

Are you serious?

Phasing is always retained in a 2 (or more) channel system. Seriously, claiming it isn't is audiophoolishness of the highest order.

However, compression will introduce some artefacts and by its nature, lossy compression discards some data. That's nothing to do with it being digital or not - vinyl is a form of audio compression that introduces its own artefacts and discards some data.

Ask yourself one question - How was the audio master recording made?

Everything commercially recorded in the last decade was recorded digitally, using a digital mixing console.

Live sound in practically all but the smallest events uses a digital snake - that's a digital signal path from the microphone preamp to the line-level output to the amplifiers, and in many cases the amplifiers take that digital signal directly.

Those of us who work in the live events industry find comments like the above quite laughable.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not worth even thinking about unless your TV is over 60 inches.

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Wow... just wow

Having read my way through lots of discussion mainly revolving around re whether it's a "HD Ready" style marketing mess and people saying they'll wait until specs are settled before getting one, I'm amazed at the lack of comments calling 4KTV out for the pile of money grabbing horse shit it so obviously is. Don't get me wrong, it's perfect for cinemas, but then most of us don't have a 30 foot screen in our living rooms.

There are plenty of graphs and charts available on the internet which tell you how much detail the human eye is capable of perceiving for a given distance and screen size. I have a 42" TV. For 4K to make any difference whatsoever from 1080p, I'd have to be sat no more than 5 feet away from it. And that's not 'night & day' difference, that's just where the differences _start_ to become perceptible. For a 50" TV it's about 6.5ft and for a 60" it's less than 8ft. Go home and measure the distance from your viewing position to your screen and work it out for yourself. This is so obviously the realms of diminishing returns where the cost, logistics and headaches involved are just not worth it - all so the manufacturers can sell us another TV.

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Re: Wow... just wow

One of those graphs is included in an earlier piece we linked to, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/19/tv_sizes_deconstructed/

So far, most of the sizes of 4k panels being pumped out are excessive for a typical UK living room. Not to mention, quite simply vulgar.

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Facepalm

Re: Wow... just wow

No, the money-grabbing horse excrement is the ludicrously expensive cables.

My personal favourite are the 'special' mains cables going for multiple thousands of pounds that apparently make the power going into your amp 'cleaner' in some way.

4K displays are at least a real thing with a genuine result, even if there's no actual source material available yet.

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Re: Wow... just wow

4K displays are at least a real thing with a genuine result, even if there's no actual source material available yet.

Oh I'm not denying there's a genuine result, my point is that unless you're sitting less than those distances from your screen then it's literally impossible to tell the difference anyway! We may as well buy the magic power cables for all the benefit we'll actually get in everyday practical experience.

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UHD over the air

I'm actually less excited about 2160p as I am about the next over the air standard. This side of the pond, we're still using H.262 for our HD transmissions. That usually means a single 720p or 1080i main channel with a couple of 480i subchannels sharing the 19Mbps stream.

A switch from H.262 to H.265 along with a switch from 8VSB (19Mbps) to 16VSB (38Mbps) might finally mean the end of SD subchannels. I'd be quite pleased if everything was 720p or higher.

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I can't even affrord HD

4K? You have to be kidding.

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Sony and OTA

"Some of the 4K sets that have shipped already have HDMI 1.4, though Sony for one is promising upgrades. Whether it will deliver is another matter."

Yeah I'll believe it when I see it. My friend got a (early model) Sony DVD player, labels all over it stating that it is software updateable. Once he got some DVDs that would not play on it (due to software incompatibilities), he goes to ask Sony about the update. "What update? Just buy a new DVD player". It was software update*able* but Sony did not release a single update for it.

As for 4K itself... I think it's pretty useless personally, it seems like this'd need quite the large screen for it to possibly make a difference. But, if people are interested in buying, they can go ahead.. That said, it seems logical if Netflix can get a 4K stream into 15mbps, that OTA it should be doable in ~15-20mbps. (I won't say 15mbps, necessarily, because an over the air broadcast should expect a much higher data error rate, and so have more error correction, compared to an internet stream.)

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