back to article Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

Only 6 per cent of broadband homes are "moderately" or "highly likely" to buy a 4K TV, and 83 per cent of consumers are completely unfamiliar with the term Ultra HD. LG 77EC980V Ultra HD 4K OLED TV LG's 77EC980V Ultra HD 4K OLED TV... pricey but beautiful These are the major findings from a new report from The Diffusion …

Re: Bootnote

In this instance, perhaps you should have listened to what your subconscious was trying to say.

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WTF?

Bandwidth caps?

How does streaming a 4K fillum not affect your download cap? Surely the bytes still have to get to the telly ? Why would storing the bytes before watching use more of your download cap than streaming the bytes?

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Re: Bandwidth caps?

Because people tend to download a lot more stuff than they actually watch from start to finish.

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Anonymous Coward

A 35mm film frame is approximately the same resolution as a 4K monitor therefore unless we adopt 4K we aren't yet seeing films/movies as they were projected in the cinema. I for one WANT to see my films as they were projected in the cinema (minus 30 minutes of godawful adverts and popcorn munching. phone using, chatting fools) and therefore, when a suitable disc player is available, I WILL be heading towards the TV shop!

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"I for one WANT to see my films as they were projected in the cinema"

What, all scratched, poorly duplicated, covered in dust and drying marks?

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And you have a 40ft wide TV to watch it on as well?

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Re: What, all scratched, poorly duplicated,

Don't forget having the reels out of order!

I once watched a real piece of sci-fi schlock on DVD. It was a direct from VHS transfer. And when they'd made the VHS transfer they'd gotten the reels out of order. At first you didn't quite notice the abrupt scene shift. It only became evident when it jumped back to the first bad break. Although, the video scroll lines were intermittently evident throughout the entire film. I wish I could remember the name of it, if only to warn others away from it.

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The quality of the content matters far more than the quality of the picture. I am still perfectly happy with my standard definition TV, but would like to see more money being invested in high quality programming, particularly the arts and sciences, rather than on glossy pictures full of cheap nonsense.

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@jzlondon

I disagree. Sitting down to watch a film and getting that cinema feeling really does matter. I struggle with the Samsung 8000 full 1080p from bluray. It's just looks so plastic. I've fiddled with everything [ahem] on that screen, but it just doesn't look right.

In fact the 720p Pioneer kuro on standard DVD is way more pleasurable.

So it's not the number of pixels, it's what you do with them, as the vicar said.

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as many say...

3D was meant to be the game changer when it started..... not much now....

I'll wait 6 or 12 months to see 'disappointing sales of 4K' reports then.... :/

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They need to release 250GB or 500GB discs for 8K and 4K...

HDTV became a standard thanks to the Blu-Ray and the Sony Playstation3 gave a huge sales boost worldwide.

Sony managers this time decided to steal money and release a Playstation4 fraud which is not the real Playstation4... In fact the real Playstation4 prototype it's still in Sony labs and it's known to feature a 16-core Cell 2 CPU that IBM built for Sony as well as a 500GB holographic discs unit....

If only Sony managers released that top-notch product instead of the ultra slow AMD APU Jaguar fraud along with Microsoft.. then now there would have been no issues releasing high-quality 100Mbps H.265 encoded 8K movies on 500GB discs for The-True-Playstation4 users.

So either Sony releases that prototype renamed as Playstation5 immediately and stops with the current fraud or there is not much hope for UltraHD to invade the market...

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Re: They need to release 250GB or 500GB discs for 8K and 4K...

I've got some spare tinfoil here if you need to fashion some new headgear....

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Re: They need to release 250GB or 500GB discs for 8K and 4K...

> HDTV became a standard thanks to the Blu-Ray and the Sony Playstation3 gave a huge sales boost worldwide.

I rather felt that HDTV became accepted as a standard because it became available at about the time when flat screen TVs became affordable. The move to flatscreens was a significant benefit to a lot of people, it save tones of space in the living room and made bigger teles practical. Digital and HD just happened to be happening at the same time and got a free ride on it's coat tails.

BTW, Sony's version of HDTV was 1920x1200 not the spec we ended up with which is lousy 1080p. Sure looked good in 1990 when they lent me their demo system for a show stand. Doesn't that make it pre-date the original PS?

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HD TV...

Main TV in our house is 1080p, and it does have a BluRay player connected over HDMI.

Of course most content is DVD, or MP4 over DLNA even through the DVD player.

But that's definitely the "second" source - the Primary source is a NowTV box - 720p output.

Can I tell the difference - yes. 720p -> 1080p is a step. But for the convenience I'll take 720p any day of the week.

Why would I be looking to replace my TV, I already rarely use the resolution it's capable of - let alone buying another TV which I'd never use the full resolution of.

If/when it dies then I'll look at what is on the market, but there would have to be something VERY special to make me change before then.

I'd rather like a multiHDMI monitor with decent speakers. That would attract a premium spend from me, rather than "SMART" apps which I know will never see an update, and which I'll likely never use.

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Most of the channels on my Time Warner Cable service were not up to the 1080 TV I used to view them. When they were HD the transmission format was so effed up that you end up fiddling with the screen format to get rid of various black bars, which of course are different on every bloody channel. Just switched to Directv and this problem is no more. However, I see no use for 4K TVs until the broadcasters can get their act together and kick the cable companies in the nuts about how they relay their material, and even then I don't think it will be a market booster, just a niche for videophiles.

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Silver badge

Faultline…

Less breathy than usual but still characterised by stating the bleeding obvious while leaving out important qualifiers.

The report cited refers to US households and these are not the same as the rest of the world: for one thing average broadband speeds in Europe are > 16 Mb/s

4k will succeed only if the programming becomes available. This will be possible for films, many of which have been produced digitally in similar resolutions for years now. But films aren't enough. In order to create significant consumer demand, sports programming will have to adopt the new format. AFAIK Sony was trialling 4k at the world cup. Presumably the results are being analysed to see whether studios are prepared to make the necessary kind of investment (cameras, studios, multiplexes, satellites, etc.) to offer it.

Inasmuch as the technology for the chain has not yet been finalised (HEVC and VP9 are both still in development) it's a little early to expect a major shift yet.

But the screens are a by-product of the ever higher pixel density of our handheld devices and as such will enter our homes in the replacement cycle as our current generation of tellies will probably need replacing sooner than the last - our first colour telly lasted around 25 years, the second around 10.

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Re: average broadband speeds in Europe are > 16 Mb/s

I'm gonna let you in on a little US secret, so don't tell anybody else about this, ok?

Broadband speeds in the US mean fuck all when it comes to TV programming. Whether you're with Comcast, Verizon, Time-Warner or just about any other cable company, they've wired fiber to your house, or at least close enough to your house that the short cable run to your house won't seriously affect the available bandwidth. All they have to do is turn up the spigot. And since the cable stream is treated differently for billing purposes and they control the whole cable experience, they can turn it up or down as they please.

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Can you watch ANYTHING in 4K yet?

As sexy as they are I can't see it catching on for a while yet, most folk seem happy with DVD never mind BD/1080p. I fear it'll be like SACD, as long as it's good enough few see the benefit of upgrading.

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Four problems

The reasons for slow TV sales are:

- most people who want one have bought a new TV relatively recently, and don't believe the endless hype about newer, supposedly better technologies

- the Register published a technical article a while back, clearly demonstrating that higher pixel resolution has little effect on perceived image quality, unless displaying mainly static images. This is due to the way the human eye/brain combination interprets moving objects. Frame rates are much more significant, so for any given bandwidth, less pixel density and more frames per second will always deliver a subjectively better picture. 4K is nothing but a marketing gimmick intended to appeal to the ignorant, not that that in itself is proof it won't work.

- fewer people are watching TV anyway, hence they don't want to buy one. Content is increasingly poor, and no amount of extra bling will polish the turd.

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Re: Four problems

Yes, we need 96fps progressive, then Film at 24 or Digital cinema 48 can be interpolated. We need to migrate to 96fps instead of mad mix of 24p, 25i, 30i 25p, 50p and 60p at present.

Going to 96fps will give a huge improvement. Also Progressive higher frame rate source means that 3840 x 2160 interpolation from 1920 x 1080 will look really good, esp if the camera was 3840 x 2160 @ 96fps progressive and down sampled with anti-aliasing to 1920 x 1080.

UHD streaming or transmission at 25i 50Hz, 30i 60Hz, 50p or 60p is stupid.

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The TV manufacturers want a repeat of the 'flat panel' effect. It won't happen.

For most people, TV's are a long-term purchase. Provided it still works, they would not normally consider replacing them.

Flat-panel TVs, once they became cheap enough, shifted the paradigm. People replaced perfectly functional CRT TVs, not particularly because the picture was better, but because flat-panel TVs occupy much less space than a CRT. Couple that with a significantly reduced power consumption for LCD TVs at a time when people were being made energy aware, and the CRTs went down to the recycling centres by the truckload. That enabled people to reclaim space in their living rooms so that the TV was no longer the major piece of furniture it had been, feel good about reducing their energy footprint and, by the way, have 'better' pictures (although I still know people who prefer high scan rate CRT TVs over flat-panels).

This was reflected in how fast CRT TV's disappeared from the shops once flat panel TV's got to within spitting distance of the price of CRTs. And often, it was not the high cost TV's that generated the profits. It was the wholesale replacement of hundreds of thousands (millions?) of TVs with low-to-midrange price tags that earned the money.

We won't see this happening again unless there is some overwhelming technology leap that provides a must-have feature. 3D and 4K are not that, and I can't really see anything on the horizon that would. Maybe a virtual floating screen so that you don't even need to dedicate wall space, but I doubt that is within current technology.

Planned obsolescence is the manufacturers best bet to keep TV sales ticking over (maybe that is why they use such damned poor Chinese capacitors - the single most common cause of TV failure), but I'm sure if it was revealed that this was a deliberate policy, the consumer groups would be up in arms!

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Re: The TV manufacturers want a repeat of the 'flat panel' effect.

I'd say that gets you about half way there. What finished it was switching from NTSC/PAL to HDTV (or equivalents thereof for your particular region).

In my case, the first flat panel I bought was an HDTV-ready set at 720 because I was looking for a larger living room screen. HDTV was still in the early draft stages at committee and HDMI hadn't been invented yet. Then the standards were mandated. At which point we still had a CRT style TV in the basement. About a year after that I went shopping for the largest one I could afford and which would still fit in my car. I looked at the stuff available in the stores and bought one that was at 1080 over 720 because the display picture quality was better. At this point, I have no reason to upgrade beyond the 1080. In fact, I OUGHT to replace the 720 because 1) it's a bit of pain to add stuff to since it doesn't have HDMI ports, 2) it has some sort of factory defect for which a recall has been issued. But it hasn't been high on my To Do list. Right now paying off one more credit card and then saving the down payment for a new car are at the top of my list (driving a 13 year old car at this point. Growing up I never remember my dad keeping a car more than 5 years).

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Meh

Consistent quality feed required

Having ponied up for an HD TV I was shocked at how widely the quality varied on a single channel. It's more than the expected differences in source material and seems to involve different degrees of compression at different times of day. A bit of a con if you ask me.

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Re: Consistent quality feed required

It's probably a mix of genuine HD content and upscaled SD - ITV do this a lot I have noticed from the EPG.

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Anonymous Coward

4K is another Con

4K will be another con like HD, unless 4K also includes a minimum bit rate.

HD simply defines the pixel size. If the bit rate is not good enough, it breaks up into a blocky mess. However because this blocky mess is still 1920x1080 its still called HD.

HD can look terrible, and often does on Freesat, as soon as there is movement. Without a high enough bitrate HD is woefull, and I fail to see how they can deliver 4K through the same infrastructure that fails to give decent HD.

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I have nothing against progress in screen technology, but I would rather have seen the focus being on improved contrast ratios and more accurate colour reproduction along with improved scaling and IVTC.

Higher frame rates and resolution are nice, but there's no point putting the cart before the horse.

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Anonymous Coward

Pricing fails.

Why did my Samsung 1080p monitor with tuner cost me 400 $currencies and the same 1080p Samsung TV cost $2000 currencies back then?

Why is history repeating itself, with 4k monitors costing 400 $currencies now and 4k TVs costing 4000 $currencies?

If you want a 4k TV, search first on the COMPUTER MONITORS section. Perhaps they will slip some model that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and does everything a TV does. My cable company provides HDMI-cabled set-top boxes, which means you don't even need a TV properly, any monitor with speakers does the trick.

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OLED in 1080p

To be honest having done a bit of research and sat in a few demo rooms.

OLED at 1080p to my eyes looks a lot better than a regular LED TV at 4K.

Most of my content will have to be upscaled to 4K anyway (DVD/blueray/Mp4s

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Silver badge

Well, of course!

Of course there will have to be 4K content for the sets to be of any particular interest. And apparently an enhanced Blu-Ray format that would permit 4K content to be distributed economically is not yet available.

But as soon as that happens, 4K sets should become of interest as soon as people feel they can afford one. Otherwise, they will be primarily of use to doctors viewing digitally-stored X-Rays.

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Boffin

The TV I want...

...has circuitry that inverts the volume ratio of spoken dialog to background music* and sound effects, and automatically knows to leave it off for older material and on for new stuff, but knows about exceptions to the new stuff such as USA's "Burn Notice".

Bring out one of those and we'll start re-arranging the furniture and taking a crowbar to the wallet.

*especially when it's a cut from an album they want to sell you.

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Re: The TV I want...

The Dialog mode button on my AV amp seems to do a passable job of what you're asking for...

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Of course we'll all need new TVs when ...

King Charles the Wotsit gets coronated. (Bows obsequiously, graciously accepts knighthood)

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What "demand"?

I remain totally unconvinced by all and any discussion of the "demand" for this (and frequently any other) new technology. It seems to me that companies within the media technologies industry have been desperately flailing around for the last few years looking for any new thing they can manage to hype enough to revive their flagging revenue streams. Blu-ray; HD; 3D; 4K; curved screens (yeah, right.... getting a little desperate there, aren't we, guys?) - lots of things they can do, nothing that the market as a whole seems to particularly want or need. And certainly nothing in the way of new tech that the market is going to avidly embrace while the vast percentage of available content doesn't support it.

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Yay for 4K

I just bought a 50-inch Samsung HU8550 for $1800 (after $700 instant rebate) to replace the ancient 42-inch analog 720p plasma set that came with my new house (burn-in and crazy pixels galore). This unit is certified Netflix 4K compatible, but I fully expect the primary 4K content will be from projecting photos. A 4K TV has 8 megapixels and is ideal for that purpose. The price is about double what an equivalent 1080p unit costs today, and most likely the price will fall down to the current level within a year or two, at which point no one will buy a 1080p model, just like no one buys SD or 720p today.

The key is to buy a set with HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 and HEVC/H.265, which only became available in 2014. To qualify for the UHDTV 4K label, TVs also need 10-bit color, which is not yet widespread.

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Anonymous Coward

Surprised you've missed another weakness

Consoles. Consoles have, and will remain, miles behind PCs for proper high resolution gaming.

If you the PS4 and Xbox had been up to the job of using a 'current gen' 4k TV, or even 3D, demand for newer TVs would have been through the roof.

I'll be getting a 4k TV when I redo my living room later this year, hooked up to a gaming rig. But for normal TV viewing? I can't see the point.

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MJA

It's too soon.

This was the issue when HD TVs first approached affordable. I bought my first in 2006 and it was 4 years before I had any decent HD content displaying on it, by which point TVs were cheaper and better quality.

I bought my newest HD TV last year for nearly half what I paid for my first ever one. It is better in all ways and has Freeview HD. It has taken 7 years since my original HD TV for me to become fully content with HD viewing.

I did see a Samsung 4K demo on a curved TV and I could see the difference. It looked spectacular. Judging by the first HD 1080 demos though, I know it will be at least another 4 or 5 years before we can get anything approaching 'demo quality'. Either in terms of cost (people won't be as willing to swallow the jump up in price from Blu Ray to 4K video as they were from DVD to Blu Ray) or broadcast source (I won't pay Sky or Virgin to get 1 or 2 4K channels). When the decent 4K panels are sub £800, 4K is availalbe on Freeview and 4K video disk players cost less than £100 to buy, I'll consider.

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4.5k

I for one am waiting for 4.5k TV to arrive before I splash my coin down!

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4K to show HD plus additional content

A 4K screen could be useful to show both an HD picture, plus additional content, such as a couple of thumbnail channel preview channels, a Skype video call, news headlines, and Twitter feed.

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: 4K to show HD plus additional content

My eyes! The goggles they do nothing.

Apologies for recycling a reply, but, you know...

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FPS > Pixels

I was in the Brisbane Sony Centre the other day picking up my SRS X9 and Sony's latest and greatest 4K TVs were out on display showing 4K content from the world cup.

Firstly more pixels does look nicer. Whether you are standing close up or further away.

But what I thought could really improve things and make the TV more like a window onto reality would be a much higher frame rate. The detail was really good on the footballers at 4K but the movement was still flickery.

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Pint

take a bow ladies and gentlemen

I sincerely applaud you for that headline.

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I'll buy one...

...eventually, as a computer monitor, when they make one that's color accurate enough for Photoshop. But not at $1K.

And certainly not as a TV.

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Great arguments here.

Why would you want to be able to make out the pixels?

Why would making them smaller be a bad thing?

Dirt-cheap 4K screens are coming, and behind that 8K.

If you don't like it, stay in your cave and don't buy one.

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The article (and most of the comments here) are wrong!

I work at a major distributor in the US and the 4k sets are selling VERY nicely. (Curved sets, not so much) This is happening, right now. People ARE buying them, as in most cases, the 4k sets are selling for what a top quality 1080p set would have sold for last year. As far as content, we are seeing Netflix streaming 4k content RIGHT NOW, including their top watched shows, "Breaking Bad" and "House of Cards". YouTube also has TONS of 4k native content, including documentaries, "indie" films, movie clips and trailers and more.

So, poll all you want, nay-say all you want, but these ARE selling...like it or not.

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Re: The article (and most of the comments here) are wrong!

So the poll, from a reptable company with mutliple data points, is wrong from the perspective of your single data point with a vested interest in not being laden with stock you cannot sell without massive discounting. Hmmm. If 'one' is buying a quality TV now and the price is not too different one might as well buy 4K as a means of future proofing. Just as not so long ago one might as well have bought 3D (still not much content outside of BluRay). However, at a screen size practical for many (most) homes one is buying pixels one cannot see (although in a chain of MTF processes one will still perceive some improvement) . As everyone is pointing out currently getting half decent 1080 broadcast content is problematic let alone 4K. By the time 4K content is abundant the 4K TV you buy now will be poor in comparison to then current models. Just as the LG "SMART" HDTV I bought 3 years ago is getting dumber by the second as its ability to support newer or reconfigured services diminishes (for Roku sells a cheap fix). Which basically sums up as right now there is no compelling reason to buy a 4K TV, but don't let me stop you; personnally I suggest saving your money and going to the pictures instead.

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Anonymous Coward

I would take a 4k 24" monitor...

... any day. Sitting 60cm away from a 4k monitor should be glorious. No point for that resolution in a TV, though.

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