back to article Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

Amazon has announced that it's teaming up with Samsung Electronics and media firms like Warner Bros and Lionsgate to try to drum up consumer interest in "4K" ultra high-def tellies. The online warehouse's Instant Video subsection said that it wanted to work with top Hollywood studios and the world's leading electronics firms …

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  1. ItsNotMe
    FAIL

    WGAF

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: WGAF

      Go and see one of these in the store and tell me you still don't want one.

      Over the Christmas holiday I ran into a samsung 84 inch 4k tv (with an eye-watering price of $39,997). There was a moving cityscape playing, and it reminded me of "Gallifrey Falls No More" (spoiler alert!). It was scary how much detail there was.

      It's silly to buy one now while there's almost no 4k content (though it does upscale HD stuff really, really well) and they're not ramped up for mass sales yet, but those same crazy prices were true of the orginal 1080p sets, and they came down to earth in a year or so.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: WGAF

        > Go and see one of these in the store and tell me you still don't want one.

        Of course putting your nose up to the screen doesn't count.

        What kind of impression does it give in a real viewing environment that closely matches your own house?

        "Artificial benchmarks" really don't tell you anything and never have.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: WGAF

        @Pet Reeve - "Go and see one of these in the store and tell me you still don't want one."

        I saw one in the store. I didn't want one.

        Before, that, I saw 3D TV in the store. I didn't want one.

        Want to hear more about the premium-TV market I haven't wanted? It's a pretty long list. To give you a hint, my only video-related expenditures for several years have been a Netflix subscription, and a few tickets to first-run movies at the theaters.

      3. E 2

        Re: WGAF

        I want one in the 32 to 40 inch range for use as a computer monitor, but it has to be priced at $500USD or lower.

        Qua 4K TV: I mostly am still watching upscaled DVD content on my HD TV. Bluray still does not have enough content, never mind 4K.

        In any case, the reason for consumer apathy is not the tech. Such a low percentage of Hollywood movies are good movies that the future of HD and UHD is a steady stream of vapid action flicks with a very rare quality drama or sci-fi in the mix. Explosions look great at UHD and HD, but more pixels do not equate to dramatic tension, good plot, good dialog or good acting.

        Given Hollywood's lack of interest in releasing re-mastered HD quality back-catalog movies, I see no future in UHD panels for TVs.

        1. Badvok

          Re: WGAF

          "I want one in the 32 to 40 inch range for use as a computer monitor, but it has to be priced at $500USD or lower."

          I think you are pushing your luck to get any sort of decent monitor in that size range at that price, let alone a 4K monitor.

          However, there is the Dell P2815Q which is a 28" 4K monitor that has an RRP of $699. To keep the cost down they don't really support gaming at 4K, it will only do 30Hz (but will go to 60Hz for FullHD).

      4. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: WGAF

        "though it does upscale HD stuff really, really well"

        Cannot bring myself to... yep, lost the will to live.

      5. Mike Flugennock
        Mushroom

        Re: WGAF

        "Go and see one of these in the store and tell me you still don't want one..."

        I don't need to go to the goddamn' store to decide that I don't want one. Christ, man, have you seen most of the crap that's on American TV these days? Nearly FORTY THOUSAND GOD-DAMNED DOLLARS so I can watch Duck Dynasty and Two And A Half Men in 4K Hi-Def? Are you fucking NUTS?

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Mike Flugennock

          You're still watching TV? Don't you have a life? I guess not...

          Now, given a good copy of LOTR directors cut, a 4k UHDTV and some mushrooms I think this would make a wonderful weekend.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
            Trollface

            I love seeing Internet forum commenters tell other people that they don't have a life.

      6. DougS Silver badge

        @PetPeeve

        Oh, you mean the rigged demos where they show you high quality 4K content on a top dollar 4K screen, then show you a deliberately crappily encoded HD version on a middle of the road (at best) HD screen?

        I was lucky enough to see a demo in Vegas last year that was exactly what you need to see to actually see the difference (or lack of) It was a 4K screen that was running a high quality demo next to a middle of the road HD screen blah blah blah as usual, but they screwed up and at one point in the 7 minute long demo they showed the same content in 4K and HD on the 4K set - first with upscaling and next without. It was designed to show you how great the upscaling of HD content was, but if you looked at it from the distance you'd view that TV if you owned it, you found the 4K difference was not really noticeable unless you looked for it - and even then it was minimal. It is miles from the difference between HD and SD.

        Those 4K viewing distance charts are right, unless you sit so close to your TV you need to turn your head to see action move from one side to the other, or you have a 80" TV in a NYC apartment living room, the difference is so tiny you'd never notice it if unless you knew to look for it.

      7. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: WGAF

        And why do they always show slow motion stuff on these demo screens? Is it because the pathetically low frame rate means that in faster moving stuff, you lose much of the benefit of the extra pixels?

        The other problem I have that an 84" screen is way too big for my flat. Let me know when there is a 32" or smaller screen that I can put on my desk and attach a computer to.

  2. Phil A.
    FAIL

    4K Streaming?

    I can barely manage 1080p streaming with my crappy rural internet speed of 3-5mbps, never mind 4K: Think I'll pass on this one

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: 4K Streaming?

      Amen to that, plus I've bought and re-bought enough of my movie/TV collection in the various formats over the years to want to do it again in 4K format. And of course a lot of the stuff will either never be available in that format anyway, or would be so messed about with that the higher definition would probably show up more imperfections etc and make the whole thing look worse.

      That said I'm old enough that my eyes would probably struggle to notice the difference anyway, at least without Amazon-sponsored laser surgery... ;)

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: 4K Streaming?

      I can get about 7.5 and I can't tell the difference between 720 or 1080 at that (some high action stuff looks better in 720). 4K I hope you have 30-40 mb/s, unlimited bandwidth, and a BIG TV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 4K Streaming?

        I hope you have 30-40 mb/s, unlimited bandwidth, and a BIG TV

        Yes (Virgin media), Yes (VM again), and No .... need to explain this to my wife!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 4K Streaming?

          I hope you have 30-40 mb/s, unlimited bandwidth, and a BIG TV

          Yes (Virgin media), *Yes (VM again), and No .... need to explain this to my wife!

          * Until the traffic shaping policy kicks in and then you don't have 30-40 mb/s.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 4K Streaming?

          "Yes (Virgin media), Yes (VM again), and No .... need to explain this to my wife"

          The same Virgin Media that is well known for video streaming issues as well as being the only major ISP to still have traffic management limiting the unlimited bandwidth. Imagine adding 4k streaming to a network which already often has traffic congestion problems.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: 4K Streaming?

        I have 30mbs, was 60mbs, often still get issues with Netflix, maximum speed is the whole issue; there are servers, caches and everything in between.

        We will need the infrastructure to improve somewhat, however, I think it will improve somewhat, it generally does.

        By the time I come to replace my 2K telly, years away I hope, a 4K one might be a reasonable choice, along with OLED, curvyness and the sure-to-upcoming 6D or whatever.

        1. E 2

          Re: 4K Streaming?

          6D - you can go back in time, watch original release of great flicks of the past and do so in alternate universes while moving along a different vector!

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Oh Homer
      Coat

      Re: 4K Streaming?

      Same here. I can barely manage 480p streaming on YouTube, never mind 4K.

      Plus it only seems like five minutes ago I bought an HD telly, so I probably won't be in the market for a replacement for another couple of decades, if my last one is any indication. In fact I still have a Sharp B&W portable somewhere, circa late 70s, with a "Solid State" symbol next to the rotary tuner. Yes, it still works.

      Maybe if we weren't stuck in the middle of The Great Depression 2.0 (are we allowed to call it that yet, or do we have to keep calling it "austerity"?) I might consider pissing away all the money I don't have on Hollywood fads like 3D, 4K or whatever other bullshit they come up with to convince us to pay again for all the films we already own, and it'll take a hell of a lot more than stupidly high resolutions to convince me to buy any of the new garbage that passes for entertainment in Hollywood these days. Maybe if they tried making something with an actual plot I might be more interested, or (God forbid) a film targeted at intelligent non-American adults instead of gormless American teenagers, preferably one that isn't yet another fucking comic-book adaptation.

      Excited about 4K? I've been more excited waiting for a bus.

    4. Zack Mollusc

      Re: 4K Streaming?

      I hope you have 30-40 mb/s, unlimited bandwidth, and a BIG TV

      No ( Virgin Media ), no ( Virgin Media again ), and no ( 28" CRT and it still shows the artifacts from the over-compressed crappy SD (!) video sent by Virgin Media )

  3. Anonymous Coward 101

    You mean those 3D TVs aren't the absolute pinnacle of audio visual technology, and were really just a barely-useful novelty?

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Coming soon...

      4K, 3D, Smart TV.

      Come on, everyone buy a new TV... please.

      The stock market expects us to keep growing like we did when everyone was switching from CRT to HD.

      1. Moosh

        Re: Coming soon...

        I recently purchased a new 32 inch HD TV. It cost me roughly £290 and its lovely quality. The store had other 32 inch TVs that looked nicer and were slimmer, but they cost roughly £100 more because they were SMART TV's.

        Oh boy, a TV that can connect to the internet?

        Isn't that just my computer?

        I was, however, disappointed to find that the TV I had purchased had no VGA or DVI input.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          DVI input

          Just need a DVI to HDMI cable. It's the same signal except no sound over DVI, Should be cheap (if you avoid Monster and friends).

          Something like this...

          http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10231&cs_id=1023104&p_id=2405&seq=1&format=2

  4. James 51 Silver badge

    So, how will my collection of DVDs going to look on the 4K bendy TV?

    Actually, what my two year old would love is a massive touchscreen TV. Any sign of those?

    1. The_Gruffalo

      I hear you there. So many fingerprints all over my lovely telly.

      1. JB

        I remember as a lad many moons ago touching the TV screen and getting a huge static charge right through me. Those damn CRTs! Now when you touch a flat panel, you just get a slightly warm finger, and strange looks from the wife!

        1. ridley

          You did not do it right then. As a poor mans Van De Graf I used to use a square of silver foil which would "stick" to the screen when you turned it on. By appying a crocodile clip to the edge various static exp could be performed.

          However just be careful when taking the foil off the telly..............

    2. Pet Peeve

      They'll probably look great. I can tell the difference between a blu-ray and a DVD picture at a glance, but DVDs still look quite good on a modern set, and they'll look as good or better on a 4k tv. It's all about the upscaling, and digital anything upscales very well.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: digital anything upscales very well

        Oh really ? Here's something to try : go take a picture of anything, put it in an image editor and enlarge it by a factor of 4.

        Then I dare you to come back and say that again.

  5. AndyS

    3D

    No doubt once this is out, there will be 3D 4K (maybe it's there already?). Then there will need to be a new generation of media formats to replace blu-ray, as it will only be able to hold 25% of a film. So on top of your £5,000 telly, you'll need a £1,000 player, and a fibre-to-the-house data connection. You'll need to wear annoying, bulky glasses (only 2 people can watch at once, unless you want to spend £150 more per person). And of course you'll need to to re-buy all your existing films again at £45 each (remastered yet again, so they'll have to be much more expensive).

    So remind me again, what's the real benefit to the consumer? Where's the problem needing solved?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 3D

      You forgot the laser eye surgery required for the percentage of the population where that's the limiting factor on how things look anyway...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3D

      Until it can reach out and play with my junk I'm really not interested.

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: 3D

      Do people replace their media? Must be fanatics if they do. Old DVDs are largely pointless, they transmit the same movie in 1080i/p often. One can scale up the DVD reasonably well with cheapish BluRay player.

      And, most importantly, except for a few favourites, I would replace very few movies indeed, there are always newer ones that one could buy instead.

      As it happens I don't buy them at all anymore, waste of money since I rarely show them to multiple people or share them around. It is much, much cheaper if you live near a Cineworld to have an unlimited pass - and the screen is much, much bigger as well as being able to see it before knowing all the spoilers.

    4. Pet Peeve

      Re: 3D

      A 4k TV can send an HD picture to each eye, plus the ones I've seen have a really bright screen with great contrast.

      Personally I can't stand 3D and avoid it as much as possible, but if you like it, it will look better on a 4k tv than an HD one. Funny though, the sets I saw didn't even mention 3D on the info card.

      I'm sure they support it, but since it's practically a negative marketing feature nowadays, the manufacturers are pretending it doesn't exist.

    5. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: 3D

      Benefit to the CONSUMER? I'm sorry, I don't seem to have that on my list. Hold on, I'll pencil it in at the bottom, underneath 'Another helicopter for MEEEEEE!'

      There you go - sorted.

      - semi anonymous Hollywood middle manager

  6. lansalot

    nope

    Netflix and Lovefilm etc can all show as much interest as they like - but while my 80mb Fibre connection might stream a 4K film, it'll still be horribly compressed and nowhere near the quality of those sexy demos we're seeing at the shows.

    Much like the 1080p Youtube etc stuff I currently watch is, then. Labelling something HD because the vertical resolution is 1080, but the compression is turned up so high to make it look crap, really is a scam.

    Physical content will have to do for quite some time then, but not seeing many 4K blu-ray players out there yet....

    (And talking of scams... what's with all this "blu ray optimized for 4k TVs" shit? or "blu ray, filmed in 4k". BS-hype, the lot of them eg http://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Recall-Blu-ray-4K-Copy/dp/B00D6AASDA/ )

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: nope

      4K is the current projection standard for theaters. What they're saying is that you're getting a theater-quality transfer, though I don't actually believe that - I imagine that digital theater projectors run on a much higher bandwidth than a blu-ray player can pump out through HDMI.

  7. Skizz

    Devaluation of the K

    The K used to be 1024

    Then it became 1000

    And now it's 960!

    1. Steve Renouf
      FAIL

      Re: Devaluation of the K

      "The K used to be 1024"

      Wrong! The K is short for Kilo - which is 1000 (of anything)! If they wanted a measure for 1024, they should have called it something else! That's where the error is! - Same goes for Mega, Giga, etc.!

      Phew! I! must! have! been! spending! too! much! time! on! Yahoo! lately! with! all! these! exclamation! marks!

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Devaluation of the K

        Wrong! The K is short for Kilo - which is 1000 (of anything)!

        Wrong! The "bit" or "byte" after "kilo-" is relevant to the meaning of "kilo-" in this circumstance, specifically that the prefixes are binary prefixes, and are powers of 2.

        This is how it has always been. In 1998, le Bureau international des poids et mesures decided that they "owned" giga-, mega- and so on forth, and decided to tell us that we didn't know what we were doing, and here are some new names, and aren't you stupid for not using it.

        1. E 2

          Re: Devaluation of the K

          Yes, yes, yes...

          1024 is supposed to be a kibbi- and 1024^ a mebbi-, and 1024^3 a gibbi-.

          Which ever gaggle of wankers came up with those prefixes should be made to speak pig latin for the rest of their natural lives.

          Common usage is good enough for the OED: in computer context a kilo is 1024, mega is 1024^2 and so on.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: Devaluation of the K

        Kilo as 1024 makes perfect sense in context... once you realize that you aren't dealing with base 10 anymore.

        NONE of the SI units make sense in a base 2 context. It's best to not bother getting your beaurocratic panties in a bunch to begin with.

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Dolby Vision

    I'm more excited about Dolby's recently announced Dolby Vision than I am about higher resolution. Like some of their audio protyocols, it covers the entire process, from camera to screen. Basically, screens that support it will be able to display a huge dynamic range - from deep shadows to very bright highlights - but the protocol also describes the extra data stream.

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2014/01/dolby-display-4k/

    1. TimNevins

      Re: Dolby Vision

      This is the Brightside HDR tech shown back in 2005

      http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/08/sony-licenses-dolbys-hdr-tech-to-make-brighter-better-bravia/

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Dolby Vision

        Similar yeah, but taken up a few notches. The Brightside press release makes several mentions of local dimming of the backlighting LEDs. The newer Dolby Vision system includes additional data about how bright to make some pixels, and far brighter LEDs to expand the dynamic range. Their prototype was a cinema projector focused onto a 21" screen.

  9. John 73

    Can anyone tell the difference?

    ISTR reading an article (may even have been on this august site) back when HD tellies were just going mainstream, saying that the human eye simply can't see the difference between 1080p and 720p on a TV smaller than 36" when sat six feet away.

    On that basis, there's going to be remarkably little point getting a 4k telly unless you've got the 105" monster in your living room!

    1. Tweetiepooh

      Re: Can anyone tell the difference?

      If you have the money (and the space) then Costco have a 152" beastie. A mere snip at £600k.

      Think I'll stick to our 28" CRT for mean time.

    2. EddieD

      Re: Can anyone tell the difference?

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/25/the_future_of_moving_images_the_eyes_have_it/

      1. John 73

        Re: Can anyone tell the difference?

        Thanks for that but it was a different article from longer ago, specifically about whether 1080p and 720p were visually distinguishable. Not sure it was an El Reg piece, as I say!

        1. EddieD

          Re: Can anyone tell the difference?

          Aye, you're right...

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/19/tv_sizes_deconstructed/

          All the best

    3. Badvok

      Re: Can anyone tell the difference?

      Those articles always crop up whenever anyone mentions TV display resolution - they are kind of like old wives tales - some little nugget of factual information blown out of all proportion and context.

      Most of the 'scientific' arguments about visual acuity in relation to TV display resolution actually only work out if your eyes are CCDs and are perfectly aligned with the screen and the images consist of only vertical and horizontal lines. If you introduce any kind of misalignment between the light receptors and the light emitters or perhaps show a real-world image with some curves in it they collapse in a heap.

  10. Jess

    Re: hold 25% of a film.

    There won't *need* to be a new format.

    It is quite possible to compress a 1080 movie to about 2GB and still have a good picture. 4 times this would still fit on a dual layer DVD. Even a single layer BD would allow far lower levels of compression and decent audio.

    (Of course what you say will probably turn out to be true for commercially released formats.)

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: hold 25% of a film.

      Pirates generally go for at least 4GB for a 1080p movie, more on a long or particually demanding one, as any smaller makes the artifacts far too visible.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: hold 25% of a film.

        Pirates generally go for at least 4GB for a 1080p movie, more on a long or particually demanding one, as any smaller makes the artifacts far too visible.

        Well, I suppose you said "generally" - different groups do different releases. MacGuffin rips are generally 3 CD or less in size (<2GB) and 1080p. When you get down to that level of compression, the things that you generally trim are the soundtrack - no 1.5Mb/s DTS track when a 160k AAC will suffice.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: hold 25% of a film.

          All of this nonsense makes me glad that I still have the disk-by-mail part of Netflix.

          The amount of over compression that pirates will put up with is appalling.

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: hold 25% of a film.

            Still from what I hear it's better than the Netflix Compression. :/

          2. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: hold 25% of a film.

            Generally, you have a choice of options with scene releases, from raw unedited BD rips, 1080p "HQ" releases, 1080p regular releases, 720p releases, MacGuffin HD releases and 480p releases.

  11. ratfox Silver badge
    Meh

    How about a better frame rate?

    I believe just doubling the frame rate would increase much more the quality of movies…

    1. Quando

      Re: How about a better frame rate?

      BBC white paper - http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/whitepaper209 - agrees with you. Would love to have seen these tests, but while marketing rules then resolution increases are easier to sell...

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: How about a better frame rate?

        It's always about resolution because resolution is so easy to understand - more pixels gotta be better, right?

        Most viewers are not going to see any real benefit in normal day to day operation from all thos extra pixels, even if they have large enough bandwidth to stream uncompressed, apart from the fact that nothing in a 4K stream is going to be uncompressed anyway. They'd certainly notice a difference from a doubling of the framerate though. It's more about 'I have more pixels than you' than it is about quality.

        It's similar to the issues I have in my photography group where the newbies with their 21 megapixel compacts (sensors the size of a gnat's fingernail) are horrified when their images don't have the dynamic range, contrast and vibrancy they get on the old APS-C 8 megapixel EOS I lend out at weekends in an attempt to get them to move to DSLR (not to mention the compacts 'white out' much quicker on brightly lit subjects).

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How about a better frame rate?

      I'm not sure about doubling the frame rate though. They did this for the last Hobbit film (along with doubling the length in order to numb as many bums as humanly possible), and audience reaction was not good. Many people thought it made it look funny, and didn't like the effect.

      Apparently it looked like cheap video camera footage. I didn't see it in 48 fps myself, so have no idea what the problem was, or whether it was an effect of the heavy use of CGI, or something else. It could just be a perception thing though. The first Blu-ray I saw was The Watchmen, a friend was desperate to show off his new HD toys. I thought it looked really odd, not helped by the film being very cartoony (and not very good). It seemed sort of over-sharpened. But I've not got the eyesight to be able to make a valid comment either way.

    3. Vic

      Re: How about a better frame rate?

      > I believe just doubling the frame rate would increase much more the quality of movies…

      I suspect hiring a script writer would probably have a more meaningful effect...

      Vic.

  12. Beamerboy

    4K TVs

    When i looked in the summer they were £15K, or thereabouts, now you can get them for about £3K - 55" Sony/LG etc not a no brand cheapie. Although I'm not that old (mid thirties) I remember anything over 40" and plasma costing much more than this so shouldn't be too long to wait for them to be affordable.

    And they will support Full HD 3D i.e. both images at the same time in full HD or dual screen with different glasses - ideal for gaming, I might only have a Wii but 55" Mario Kart sounds awesome! until they are about a grand I'll keep going with my 28" CRT (unless that dies of course!)

    Oh and while I'm typing - every time I think about getting a new TV something changes - plasma/LCD/LED/HD/Full HD/OLED/Smart/4K - guess I'll have to dive in at some point...

  13. Khaptain Silver badge

    It still won't entice me to buy a Television ( or a huge screen).

    What's needed is quality films not quality screens.

    4K should have been named 4C whereby C = consumerism. .....

    Do people really feel "immersed" just because of the size of the screen ? Even at the cinema I don't get that impression.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Tell me a story. That immerses me. Set up a scene, that captivates me. Keep it logical and consistent, that keeps me watching.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Megaphone

        > Tell me a story.

        That's what Radio 4 is for.

        Excellent quality at 192kb/s. Also can be taken on the train and is driver-friendly on the road. There's an enormous archive of content too.

        Icon: Pictures? Wassat for?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd buy one...

    ...but only by atrophy of existing stuff - i.e if I was replacing my telly, and 4K had become standard (so much so that it was affordable to proles like me).

    Would I then buy 4K content? Of course, but only for new titles / titles I haven't bought before. Having been through DVD and Blu-ray, I wouldn't seek to buy titles for a third time on the basis that actually, I'm pretty content 'as is'.

    1. Bert 1

      Re: I'd buy one...

      I'd maybe buy one too, just so I could say I was watching the 4k (pronounced for-cuh)

  15. James Hughes 1

    Saw a 4K TV in John Lewis before Xmas - very impressive quality.

    But as other say, increasing the frame rate is a better improvement to video picture quality on the 'smaller' devices (<50"). H265 should be good enough to reduce the bandwidth enough to get similar requirements to 1080p at the higher rez, but again, that would also help with higher framerates.

    In other news, I recently bought a BluRay player, but only as my DVD player was shite (Thanks SS). It is noticeable better at playing back DVD than the DVD player -the upscaling has defo improved over the last couple of years. So much so that I wonder whether the extra cash for Bluray is worth it (not that I have bought any yet).

  16. BigAndos

    I may buy one if they get cheaper and more content is available offline

    When my current 720p "HD Ready" TV dies, I was planning to replace it with a 1080p 3D one. If by that point 4K is cheaper I may go that route. The big stumbling block is availability of content. At present I get a decent BT infinity connection of about 45MBps so I could stream 4K content.

    However, if I move to somewhere with worse internet connectivity is my shiny new 4K TV then be pointless? Will content be available on discs? Last I read we aren't even close to a disc standard being agreed.

    Also, I'm still smarting from not checking out "HD ready" vs "full hd" properly before buying. I heard 8K broadcast TV has been tested in Japan (naturally) so I'm also concerned 4K will soon be a white elephant too.

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    "you need great content"

    'Nuff said, really.

  18. jaywin

    Waste of time

    4K is a waste of time and money. 8K is already being trialled and by the time the 4K market has established itself, 8K will be becoming available. The broadcasters have been working on 8K for years, the only interest in 4K has been from the likes of Sony who're trying to sell TVs and offering to do work on the cheap in order to get some content.

    8K, running at 50fps, with a full 12+ surround sound will be a significant upgrade on our current HD systems. 4K is just another marketing gimmick to sell more stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of time

      8K? Why not 64k?

      1. MeRp

        Re: Waste of time

        64K sounds great, but no one will ever need any more than 64K....

  19. Smudged

    Who will buy one?

    One of the people in "Benefits Street" will probably have one on their wall in next week's episode. They already seem to have bigger TVs than I have.

  20. alain williams Silver badge

    Spend the money on script writers

    rather than on shoving more pixels at me.

    Give me plot over special effects every time.

    This seems like just an excuse to pursuade people to buy a new TV that they don't really need.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spend the money on script writers

      Unlikely - technology is easy compared to writing decent scripts.

      Particularly when "creating new content" == "release old content in higher resolution format" == $$$

  21. mythicalduck
    Meh

    Naming Convensions

    Quick, let's now size our definitions by width, rather than height, so it sounds more. Or perhaps they should have called it 4x if it's "4 times"?

    I still think they should have gone with "Super HD", "Mega HD", "Ultra HD", then "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious HD" - then there'd be no resolutions after that

  22. Muppetry

    Shaky picture but with more detail

    As in a previous (and very good) article late last year that went through the merits of 4k, this is simply a waste of money. The problem is refresh rates, not resolution. Alreay on my 50" full HD TV I can have provlems with visible gaps when fast movement is being displayed, or where fast panning is used. More resolution will simply mean I can see these gaps in more detail...why would I want that??

    Fix the refresh rate issue and I'll be interested.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: Shaky picture but with more detail

      They already did this. You can get HD sets now with a 240hz refresh rate, and the 4k sets are starting out at 120hz.

      You may be particularly sensitive to upscaling artifacts, and not really the refresh rate. Even 60hz 1080i is better than persistence of vision (30 fps, where POV is about 16-18fps), and any modern set showing a progressive picture is going to make it really hard to see flickering.

      Edit: Turns out the eye's flicker rate is different than the POV rate. Flicker rate is about 48fps, so it is quite possible you are sensitive to flicker on a 60hz set displaying an interleaved picture. 120hz should sort that out for you.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: Shaky picture but with more detail

        Refresh rate is of no help if the content (DVD/BD or broadcast) is still at 24-30fps.

        The OP mentioned neither flicker or seeing "blank" frames. What they mention is action shots not having fluid motion. If something moves across the screen in half a second, that's only 15 frames to cover it. If it moves across in a quarter, it's about 7 frames. Sports and action scenes could very well benefit from higher frame rates.

  23. Len Goddard

    Bigger House

    So, I need to buy a bigger house so that I have a room large enough to hld a screen which is big enough to be able to see the difference between 1080p and 4K (why not 2160p?). Stuff that - I still mainly buy DVDs because with a decent upscaler it is all but impossible on my 46" TV to tell the difference between upscaled DVDs and native blurays. I make an exception for really dramatic photography (Earthflight, anyone?).

    4K is just a techno-churn factor to try to get us to replace perfectly good TVs following the abject failure of 3D to do the same thing. I'd rather spend the price difference on media ... if they'd just produce films worth watching.

  24. Tachikoma

    Tell you what, when providors start beaming out all channels in boring old 1080p for a few years I promise as soon as I get bored of "HD" then I will consider a 4K TV.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had a standard CRT, bought a flat screen CRT just as flat panels were released, bought the flat panel just as HD flat panels were released, bought the HD flat panel as smart led HD flat panel was released and now UHD flat panel is released.

    Won't be getting the UHD flat panel until the current smart led HD flat panel dies, of course by that time 4K content will be as ubiquitous as HD content is now, I'm in no hurry.

  26. Disgruntled
    Meh

    Hi, How can I help?!

    Does it come with a grinning idiot to help set it up in the style of the god-awful HDX advert

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yawn

    3D, HD, "smart", curved, 4K... nothing can hide the fact, that the content quality is, predominantly, shit.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: yawn

      "Predominantly" is hipster bullshit. The question is, is there enough good stuff to watch?

      I don't know what you're watching, but I have to say the last few years has had some of the best TV I've ever seen in my 51 years of watching.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: yawn

        Almost everything I have watched has turned out shit (waste of time). With exception of some bbc documentaries and paradocumentaries (universe, dinos, and such stuff. Not necessarily the very top of the league, but.. .decent). None of the great (few) movies I have rented for home viewing relied on 3D, hi-res or any other marketing bull. And those, that did... well, they were shit, sort of visual daily mail. Popcorn for the eyes, predominantly.

  28. teapot9999

    not interested...

    until BBC starts broadcasting all it content in 4K and the 4K TV costs less than £500, and my existing 1 year old 40 inch HD 'smart' TV stops working.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: not interested...

      If it is a Samsung, I give it another year or so.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: not interested...

      We will be wearing headsets by then, so it'll be as successful as HD-DVD.

  29. PaulR79

    Content?

    The main use of nearly all TVs is still broadcast TV (case study of myself). How many of those channels broadcast HD? Not many and those that do are, from what I can tell, 720P or 1080i at best. There is very little point in 4k for the foreseeable future beyond selling people something they don't need. I... oh, carry on.

  30. Mike Brown

    one of the reasons HD took off so quicklywas the ps3 and a lesser extent the xbox. Game geeks wanted to see the much better graphics offered by the then next gen consoles. The ps4 and the xbone arnt offering 4k visuals, so i cant see a lot of people upgrading there sets till the ps5 or the xbox destiny (or what ever silly moniker they use, actually i might trademark that name....)

    1. Boothy

      Original reason I got a 1080P TV was for my XBox 360.

      After that, and watching a few HD steams via XBox & PC, I eventually got Sky HD, (but only after they hit 20 HD channels), now of course just about all major channels on Sky have a HD version.

      I don't see any point in going to 4k thought, at least not until there is 4k content readily available.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Devil

      More corporate welfare please.

      No. "HD took off so quickly" because there was a government mandated transition causing everyone's old TV sets to become doorstops.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: More corporate welfare please.

        No they didn't. By the time transition happened, you could just plug a £20 box into said telly, and it carried on working fine.

  31. Berny Stapleton
    Alert

    What's 4K?

    There was an interesting article on 4K and UHD on AVS Forum in August last year that's an interesting point on why we haven't got 4K yet:

    http://www.avsforum.com/a/the-not-so-subtle-distinction-between-uhd-and-4k

    This situation (as far as I'm aware) hasn't resolved itself yet.

  32. Steve Knox
    FAIL

    Quality

    "you also need a service that can deliver that content to your devices so that it plays beautifully — we’re excited about making that a reality,”

    How about you get excited about catching up to your competitors first? I've got a 15Mb/s DSL connection, and I can stream Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and various broadcast networks' video streams in 1080P HD with no issue. Try to stream Amazon video in 1080P and it works for a minute or two, stutters, and then fails in various ways which would be humorous if they weren't so annoying.

    Amazon's been super aggressive about snapping up content from Netflix. Perhaps they should channel some of that aggression into making their platform work as well.

  33. Dick Emery

    Meh!

    Gimmie high contrast OLED with great lifetimes and HFR (No 48FPS support in TV and BluRay players? WTF are they doing? No Hobbit in native framerate for you!). All this 4K nonsense is only good for VERY large displays or if you put your nose to the screen. Lack of content won't help either. It also takes a lot more bandwidth and processing power (h265) to compress, stream and decode. With the death of Panasonic plasma division we need something with better PQ not just more pixels.

    Besides. It's not true 4K. It's UltraHD (4K is over 4K pixels whilst the so called '4K TV's are 3840 pixels wide by 2160 in order to keep the same ratio as HDTV's.

  34. Carl

    I'll buy one when...

    They figure out how to make regular LCDs LEDS and Plasmas that don't die after 3 - 5 years.

    And when I get HD digital cable that isnt shit for less than 150$ a month in Canada :(

  35. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    4K is possible.

    Look,

    A lot of the comments are about the same issue.

    You can't reasonably stream 4K over broadband, just as you can't reasonably stream loss less Blu-Ray 1080p quality over broadband.

    And that's going to be the problem of adoption.

    So lets talk about a solution.

    Going multi-layer Blu-ray is a stop gap measure and not one that makes sense.

    But if we look at tech from HP and Crossbar, there's another option.

    Crossbar claims to have tech that can put 1-2TB on 200x200mm piece of silicon.

    If so, you could build out a ROM cartridge (remember those old video games?)

    Imagine one of those, but much smaller.

    You could then have stores/kiosks that have copies of the movies and then write a ROM on request. When done, return the ROM and its recycled. (Crossbar's tech is R/W but could be made in to a write protected copy. )

    Yes, you still have to buy net new hardware, but at 1TB, you have the space to store 9-10 movies so you could use the same hardware as the video quality / audio quality increases.

    Of course the catch.... Crossbar came out of stealth and then went dark.

    Switch in HP's memresisters ?sp? and the idea still holds.

    No store? Netflix still ships DVDs and if packaged correctly, these things are going to be easier to use/reuse.

    Just putting it out there.

    1. stratofish

      Re: 4K is possible.

      > Crossbar claims to have tech that can put 1-2TB on 200x200mm piece of silicon.

      >If so, you could build out a ROM cartridge (remember those old video games?)

      >Imagine one of those, but much smaller.

      200x200mm is the size of a dinner plate, not smaller than a ROM cartridge.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: 4K is possible.

      Look,

      A lot of your points are completely batshit-insane and/or wrong.

      You can reasonably steam 4k over broadband. I can stream it over my current broadband..

      Multi layer bluray is stop gap measure that doesn't make any sense? Must be why it has been here since bluray launched, bluray being a dual layer disc in the original spec.

      Lets go back to the 80s, and pretend we all want to pop along to Gumby Videos to pick one of your videos to watch. The problem with video stores was clearly that no-one liked the small, plastic, inexpensive to produce disc you could rent, what the people REALLY REALLY WANT is a ROM cartridge to rent.

      We can build the cartridge out of a tech that doesn't exist yet (hint: when companies "come out of stealth" and still do nothing, it's because they have nothing). Plus, the cost for this new tech will be comparable with that of a pressed BD per unit, and have 40 times the capacity.

      Sounds AWESOME and REALLY QUITE LIKELY

  36. Laie Techie

    Content Delivery

    Wait until HDMI 2.0 is widely adopted and there is a standardized physical format for content. We are mirroring the "HD-ready" era when TVs had the pixels for 1080 content, but no standard way to transmit content.

  37. Chronos Silver badge
    Meh

    Content

    ...and I'm not talking 4k, either. I mean content as in value. Why shell out on yet another new device to watch the same old crap? Dad's Army looks just as good now as it did back then, in whatever format, simply because it's *quality*. Britain's Got (no) Talent, however, will just be four times as hideous in 4k.

  38. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    When seeing demos, don't forget they are demos

    When seeing demos, don't forget the demo-makers KNOW people will be looking at how sharp they are. They will therefore make their videos exagerratedy sharp, and usually screw up the contrast to make things look "vibrant" too. Obviously the 4K TV *will* be sharper, but you really can't compare a demo video to what you typically watch on any TV.

    Before my parents (non-HDTV) CRT TV died, their neighbor came by... this ad for a TV came on, she got all excited and said "Look how sharp the picture is on that TV in the ad!" I had to break the news that the ad is being displayed on their EXISTING television. They were just cranking the contrast and sharpness up for the TV ad.

  39. Jim Wilkinson

    We've been here before....

    It's a bit like CD v SACD in the audio world where Joe Punter responded with a yawn. Yes, SACDs exist and if you have good kit and ears you can tell the difference, but it hasn't been the success that was originally anticipated.

    Likewise with 4K TV - a just noticeable difference compared to 2K TV that many could not care less about. Cinema also has 4K imaging, but most theaters use 2K and their screens impact more of the viewers eyeballs than a typical domestic TV layout.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Houses are smaller

    Meanwhile, reported elsewhere, UK house size average, already small, has reduced by 2square metres in the last decade. So it becomes even more impossible to sit far enough away to make any sense of 4K TVs...Like 3D, another technology gimmick that will fail beyond its extremely small niche.

  41. Neoc

    Who needs it?

    I have a 1080p TV (and Amp and HTPC hooked up to a NAS). I have DVDs and BluRays... but for the most part, I find that DVD-quality is good enough for most movies/TV series - there's only the odd ones where I think actual 1080p (rather than upscale) does credit to the movie.

    To the studios, I say this: We have reached the point where better frame-rates will do more for viewing quality (including your thrice-cursed 3D movies) than more pixels per frame. So instead of quadrupling the pixels in a frame, how about quadrupling the number of frames which will give us better clarity on movement?

    Ah yes, I forgot... no really big numbers to use in advertising to the masses.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another premium service from Sky

    Sky already charge an extra £10/m for standard HD, so I guess this is another excuse for another premium service. I'll stick with Freesat.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, in real life

    Absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous picture standing a few inches from the screen.

    But then I went home and watched a DVD. Which was fine. And they're only 720x576.

    Mine's the wallet with the cash still in it.

  44. ecofeco Silver badge

    4k?

    I still can't afford HD.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For all you people who clearly would have been happy to remain with VHS and mono sound then I respectfully wave and inwardly sigh but also announce that I want a 4K (preferably 8K) display and an associated disc player and I'm more than happy to pay the price. I want to see films as they were intended, at film resolution!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I don't believe anybody has said that. Most people's argument, to Blu-ray, 3D and 4K has tended to be, 'Sorry I only just upgraded to the last thing, and I'm not in the market for upgrading, as this is good enough.

      VHS was rubbish, in the same way that tape was for music. The physical media got damaged with use. The jump from CRT tellies to flat, widescreen panels - and from VHS to DVD was great. Peronsonally I can barely see the difference between DVD and Blu-ray - and I've not noticed any jump in quality from CD music to SACD/Blu-ray either, although that could be down to not having had a chance to play with really good sound equipment recently.

      CD is good enough, until I've got several grand to spare on audio kit, it's probably impossible to notice. I've got pretty good ears (I've mixed live music) - but rubbish eyesight. So I have to be careful about commenting on picture quality.

      Even the people I know who really like HD, and have gone Blu-ray and decent tellies, have had to admit that there's not a huge difference though. They can see a difference, and they're happy to shell out the extra cash. But I very much doubt that 4K is going to be worth it, until you start to talk about monstrous sized TVs, where HD will start to look very low resolution. I've got a 50" TV in my medium-sized flat, and it looks huge. Any bigger would be ridiculous. So in order to upgrade to 4K, you'll probably need a new telly, a new player (yet to be released) and a new house...

  46. FuzzyTheBear

    It's not about you

    It's about broadcasting equipment . The strategy is sell something that is not working at the broadcaster level to force them to invest hundreds of billions into tech that can handle 4k .

    Broadcasters just completed the run to HD in most cases ,many still haven't , think they're interested in spending cash for the sake of turning the wheels of the consumer tv market ? hell no .

    Think twice . Consumers don't have the say in what TV stations transmit or not. 4K Is far from being a done deal in fact the broadcast industry will skip it and go directly to higher definitions. That's the " insider " word.

    Customer beware . Call your carriers and broadcasters first before you make a tech choice that is really not your's to make.

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