Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sony 4K TVs ready, but nothing’s on


The TV industry has a message: your television is obsolete and you need a better one with even more eye-popping power.

The first serious move to bring the next generation of "4K" ultra-high resolution flat-panel displays to a wider audience began last week as Sony introduced two models not aimed solely at one percenters. The 4K Ultra HD televisions are said to display roughly four times the resolution of current high-definition models, which are 1920x1080, commonly called 1080p.

The new 4K standard expands that to a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160, which is also said to offer richer, more saturated colours than current sets.
As with most bleeding-edge consumer tech, these new displays started out with cringe-inducing price tags. Sony's first model, an 84-inch Ultra HD set, was introduced in November and cost $25,000. An 85-inch 4K model from Samsung was more than $45,000 when it was introduced.

Three years ago — to test the limits of what's possible —Panasonic built a 4K, 152-inch plasma display. You could buy it for only $500,000. Those stratospheric prices are falling. Sony will begin selling 55-inch and 65-inch models, priced at $4,999 and $6,999, respectively.
Rival Samsung plans to release two new 4K models next month in Korea before a wider rollout, with prices expected to be in line with Sony's.

The big hitch: No native content is currently available on DVD at the new resolution. Most of Hollywood's newer films are shot at resolutions that would support future 4K releases , however, and some new Blu-ray DVD players will upscale current resolutions to 4K.

The trouble for consumer-gadget peddlers will be to make the commercial case for 4K releases as the displays make their debut with what's expected to be very slow sales. It's far from clear that hordes of consumers are itching for higher resolutions. Unless you're packing a 60-inch or larger screen in the den, you won't