4K TVs steal the show at CES
Big tablets, wearable tech and Android PCs also made waves at the electronics tradeshow.
So-called "4K" televisions dominated the headlines on CES' first day as manufacturers and content partners press full steam ahead to convince us to upgrade to super high-definition.
The press for 4K TVs -- the Ultra HD sets with more than 8 million pixels -- picks up where it left off from CES 2013.
Samsung (SSNLF), Sony (SNE), LG and the rest were pushing the 4K TV hard. Sony alone has nine new 4K TV sets coming to market. But in response to the growing threat of cheaper Chinese competition, that lineup includes smaller models with fewer frills and lighter price tags.
Samsung and LG, on the other hand, not only trotted out massive 4K TVs (we're talking 105 inches), but they're also pushing curved sets that help to eliminate reflections and provide viewers with a more immersive experience. Samsung's 105-inch curved monster, for example, is an Ultra HD flatscreen with edges that curve inward at the touch of a button.
Of course, 4K TV content was one of the problems at last year's CES and throughout 2013. The good news: CES 2014 was where the solutions began to materialize. It looks like the Ultra HD content savior is going to be streaming.
Netflix (NFLX) will be launching 4K streaming content in 2014. Comcast (CMCSA) is promoting 4K content through its Xfinity TV 4K streaming app. And Amazon (AMZN) announced a partnership with Samsung and studios to "pioneer 4K Ultra HD experience for customers."
Besides Amazon's commitment to facilitate 4K video streaming through Amazon Instant Video, it has also committed to shooting all of its original video programming for 2014 in native 4K Ultra HD.
While 4K TV solutions ramped up to help the technology go mainstream, a few TV technologies appear to be falling by the wayside. If you had any doubts that 3D TV is dead, look no further than CES 2014 for confirmation. Vizio -- one of the biggest flatscreen TV manufacturers -- dropped support for 3D altogether in this year's models.
When a leading manufacturer stops treating 3D as an afterthought and removes it completely from its line-up, that technology has flatlined.
The other technology facing a questionable future is the media streamer. Roku announced it is releasing its own line of TVs (with its streaming player built-in) and more TVs are appearing with Android support.
To be clear, there were still plenty of new streaming add-ons announced at CES 2014, including a Netgear (NTGR) NeoMediacast dongle aimed at Google's (GOOG) popular Chromecast. But as more TVs pack streaming technology inside and the 4K TV (with that built-in streaming capability) inches closer to mainstream, some analysts are casting doubt on the future of plug-in and set-top streamers like the Apple (AAPL) TV.
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As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
This is really cool and glad to see 4K becoming a reality now. Biggest thing is that there seems to actually be some content that will be available that takes advantage of it. The only issue at the moment will be cost and getting the content to catch up. I would say its a couple years or more before this really makes it mainstream.
Otherwise people need to keep in mind that 4K matters only on really large TV's. 4K on anything at minimum 55" and under, my guess, you won't be able to perceive the difference. Hell even 1080p on smaller sets like 32" and under gets to where you can't tell a difference between that and 720p. It has a place but its not for everyone and for most people 1080p will be more than enough for the TV they have. So again this makes a difference for large TV's. Anyone with a smaller TV who has 1080p, you are at the end of what your eyes can tell and buying a 4K set would be similar to paying $70 for "premium" hdmi cables. Won't do anything but make your wallet lighter.
But good job and look forward to see more of what the future has in store.
I think its time
OK, so I make my living in the AV industry as a designer. And I have to say that 4K resolution on "smaller" class displays, say 50" or less (The argument can actually be made for larger than that, but I'll start with the most ridiculous examples) is simply marketing to sell TV's. The human eye has nowhere near the acuity to meaningfully discern the pixel field of a 50" 1080 monitor from 10 feet away, much less the pixel field of a 4K TV, with upwards of 4 times the resolution.
Even assuming that the content has anywhere near that type of resolution, of course.
My concern is that in being caught up in the "I must have the latest and greatest" technology, there are actually people getting rid of completely viable high resolution monitors, adding wildly unnecessary and sometimes dangerous waste to our landfills, and all in order to obtain an upgrade that the human eye can't resolve in a reasonable viewing space.
There is an application for 4K, but it is on a big screen. Think about it, if you have been going to the movies in the last few years in a digital cinema, you were probably watching 2K (roughly half of 4K) resolution on a 40 foot wide screen. Could you see pixilation? I would be highly surprised if you did, and I would further say you were sitting too close and probably breaking your neck to see the whole image.
What possible real advantage would there be to double that resolution on a 50" screen? Our eyes simply can't see it. So, please, realize that the manufacturers have to come up with something new to sell screens. That doesn't mean that we all have to buy it. Maybe there are other reasons to invest, such as energy efficiency or sometimes more extreme refresh rates associated with (groan) 3D, but I'd think hard before replacing an existing quality 1080 display with 4K. All you will get is a higher price tag and the need to dispose of something that probably has many good years of use left.
Of course, just an opinion, but one based on many years in the AV industry.
However, 4K will make 3D more impressive regardless of the screen size.
I rather have 2 or 3 x 1080p projectors with an total image way more than the 100 inch tv for a fraction of the price.
4k resolution is only good pass a certain screen size. 4k on a 32 inch monitor would maybe increase your viewing pleasure by 5%?
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