LG, Sony Hope To Drive 4K 'Ultra-Definition' Viewing with Enormous TVs
If you build the ultra-definition TVs, will the content come later?
Last month, Sony took the wraps off its 84-inch LED TV, shipping in November. The price tag? If you have to ask you probably can't afford it, but it's a mere $25,000.
Millions of Pixels
Today, LG announced its own 84-inch, 3D-capable TV with four times the resolution of full 1080p HD resolution, or a breathtaking 8 million pixels. The UD 84LM9600 is expected to be available in October, and the price is $5,000 less than Sony's offering.
Both sets are pioneers of the so-called 4K visual technology. The problem is, 4K programming doesn't exist on any meaningful level.
Anticipating its availability, LG says that in the meantime its Resolution Upscaler Plus increases detail from current HD/SD external sources. But the South Korean company cautions that the 84LM9800 "may or may not be compatible with such standards" when they are developed.
"I think these large 4K TVs are more marketing tools to help introduce 4K to a wider consumer base," said Michael Inouye, a digital home analyst at ABI Research. "The exceptionally large screen and high price will cause consumers to take note and the association of high price with 4K might also convince consumers there is strong value in the higher resolution.
"So when 4K trickles down to more cost friendly units consumers might place a higher valuation on 4K screens -- regardless if there is a great deal of content. "
In a statement distributed by LG, Gary Yacoubian, chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association's 4K Working Group and president and CEO of Specialty Technologies/SVSound, said: "Four-K is the next big thing in television, literally. First there was analog, then digital standard-definition, then high-definition. Now...ultra-HD technology promises to transform the home entertainment experience on giant displays, truly recreating the movie theater in your living room."
Control the 3D Depth
LG's Cinema 3D uses inexpensive glasses that, unlike Sony's, don't need an active shutter, and six pair are included with the set. Viewers can use Depth Control to adjust the 3D effect to their liking. Through LG Smart TV users can access applications and online content such as Netflix and Hulu Plus and "3D World" through Wi-Fi or Intel's Wireless Display technology. LG Cloud offers access to personal photos, video and music files. Through Mobile High-Definition Link, you can also exchange content with tablets and smartphones.
"Beyond just the ability to produce gigantic screens, it's important that LG offers its consumers a feature-rich TV packed with Smart TV, 3D capability, a 2.2 channel built-in speaker system and the remarkable detail of 4K," said Jay Vandenbree, senior vice president, home entertainment, LG Electronics USA, in a statement.
Inouye told us that since the price of these supersized, ultra-definition TVs is well beyond the reach of average consumers, even during the holiday splurging period they are likely better-suited for professional uses, in such venues as offices or community centers.
"Sharp's TVs are more appropriately priced for more consumer households, at least at screens below the 90-inch model, although these units are 1080p and not 4K," he said. "Four-K at screens this large makes sense, since you can sit closer to the screen and still enjoy sharp images, although currently there is very little 4K content -- aside from upscaling lower resolution content there are some select videos on sites like YouTube that offer 4K content. If you sit too far away, however, you would lose the ability to see the higher-resolution image, even with true 4K content."