Were you wowed when you went from standard television to HD? Know the difference between super-bright colors and sharp edges and the fuzzy tones of old-school televisions? If you said "yes," imagine the difference you’ll see with the next generation of video viewers, the 4K TV. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it. If you saw the 3-D version of "Avatar" in the theaters, you’ve already experienced the clarity and depth of 4K television. Manufacturers claim the picture is four times sharper than HD, giving ultra-large televisions a viewing edge they didn’t have before. You can have a larger screen in your own home and sit closer to it while keeping the sharp viewing experience, much like sitting in the front row of a movie theater.
Ultra HD television set photo by Flickr user LGEPR.
4K TV started out last year as a technophile’s dream: an 84-inch screen television that debuted with a price tag of $25,000. In the way of all tech the price reduced quickly and in April Sony announced a 55-inch model for around $5,000, and a larger 65-inch set for $7,000, according to www.Forbes.com.
Lowered prices are all well and good, but a mega-television without anything unique to show for it is just an expensive piece of bragging rights. That’s where third-party technology needs to shine. Sony’s new PlayStation 4 is designed with 4K in mind and even comes pre-loaded with 10 movies in the new ultra-high resolution. It will also pair up with a new 4K movie download service that will debut this fall. DirectTV, which was on the forefront of HD programming, currently offers 1080p quality. They’ve also trademarked a 4K network, which is a step toward them offering true 4K. Intel has announced the coming of a new set-top box that will stream video in 4K, and DISH and FIOS are already dropping hints that they will be joining in the crowd in the near future.
Movies and television are both viable uses for a 4K television, but the best use for this new technology may be for video games, especially massive multi-player epics. Gamers will finally get the pixillation-free scenery they’ve been dying for in an oversized screen, and their ability to play worldwide games over the PlayStation network may be the key to pushing the Playstation 4 over the edge in popularity. Imagine controlling the action in a live-action movie and you have an idea of the clarity you could enjoy.
Blu-Ray fans are going to have to be a little more patient when it comes to watching their movies on a 4K TV. Sony is digitally remastering a large selection of HD movies, essentially optimizing them for a 4K experience, but the actual technology of making a 4K Blu-Ray disc is still in the works. The Blu-Ray Disc Association is looking at methods of production, and indicate that new movies won’t be available until at least a year has passed, says www.DigitalTrends.com.
In the meantime, streaming video will be the way to go for 4K. Industry leader Netflix is already working on streaming 4K material and has plans to release "House of Cards" in 4K later this year. Other networks are testing the system, as well, and it seems inevitable that streaming 4K will be a common practice in the next few years.
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