back to article 4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

The 2014 IFA tech expo could well go down as pivotal in the yet to be written sputtering history of 4K home entertainment. While most (well, me) take it as read that the large panel market will migrate entirely to 2160p resolution over the coming months, big questions remain over just what you’ll be able to do with all those …

  1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Tag line...

    ... "Get 4k'd"

    1. ByeLaw101

      Re: Tag line...

      Hahaha... Brilliant!

    2. garden-snail
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tag line...

      Have a thumb.

  2. William Donelson

    If you ask 100 people on the street what is wrong with TV, none of them will say "Resolution" - Nicholas Negroponte, M.I.T.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can hardly wait to get there!

      http://blog.codinghorror.com/content/images/uploads/2008/05/6a0120a85dcdae970b0120a86dd2e5970b-pi.jpg

    2. 96percentchimp

      ...and then you show them

      Ofcom came to the same conclusion in its (2004?) consultation on the future of Freeview, when they rejected it because people said they weren't interested. The broadcasters objected and Ofcom ran more research when they actually showed them some HD vs SD. Guess what? They wanted it.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: ...and then you show them

        Same here - I wasn't fussed until I saw a good quality 4K TV in a shop. It was very impressive. However the thing holding me back (aside from sensibly waiting for prices to fall a little), is that I've heard old SD content on a 4K display looks awful. Can anyone confirm? I like new movies, but I like a bunch of old ones, too. I would hate to spend a lot of money on such a TV and then find that many of my favourites looked worse than on HD.

        1. Calorus

          Re: ...and then you show them

          Don't go and press your face against a 4K screen and get over excited: get 3 or 4 metres from one like you would at home, and then work out if there are better ways to spend £1,000, like a 3 really good holidays or something.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: ...and then you show them

            Don't go and press your face against a 4K screen and get over excited: get 3 or 4 metres from one like you would at home

            I have rooms in my house where viewers could sit 3-4m from a television screen, but I'll be damned if I'm going to put a TV in one.

            In the parlor, where the TV is (the only set in the house), we're 1.5 to 2 meters from the screen. Maybe 2.5m for the furthest comfortable seat with a decent view.

            Mind you, I wouldn't buy a 4K set either, regardless of where I'm sitting.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: ...and then you show them

            It's not just that. As another poster has pointed out, frame rate matters too.

          3. Spanker

            Re: ...and then you show them

            where do you holiday ? A cave in Wales ?

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: ...and then you show them

          "However the thing holding me back (aside from sensibly waiting for prices to fall a little), is that I've heard old SD content on a 4K display looks awful. "

          Wouldn't it be nice to ask for a demonstration in the shop and actually see?

          (the ones with usb ports could probably be easily tested...)

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: ...and then you show them

        Actually, no. I don't want it. I'm sure it'll be another reason to charge more for cable, just like Time Wanker charged more for HD.

    3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

      Most people who use Windows XP are happy with it. In their opinion, it is good enough for them. It's a security nightmare, but that is another problem.

      Most people who have a DVD-player and a DVD collection are happy with it. The quality is not at all bad, even on big screens. They have forked out once to have their video collection replaced by DVDs and the last thing that they want to do is to replace the whole bloody lot with 4K.

      The entire industry has to leave a gap with technology so that one can appreciate the leap. Blu-ray was a mistake because it came too soon after the introduction of DVD. We are being metaphorically boiled alive in video standards. Now, DVD was so measurely better than VHS that moving up to DVD was an obvious thing to do (what the leftpondians refer to as a 'no-brainer'). Likewise 4K has to be so much better than DVD that upgrading is worth their while, rather than just worth the industry's while.

      It seems to me that the likes of NetFlix and video-streaming is the way that people have chosen. Consumers pay a regular fee (not often, just regularly) and get whatever standard they wish. No need to replace the DVD collection because it is all available online. If they want to buy a new 4K telly, then let them do that.

      1. David Paul Morgan

        Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

        no-one 'replaces' their DVD collection unless something new/better comes along.

        eg the remastered Star Trek Next Gen Blu-Rays whcih look stunning compared to the original un-remastered DVD's.

        Streaming is the way forward, of course.

        I loved the improvement when I went from PAL -> Digital -> HD TV.

        4K will be great for a more immersive domestic experience, but of course, for most living rooms, HD, 16:9, 37" screens are pretty good.

        I'm glad that Netflix & Amazon/LoveFilm are embracing it and hope Google Play Movies /' Apple catch up so there's even more choice!

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

          no-one 'replaces' their DVD collection unless something new/better comes along.

          I think VHS to DVD was the last time people fell for this ruse. The main changes people notice are the improvements in the codecs: DVD looks shabby on a HD screen because the MPEG artefacts are sharpened. If pushed people can notice the difference between 720p (or lower) and 1080p but that requires concentration not usually associated with the living room.

          You have already purchased the viewing rights to whatever it is so you shouldn't have to do so again for a different format. If Hollywood wants us to change formats something like an incentive to trade-in would do wonders.

          Google and Apple already have the infrastructure for 4k but Google prefers (rightly in my opinion) WebM over HEVC which is why all new Android devices have to support it in hardware: the format wars aren't over.

          1. Annihilator Silver badge

            Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

            "I think VHS to DVD was the last time people fell for this ruse"

            In fairness, the shift to DVD for me was predominantly convenience. Remember having to rewind cassettes? Remember the bulk of a shelf full of cassette boxes?

            1. Vector

              Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

              There is also the fact that Blu-ray players can play DVDs making the upgrade less necessary.

              As far as 4K is concerned, some of these techie execs need to crawl out of their studios and go stand in the average person's living room. Are we really going to see screendoor on an 1080p 46 inch display viewed from 8 to 10 feet away? 4K is more like the audiophile market: about 2% of the population will notice the difference and the rest will get on with watching whatever crap is served up.

              And, yes, on the net please. The vast majority of the stuff I watch, I'll watch once and never again. I have a collection of DVDs that are gathering dust (at least they were cheap when I bought them). I might pull one or two out to watch in a year.

        2. Piro

          Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

          PAL terrestrial to digital a massive upgrade, really?

          I find freeview to be horrific, encoding artifacts all over the shop.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

            Digital Terrestrial depended on

            Your TV & decoder

            Where you live

            When

            I have seen DTTV which was as good as a good DVD, I have seen DTTV as good as a video CD.

            Where you live, my digital reception was better than my analogue - same aerial

            TV Anamorphic widescreen is prefereable to letterboxing, RGB usually bypasses artificial sharpening. My last TV had pretty shocking sharpening that I actually considered physically disabling it. It was disabled in movie mode so I used that for video tapes, everything else used carefully set up personal. BUT RGB sources were DVD, PS2, DTTV PVRs, and the TV tuner was internally RGB, so I just never bothered.

            The decoder in my TV was also very good, but the TV basically wore out and was also not 8K compliant, sold due to wanting HD.

            Early bitrates were higher than today.

        3. Purple-Stater

          Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

          @ D.P.M.

          "4K will be great for a more immersive domestic experience, but of course, for most living rooms, HD, 16:9, 37" screens are pretty good."

          Most? There's a huge number of people that haven't even progressed to HD yet, and tremendously more who have HD TVs but don't have an actual HD signal. Don't underestimate the number of (metaphorically) old fuddy-duddies like myself. I only bought an HD 16:9 40" screen 15 months ago, and that was because it was to be used as a monitor for my most recent media center PC. The two televisions in my house that are actually used for TV-viewing are 25" & 36" 4:3 CRTs. Nobody cares enough for the quality difference to replace a working unit. On the 40" HD I really can't tell the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray. Heck, even 4/8 of the PCs at home are still using CRT monitors.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

            Decent viewing content > 90% of the problem. If a film is good then I'll watch it on a 24 inch PAL CRT and enjoy it. Picture quality is about 10% value in terms of a good viewing experience. Difference between HD and 4K about 1%.

        4. Dave Bell

          Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

          Streaming is the way forward, of course.

          With streaming, you're stuck waiting for your ISP to catch up. Some do. Some, often advertising their own streaming service, do not.

          At least you have noticed the problems of large screens in the living room.

          The commonplace domestic TV now is, by the standards of the CRT era, a huge.screen. But how does it compare to the screen sizes the professionals use? How big a screen do the 4K enthusiasts use?

      2. bep

        Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

        Don't forget the cables. You have to use HDMI with Blu-ray. When I connected my new Blu-ray player to my HD telly via HDMI cables and played a Blu-ray disc, the sound kept skipping. The sound in DVDs skipped too. When I connected the Blu-ray player to the telly with component cables, no sound skipping. Of course I couldn't play my one and only Blu-ray disc anymore, but the video quality seemed much the same to me and I don't like being treated like a pirate anyway, so bye-bye Blu-ray until something really compelling that actually plays reliably comes along.

        1. kyza

          Re: On being slowly boiled alive with video standards

          I've had a Blu-Ray player since I bought my UK PS3 in 2008 along with a 32"1080P telly connected via HDMI and I've never had an issue with audio skipping on either BDs or DVDs in two TV and one console upgrade since then.

          So it's probably just a faulty player, rather than a failing in the whole format.

    4. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      'Honey Boo Boo' in 4K glory

      I'd probably hang myself.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Mushroom

        @Jeffy Pooh Re: 'Honey Boo Boo' in 4K glory

        You owe me a new laptop. Mine shorted out when I puked at the idea you suggested.

        But to your point... What's the sense of 4K TV when the content itself is crap?

        I think that's going to be the larger problem. (As pointed out by the 4K movies that are available...)

    5. Jonski

      If you ask 100 people on the street what is wrong with TV, none of them will say "Resolution" - Nicholas Negroponte, M.I.T.

      No, but I do say "Frame Rate". I can't stand the jittering strobe caused by fast pan and slow frames.

    6. Calorus

      The old Faster Horse argument is generally applicable.

      The problem is 4K is just that: a faster horse -- but it's only day faster on a round-the-world trip.

  3. EddieD

    As always

    When this topic of ultra resolution TV comes up...

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

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

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: As always

      I was thinking about those articles when it was mentioned that after watching 4k people noticed the pixel grid on an HD telly. If you can see the pixel grid you're sitting too close / your TV is too big for your room!

      1. Annihilator Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: As always

        I went further and just thought "so you can't tell it's 4K, until you look back at HD. So it ruins HD TV then? OK, I'll never look at a 4K screen, thanks for the heads up"

      2. PassingStrange

        Re: As always

        "If you can see the pixel grid you're sitting too close / your TV is too big for your room!"

        No, if you can see the 'pixel grid' you're sitting too close FOR THE RESOLUTION.

        If you're viewing something low-res on a high-res screen, it's going to take multiple actual pixels to display "one" pixel from the low-res image. So a distance that is perfectly fine for viewing 4K material will potentially make older stuff look pixelated from the same distance. That's not the fault of the screen, or its size, or its distance, and it's certainly not an argument against 4K per se; it's down to a mismatch between content and display.

        I'm not a big apologist for "new" media tech. Tube technology has gone, plasma screens have more or less died the death, and LCD is cheap to the point of being commodity; the TV hardware industry is clearly at a point right now where it desperately needs to find a "next big thing" to get everyone replacing their sets and revive its business. That, it seems, wasn't HD; it was never going to be 3D; it most certainly wasn't "curved screens" (!). 4K? Perhaps. Maybe. I don't know. I'd happily put a larger screen in the corner of my room, IF the quality of picture was good enough, and *if* it was comfortable to watch. Right now, my screen is at the "right" distance", for its size and resolution, for comfortable viewing - I did quite a bit of work to get those factors right before I bought. So I'm not going to simply boot it out and buy something else that's supposed to be "better" unless it genuinely is - and in MY house, to boot.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Chicken and Egg

    The technical demos of 4k video that I've seen are incredibly good - however the content available in 4k is, for the most part, mediocre at best and I've got 1500 DVD's that look great at 1k. So where's the incentive to upgrade?

    I can't see the justification in paying $100/month for the bandwidth for 4k video when there's nothing worth watching ... for some reason the entertainment corporations never seem to understand this.

    1. larokus

      Re: Chicken and Egg

      How's the weather there back in 2000? I'll upgrade, and care not at all about streaming. I couldn't stream uncompressed 1080p with my crap connection anyways. I'll be buying a 90 inch 4k for my feature wall as soon as the price comes out of the stratosphere, and I'll watch regular crap compressed HD broadcast TV on it, I'll play PC games which have supported the resolution for years, and the odd 4k blu-ray I pick up out of the bargain bin.

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Chicken and Egg

      Some people with money to spare will upgrade - your DVDs may be upscaled for instance and look better (probably).

      Also, new entrants to the market (young people growing up and newly-wealthy types in growing economies) will go for the new tech as it reaches reasonable affordability.

      Finally, followed by replacement people (like me and maybe you) who buy the (no longer new) tech because the price premium is no longer prohibitive (thank you early adopters and new-car buyers for making it so cheaper for me later).

      By then, the internet will be standard at 1gbps to the home no doubt and can handle the insane data load (since all TV will have been replaced by VOD coz they will have sold all the bandwidth for mobile 5G services for 4K via your phone to your head-up 3D Ocular rift successor glasses.

      So, 10 years from now, ubiquity. Can't have ubiquity without starting somewhere.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Chicken and Egg

        By then, the internet will be standard at 1gbps to the home no doubt

        Hey, can I borrow your unicorn?

        So, 10 years from now, ubiquity

        Not unless there's nothing else available. Frankly, I expect my current set (20-something inch LCD) to still be working, though its possible the no-doubt-crap capacitors in the power supply will have given up the ghost by then. And if it's still working, I'm not replacing it.

    3. Hasham

      Re: Chicken and Egg

      1500 DVD's?! Your wife must hate you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chicken and Egg

        Not if she, er, "starred" in a lot of them...

    4. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Chicken and Egg

      That's absolutely fine, but unless the resolution police kick your door in and force you to buy a 4k set at gun point how are you being harmed ? Unless you believe that because you feel a certain way everyone else does or should as well. I'm sure there's a clinical term for that.

      I kept my mouth shut about 4k until I saw a true 4k feed into a 4k set (not uhd) at which point I decided I would buy one when pricing dropped to sane levels. Others are free to not buy into it. You can still stream Netflix at 480p or but new releases on DVD but don't berate others for choosing a different path. I can see a difference, I'm looking forward to 4k tablets next year and I'm going to get a 4k monitor for photo editing as soon as I replace my desktop. No company is forcing you to do anything other than what you want. It's not like we had to relent and buy 3 sets is it? We looked, we barfed, we didn't buy. That's how the market works.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: Chicken and Egg

        @Rampant Spaniel; where, exactly in Version 1.0's original post did he say the things you were accusing him of?

        "That's absolutely fine, but unless the resolution police kick your door in and force you to buy a 4k set at gun point how are you being harmed ?"

        He didn't claim *anywhere* that he was being harmed. He expressed his own personal opinion that there was no incentive to upgrade. (*)

        "Unless you believe that because you feel a certain way everyone else does or should as well. I'm sure there's a clinical term for that."

        There's no evidence that he "believes that" because he never said it- you put the words into his mouth.

        Go back and read what was originally said, and you'll see he was expressing his own opinion in a perfectly legitimate manner- you can disagree with that, but you don't get to act as if he was forcing it on everyone else when he wasn't.

        (*) Is this another example of a misapprehension *way* too common these days- that because a free market exists, or because it's a free country and no-one is forcing someone to do something, that somehow people have no moral right to criticise something? e.g. in response to iWatch criticism, "Don't Like the iWatch? No-one's pointing a gun at your head to make you buy it"- implication, you have no moral right to criticise it for that reason.

        Taken to its logical conclusion, no-one would have the right to criticise *anything* they didn't have to buy.

        A close relative of this is- again, in response to criticism- saying (e.g.) Apple or whoever are a free company to develop and sell what they like. Implication, what you said infringes on that freedom- no, it doesn't- they still have the freedom to do that, and others have the freedom to say what they like about it.

        Freedom cuts both ways, but too often fanboys- without even realising how entitled, hypocritical and/or misguided they're being- expect that freedom to work in their favour but somehow think it protects *them* against that supposed infringement of their freedom.

        Except that there's no such infringement- freedom of speech does not imply freedom from criticism- quite the opposite, to do so would be to suppress *others'* free speech- and criticism itself in no way affects your freedom of speech (unless expressed in a clearly menacing manner). End of rant... but see how often you can spot this mentality; it's annoyingly common.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Chicken and Egg

          So whats the incentive to upgrade. That's exactly the point, he is stating because he cannot see an incentive there isn't one despite opinions to the contrary being posted here. Just because one person doesn't feel inclined but frankly I get sick of the crap from people who can't see it from any other perspective than their own. I totally understand why people wouldn't want to buy a 4k set, however plenty of people do and they have valid reasons.

          The technicals incentives have been covered repeatedly, the shortcomings (such as lack of content) have also been covered. So what is the sense in asking what is the incentive? The incentive is there is an upgrade which offers superior quality which may or may not make sense to people depending being on their budget, priorities and potential use. 4k makes a huge amount of sense to photographers and videographers. You can't bemoan a lack of content yet say there is no incentive, obviously for content producer there is an incentive which will then lead to new content. The article itself explains the lack of content and that it will change. The $100 a month for Internet was what made me suspicious of the op's attitude. I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, 2500 miles from the nearest Frys (and therefore civilisation) where bread is $5 a loaf and I pay half that for a connection that can stream 4k. When people start distorting the truth because it suits their rant then yes it makes me look to other motives

          The entire industry was geared for a move to 3D, people decided they didn't like it so we moved to 4k being the next thing, however the content producers were caught out. The screen technology was ahead of delivery method. Some movies shot digitally were shot in 4k but there wasn't a wide range of cameras, film needed to be rescanned and even then nobody really knew how it would be delivered as there were several competing formats for bluray 2.0. So yes, perhaps the incentive may require a little thought and it might not be enough for everyone but bleating about a situation that's been explained in the article you are commenting on? What do you expect? Its one thing to say the incentives don't work for you, another entirely to say they don't exist because they suit some luddite superiority complex.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

            Re: Chicken and Egg

            Isn't it just that we're at an evolution vs revolution argument? The ones that need everything to be re-bought tend to be the revolution ones, whereas the ones that are "backward compatible" are the evolution ones. And it tends to be the revolutionary items that need (and hopefully give) the incentive to update.

            For example:

            Film projectors --> VHS - convenience of viewing on the telly, plus being able to fast forward/rewind easily without the risk of your media ending up around your feet.

            VHS --> DVD - random access, bonus features, not having to rewind the damn thing afterwards, physical size (for physical storage and transportation) and durability.

            DVD --> Download/Stream - playable on wider range of hardware (e.g. phones and tablets), no physical media to store (but nothing to own either, plus DRM), reliance on net connectivity.

            Blu ray of course was an evolution of DVD, giving nothing new, just stuff that was better (resolution mostly, but also maybe more extras due to higher capacity). Blu ray 2 (or Violet ray, or whatever it will be called) will be more of the same, but again better still for resolution.

            I would wonder between discs as physical media and streaming for non-physical if there would be anything more that could be revolutionary rather than evolutionary, as there's not much more that could really be bolted on or made more convenient?

          2. Irongut Silver badge

            Re: Chicken and Egg @Rampant Spaniel

            "sick of the crap from people who can't see it from any other perspective than their own"

            Seems to me the pot is casting aspersions on the discolouration of the kettle.

            1. Rampant Spaniel

              Re: Chicken and Egg @Rampant Spaniel

              @irongut, and how am I doing that? I said I completely understand why 4k doesn't make sense for some people but that doesn't equate to it making no sense for anyone at all.

          3. Eddy Ito

            Re: Chicken and Egg

            I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, 2500 miles from the nearest Frys (and therefore civilisation) where bread is $5 a loaf and I pay half that for a connection that can stream 4k. When people start distorting the truth because it suits their rant then yes it makes me look to other motives

            I'm happy for you but I live 30 or so miles from the movie studios in LA and the fastest service I can get is 3 mbps down at any price. According to Netflix I'm good for SD but nothing more. Strictly speaking only internet service is about $40 per month; they advertise internet access at a lower price but that is on top of the other crap in the bundle that I don't use so I'm not eligible for the "lower" price. I've tried the upgrade to the fastest speed offered, up to 15 mbps, and in reality it isn't substantially faster on any benchmark or test I've performed so there is absolutely no reason to spend the money. I've also tried the only other "broadband" ISP in the neighborhood and the line quality was so bad VOIP simply wouldn't work and speeds were about half what I currently get for roughly the same price. Frankly, I had faster service when I lived in the woods over 100 miles from Boston for the same money.

            Your claim that the truth is being distorted doesn't hold up as you freely admit you're pretty much on your own little island so unless you walk the proverbial mile it's nothing more than an assumption. Also he didn't say incentives didn't exist, quite the opposite in fact as he said the technical demos were "incredibly good". It was just that as a practical matter, that was insufficient incentive given his current library of videos. As for motives, the only place I've been to that is as you describe is a place called Minato. There are a few companies there, perhaps you work for one of them.

            1. Rampant Spaniel

              Re: Chicken and Egg

              Then you have my sincere condolences, that's a pretty piss poor situation for the mainland. The costs here in Hawaii for a 20 mbps is $50 a month, $10 less if you want 15mbps but I picked 20 as is a fairer comparison as it had some headroom. There are usually more discounts to be had above that as well.

              The reason I said if we disingenuous was because if you have access to a connection that fast if implies you have access to an adsl max or reasonably fast cable provider and these days 20 mbps is usually close to entry level where docsis 3 cable is available. I respect there are areas you can't get consumer connections that fast but if you can they generally aren't that expensive.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Chicken and Egg

                The problem here is that you're using the 15Mbps figure (Amazon 4k) as your yard stick, and that's just wrong. 4K at 15Mbps is not 4K, what you gain in the resolution you lose (significantly) in the picture quality. It's these shoddy streams that will likely damn the whole 4K movement to slow adoption, if not sink it entirely.

                Bluray's average over 30Mbps for 1920x1080, albeit with the older H.264 (AVC) codec. Do you honestly believe that HEVC is so incredibly efficient that you can encode 4 times the number of pixels, at 10 bits per pixel (vs 8 for Bluray), into a file that is half as small? Of course not, you have to throw away huge amounts of information. True 4K streaming will require internet connections of at least 50Mbps and even that won't be up to the standards of Blu-ray 2.

                1. Rampant Spaniel

                  Re: Chicken and Egg

                  I'm not assuming 15mbps, that's what they have stated will be used. They stream 1080p at 4 mbps so 4x that is only factoring in a small saving for hevc.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Chicken and Egg

                    I believe you're missing the point. The picture quality of these streams, by comparison to what they should look like will be so bad that you cannot and should not call them HD and 4K respectively. To achieve those ridiculously small bitrates they are throwing out all the definition.

                    Amazon are watering down a 10 year old Scotch and marketing as a 25 year old single malt, and you're buying it. Sure consumers will see a difference against their equally crap HD streams but they'll also recognize that the '4K' doesn't as good as the broadcast quality HD they receive through their aerial, let alone their Blu-ray collection and ultimately they'll wonder what the fuss is all about.

                    In short, don't buy a 4K TV to watch Amazon 4K. Save your money until true 4K arrives, Amazon are selling snake oil, don't be a victim.

                    1. Rampant Spaniel

                      Re: Chicken and Egg

                      Well for a start, if we are being technical it is UHD, not 4k :) iirc these days 480 streams at about 700kbpd, 720 streams up to 2500 kbps and 1080 up to about 4000 kbps (at amazon, Netflix is higher). Assuming they don't bump up bit depth (which for streaming would be pointless) and assuming a realistic compression gain of 25% to 30% is perfectly reasonable to expect UHD streams at 15000 kbps to exceed the quality of 1080. I will qualify that with the fact that I haven't yet seen their UHD in action so this is based on simple math and the initial offering will probably get better over time as I will explain below.

                      When Netflix started streaming their quality was very poor, simply because they took an off the shelf encoder and tried to compress the video more than was reasonable. What they did was go and buy a company (eyeio ?) that was writing a much better encoder and that resulted in a huge increase in quality for the same bitrate. I agree totally it is not up to bluray quality levels, there is a tradeoff and judging by the popularity of Netflix, Amazon prime and Hulu it is hard to argue that people aren't prepared to accept that tradeoff for part of their viewing. HEVC is pretty cool in how it works, h264 was good but this takes it to another level. The ability to use coding tree blocks to breaks up what was previously called macroblocks into varying sizes depending on the variation in content is huge. It can use data where is needed most in any individual frame so if you had an area of largely similar colors and detail and an area of disparate color and detail the encoder doesn't have to compromise, it can retain the higher level of detail in one area without having to record excessive detail in the area that doesn't have it. Couple that with the fact that increasing resolution in the same image tends to result in a less than equal increase in bitrate for the same perceived quality, what they are proposing is not unrealistic, especially once the encoding algorithms catch up. I think Netflix were taking about having a 25 mbps upper ceiling on UHD streams which is even more head room for both quality and increased gamut / bit depth.

                      Before writing it off its probably best to wait and see. I'm not buying into 4k for Netflix or Amazon, but I do think the initial signs are what they plan on is reasonable (if the bar is set at offering a comparable quality to 1080 but at 4x the resolution ). They aren't going to match physical media but that hasn't stopped them from doing well so far.

                      1. MJI Silver badge

                        Re: Chicken and Egg

                        Those bitrates are pretty low compared to disc media

                      2. Rampant Spaniel

                        Re: Chicken and Egg

                        Sorry. Just to correct an error, Netflix just licensed the technology from Eyeio, they didn't acquire them.

                        I just went and had a look at UHD from YouTube. Encoded with h264 at 20 mbps using a mediocre encoder. Viewing it at 1080 showed pretty good quality. Viewing a 100% crop changed it a little. There was definite blocking visible in areas of motion but areas without much motion were crisp. Check out "road to machu pichu" in 4k. It does really show the weaknesses in this type of compression, hevc should negate some of it but not all. The part where the guy is in the canoe, he's rocking so moving but not by much so there isn't much blocking yet the background is moving and more contrasty and therefore showing blocking. If you throw enough encoding power and a decent encoder at it you can reduce the blocking but it's still going to be there with h264 and to a lesser degree with h265. It will be far less noticeable with h265.

                        I just found this page if you are interested in seeing h265 / uhd at those bitrates.

                        www.elecard.com/en/download/videos.html

                        Not the greatest examples, it's hard to tell with the shutter speed used if the blurring on the moving flowers is due to motion blur or compression artifacts but it looks like the former. No blocking on the moving detail either which is seriously impressive.

                        Just caught the comment about the bitrates being low compared to physical media. Yup, I wouldn't argue that. Although bluray and streaming use a better algorithm than DVD so that isn't directly comparable. Streaming is at a lower rate and a lower quality, each person can make their own choice if it's worth the trade off. Personally I can live with it for TV stuff and movies on a smart phone but I respect that others wouldn't. I still get movies I like on bluray but personally I do like what Netflix et al offer.

          4. Michael Strorm

            Re: Chicken and Egg

            @Rampant Spaniel; "So whats the incentive to upgrade. That's exactly the point, he is stating because he cannot see an incentive there isn't one [etc etc]"

            You can rationalise it all you like, your rant says way, *way* more about you than it did about some random guy expressing a personal opinion on whether he felt he had an incentive to buy a telly with more pixels. (And no, the fact his personal opinion didn't address every point ever raised by obsessives on the subject doesn't make it a f#$%^ing disinformation campaign...)

            Your ascribing of motives of disinformation smacks of someone who takes anyone who feels differently (even if it's just a personal opinion not being forced on anyone else) as a personal attack. Someone who assumes the other is as obsessed and partisan on the subject as they are, but on The Opposite Side. The tendency for a disagreement on one point to be taken as legitimate reason to assume that the other person holds every opinion The Heroic Defender Of The Faith has ever argued against... in fact, everything they are against.

            Even if it's just an opinion on a screen with slightly more pixels, for f***'s sake... (What *is* it with the Internet in recent years that this tendency has become so prevalent?)

            Seriously, you say things like this...

            "When people start distorting the truth because it suits their rant then yes it makes me look to other motives"

            ...when you were the one putting words in *his* mouth like the "resolution police" (which related to nothing he'd said)? I'd hardly describe what he said as a "rant"- that would be more suited to your post above!

            1. Rampant Spaniel

              Re: Chicken and Egg

              Seriously, slightly more? 4x the number. But carry on this is fun.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Chicken and Egg

        I'll be harmed because the cable monopoly will use it as an excuse to drastically raise cable prices. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, with HD where they did exactly that.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Chicken and Egg

          @Gene, they did try that, so I called to cancel and the price went back down. Once Netflix came along we canceled the TV service entirely. They can only do what you let them.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Chicken and Egg

            @Gene, they did try that, so I called to cancel and the price went back down. Once Netflix came along we canceled the TV service entirely.

            Hurrah for you. 'round here, cable is my only choice for reasonably usable Internet service, which I need for work; basic TV is bundled with the network connection, and the incremental cost of extended cable is about what Netflix would cost. And the TV service is less annoying than streaming from Netflix, which1 is far too prone to pausing for buffering.

            1On the occasions where someone visiting the house has used their own Netflix account. We had their DVD-by-mail service for a little while, but dropped it because we rarely watched the DVDs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Train my eyes?

    "But what of those sceptics who maintain (wrongly, obviously) that 4K doesn’t deliver appreciable benefits in image quality to the average viewer anyway? According to Ron Martin, they simply need to train their eyes"

    That doesn't sound like a very good selling point. I can see the marketing slogans:

    "Buy a 4k TV now! Wanna see why? Train your eyes!"

    erm yeah...

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Train my eyes?

      "Train your eyes, never be able to watch HD again!"

    2. PT
      WTF?

      Re: Train my eyes?

      Is that like "train your ears" so you can hear the benefit of gold-plated speaker cables?

  6. Me?

    sooner the better

    I am not interested in video, but all PC screens are now sized by the video so hopefully we will soon be able to buy monitors we can see a full page on again.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: sooner the better

      There are 4K monitors out there now for not-totally-stupid prices. Then you just need to spend the same again on graphics cards to actually play games at that sort of resolution.

    2. Archaon

      Re: sooner the better

      You may be referring to something else, but 4:3 and 5:4 monitors were never ideal for that either. If you compare the average 17" CRT/early LCD screen from 10-15 years ago do you really lose out compared to the wide variety of cheaply available screens available in larger sizes now?

      For example if a 21" widescreen offers you the same vertical resolution and physical space as a 17" screen (which it does), are you really losing the capability for viewing documents in full screen or are you actually gaining space next to that document to use something else?

      As far as I'm aware the best fit for an A4 page (taking into account that you'll need some space for interface bits and bobs) is a 16:10 display rotated by 90 degrees. Rotating stands are not uncommon, if not if the screen has a VESA mount then rotating stands are not particularly expensive to purchase.

  7. Joey

    4K, Meh

    I can't wait for 16K Laser 3D and rediscovering all those great Marx Brothers films!

  8. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Consumers who care about quality?

    When I watch TV I watch the programme, not the display, and it's programme quality that matters.

    We may well get to a point where large panels are only sold in 4K, just as today almost every TV can claim "3D", but whether that will to matter most viewers is questionable. Let's face it, most people are content to watch 4:3 format video stretched to fil a 16:9 screen and don't see anything wrong with it, and a lot of people with standard Freeview TVs that only contain SD tuners will insist that they're watching HD because the TV says "HD Ready" and the local transmitter now has HD broadcasts.

    It will appeal to the pub boasters, and the "iPhone fanboi" types who'll spend a fortune just to show that they have the latest gadget, but the average viewer who's just bought a new HD TV isn't going to fork out (4k out?) another few grand just so they can see all the detail on the spotty faces of the latest X-factor muppets.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Consumers who care about quality?

      4:3 stretched to 16:9 is awful... I cringe whenever I see that...

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Consumers who care about quality?

        I hate the reverse too. I can't stand watching a lot of long heads talking.

        1. DropBear
          Thumb Up

          Re: Consumers who care about quality?

          ...which is why one should screw diagonal inches when buying a 16:9 TV to replace the old 4:3 set, and instead pay attention to the display HEIGHT being equal or larger than the old set's was - that way you're covered. 16:9 will look great, and UN-stretched old 4:3 will still look no worse than it used to...

      2. JeffyPoooh
        Pint

        Re: Consumers who care about quality?

        "4:3 ... 16:9"

        Stretch, Crop, or Black Bars - choose your poison. All are awful in their own way.

        BUT WAIT!! There are some blended modes where they intelligently merge two or three of those techniques. Just a hint of cropping top and bottom, and some gentle stretching but mostly at the edges. It's subtle and works better than the other options. One of our TVs (Sony?) offers this mode and it's nearly invisible (Y Opinion MV).

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Consumers who care about quality?

          I've never understood why people hate letterboxing. Maybe If I create a screen with a mechanically driven bezel that automatically adjusts to the picture's aspect ratio that will make it acceptable.

        2. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: Consumers who care about quality?

          The problem I have with those 'blended' modes is when watching a new channel, or anything with side to side scrolling text (I suppose the credits of Crossroads would do it). The typeface changes size as it moves, which is a really unpleasant thing to watch.

        3. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Consumers who care about quality?

          Stretch and crop

          Or why I didn't buy a WS TV until I had WS broadcasts.

          I am happy have black bars to get the correct look.

  9. HMB

    Not Just 4K, but HDR Video

    I've been waiting for HDR video for a while, to hear more about it going with 4K is very exciting. I think 10,000 nits HDR will have a much larger wow factor when people see it than the 4K resolution. Good to see things coming along.

    As a note, when I talk of HDR I'm not talking about the stuff you see in tone compressed photos, but displays that are capable of showing a much larger colour gamut. It would make things like sunsets and fireworks look far more realistic on display screens.

    1. Brandon 2

      Re: Not Just 4K, but HDR Video

      Let's hope HDR sets are not the "Beats" equivalent of headphones like the "240hz", fill-in-the-gaps-between-frames "super smooth" panels were. I hated that feature. The 240hz thing was so imperfect and distracting it just broke the immersion for me. I'd rather a panel accurately depict the directors vision, rather than "enhance" it.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Not Just 4K, but HDR Video

      There were some HDR displays at IBC this year; better dynamic range, wider colour gamut, and 120Hz frame rate.

      Combined with 4K, that really is a stunning difference. It's one of those that's had to describe, because of course most people are used to the range of colours seen on TV, and the levels of contrast. But seeing a side by side comparison really does make it stand out.

  10. jaywin

    But with 8k on the way...

    ... and the broadcasters actually interested in that format, anyone investing in a 4K TV now is likely to find that investment short lived when 8k comes on stream. And with the Japanese wanting to use the Japan 2020 Olympics as a showcase for their 8k technology, it's likely to happen much quicker than the panel manufacturers would like us to realise.

    Besides, at least 8k has a frame rate increase - I'd be happier with a double frame rate HD resolution screen than a double resolution panel operating at the same early 1900's frame rate that was chosen as a compromise back then.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: But with 8k on the way...

      That's probably closer to a decade away, we can make the screens but processing a 33 mp hdr image at 24 to 120 fps takes some serious grunt. Even digital capture presents challenges for current generation kit. Buy a 4k kit in the next year or so and by the time it breaks you should be able to pick up an 8k set.

      1. Callam McMillan

        Re: But with 8k on the way...

        Talking to somebody in the know, there should be regular 8K transmissions by the middle of next decade with the Japanese Olympics really showcasing the technology.

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: But with 8k on the way...

          The road map I picked up at IBC was for NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, and yes, they are planning to have an 8K service on air for the 2020 Olympics, with tests from Rio in 2016.

          However, how much material there will actually be remains to be seen, of course; remember the first HD channels didn't have tons of HD content.

          Also, to a degree, Japan tends to do these things its own way. The rest of the world will probably be hanging around waiting for DVB specs and so forth before launching something.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But with 8k on the way...

        @Rampant Spaniel: "That's probably closer to a decade away"

        That's fine; if my current TV doesn't last a decade and more I would be fairly pissed off. It's not that long.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: But with 8k on the way...

      If you're thinking seriously about buying a 4K screen now then you're either rich, or an early adopter (actually the rich bit isn't optional).

      In which case, by the time 8K screens come out, you'll be bored of your measly 4k and want to upgrade (and posting comments wondering if you should hang on for 16k screens).

      1. Vic

        Re: But with 8k on the way...

        If you're thinking seriously about buying a 4K screen now then you're either rich, or an early adopter (actually the rich bit isn't optional).

        ...In which case, you should be spending your cash on the LOHAN Kickstarter project.

        Less than £1300 to go!

        Vic.

      2. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: But with 8k on the way...

        There's 4k sets on Amazon from $340. Hardly expensive. They probably aren't the highest quality but should manage a few years.

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: But with 8k on the way...

          And some of those cheap sets are going to be very limited, in terms of what you'll be able to do with them - some don't have an update to date version of HDMI, and so won't be able to cope with higher frame rates and increased colour depth.

          People will, sadly, be buying those for a while in discount stores, and then wondering why they don't get quite the same leap in quality that the magazines and web sites tell them they should.

          I hope we're not in for a re-run of the sort of confusion that surrounded the HD Ready logo, where many less technical shoppers will assume that a 4K logo means something rather more than it actually does. However, I fear that's precisely what will happen, as standards bodies rush out their logos, and manufacturers rush to capture market share, before everyone else works out the finer parameters of what they're going to be broadcasting or streaming.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I watch too much telly as it is

    I need to get OFF the sofa and out in to real life!

  12. frank ly

    This is the thing

    "Only five of these can be unlocked to view, but that shouldn’t matter as only four are worth watching anyway."

    If I didn't have any (or some) of those titles, it would be because I couldn't be bothered or didn't want to buy them. So the content owners wouldn't lose anything by letting me unlock all of them. But no, their content is so valuable that it has to be 'allowed' a little bit at a time, my precious.

    Note to 'content' producers: I can get a good two or three days of intermittent immersive entertainment experience by reading a good book, and those are widely available though monochrome and quite low resolution. Maybe you should up your game and produce content worth consuming and let me decide which five minutes to watch as a 'trailer', instead of your two minute choice of extracts in YouTube (or wherever).

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: This is the thing

      I'm still trying to work out if the author wants four copies of Ghostbusters or if he considers some of the other dross worth watching. It must be the former surely.

  13. Hasham

    I already see too much on HD

    Blackheads and the tiny hairs on ladies' chins and upper lips. What horrors await us with 4K I shudder to think.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I already see too much on HD

      Hasham: "Blackheads and the tiny hairs on ladies' chins and upper lips. What horrors await us with 4K I shudder to think."

      Yeah, HD ruined the 9xx channels for me, too.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I already see too much on HD

      I know! Imagine actually being that close to a real woman! Nightmare!!

      1. Hasham

        Re: I already see too much on HD

        Using the term "woman" loosely, of course! No woman of worth would be so indolent with her beauty regimen.

  14. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    4K in 1993

    I remember 1993. Powerful machines then had, maybe, 64MB of RAM and a 40MHz 68040 Motorola processor or a 33MHz 486. High-end machines could hold around 128MB which cost more than the computer running it. High-end hard drives were in the 1-4GB range. Put 10 4GB drives in a RAID-5 and get 36GB space.Added to that is the fact that 16-bit SCSI hadn't yet been introduced.

    How in Heaven's name did they manage to digitize a move like 'Snow White' in 4K? I can see why they didn't keep it. You need a lot of DLT tapes to keep a 100GB+ file for machines that came with 160MB hard drives.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: 4K in 1993

      Who do you think Silicon Graphics' customers were? There's a reason why commodity PC hardware still isn't used for post-production.

    2. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: 4K in 1993

      Those were high end office machines but they were not the best you could get. Apple and Wintel have never been the forefront of computing technology. Try looking up the specs for VAX or SGI boxes.

  15. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

    A number of options...

    1 - Spell "Blu" properly, and as it's 4K, hence more - Bluer Ray

    2 - Purple Ray (or any other colour of choice "the new blu"...)

    3 - I'd say Ultraviolet-ray, but as UV is already used for the DRM shackled download service...

    4 - Don't bother with a new name as the adoption won't be high enough to warrant mass production and the associated marketing (cynical answer).

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

      Megaray!

      Stingray (with aqua marina as the foxy logo!).

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

      UHDD

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

        UHDD

        That sounds like porn-star milk...

        *'scuse I whilst I go and wash my brain out after that thought*

    3. Michael Strorm

      Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

      Since the implication is we have to keep going to shorter and shorter wavelengths to fit all the data in, I'd have said "Gamma Ray", but technically I suppose it should be named "Gamma Ray Ray".

      Which is awful from a marketing point of view, but the format would be bound to fail anyway when the lasers started killing people with beams of high energy radiation. This would originally be put down to a failure in the twelve-inch-thick lead shielding on the top of the players, but it would be later found to be maliciousness... on the part of the player itself.

      Yes... the content protection system designed to stop Gamma Ray Ray owners from doing copying their discs- or indeed, doing anything worthwhile with them- would be so ludicrously complicated that the players were in effect self-aware. Eventually they would realise (HAL 9000 style) that the easiest way to stop this piracy would be to kill the owners with their integrated gamma ray lasers.

      Studios would blame the system's lack of popularity on BitTorrent sharing.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

        At least in this household, Gamma Ray would cause immense confusion with the excellent Pale Ale from Beavertown Brewery. Still, the artwork for the can does rather illustrate your point..

        1. Vic

          Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

          Gamma Ray would cause immense confusion with the excellent Pale Ale from Beavertown Brewery.

          That is an excellent brew - highly recommended here as well :-)

          Vic.

  16. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Its nice to see them finally getting to the res my 18 year old monitor still has.

    Mind you that broke the bank - cost nearly as much as my 1.6G hard drive!

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Its nice to see them finally getting to the res my 18 year old monitor still has.

      A barco?

  17. Pristine Audio

    You have to train your eyes???

    >“We have an engineer in the (PHL) lab who says that while maybe you can’t see the difference initially, you can feel the difference. I used to scold him for that, saying that’s not an argument, but sure enough after a little while of viewing this stuff when I go back to a Full HD panel the first thing I notice is the pixel grid in the display, and it bothers me.”

    Sounds suspiciously like the kind of crap you hear from certain elements in the hi-fi industry about 24-bit audio vs. 16-bit audio...

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      scold

      'Scold' is such a lovely word. I have heard it used in a long while. It brings back memories of wicked masters scolding miserable slaves in Latin class.

    2. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: You have to train your eyes???

      "Sounds suspiciously like the kind of crap you hear from certain elements in the hi-fi industry about 24-bit audio vs. 16-bit audio..."

      I trust double blind tests have been carried out to find if 4K actually is noticeably different from normal HD? Do we have to put little pyramids on top of the TV, or play 'pink light' Blu-ray MKII to improve the vision?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You have to train your eyes???

        I trust double blind tests have been carried out

        I suspect that blind tests don't really work with something that is 100% optical :)

    3. Vic

      Re: You have to train your eyes???

      " ... when I go back to a Full HD panel the first thing I notice is the pixel grid in the display, and it bothers me.”

      Sounds suspiciously like the kind of crap you hear from certain elements in the hi-fi industry about 24-bit audio vs. 16-bit audio

      Maximum visual acuity for a human is somewhere in the region of 0.02 degrees. At 8ft, that means you can't see better than about 30dpi, even if you've got excellent vision.

      A full-HD 40" display gives you about 55dpi - so any artefacts you can see in that situation are caused bt the video encoding, not by the display. Upgrading to 4K or more of itself will not give you a visibly better picture, because your eyes simply don't have the resolution.

      So if someone tells you how much better 4K is, he's either got a *very* big screen, or is sitting closer than I would like to. Or - and this is key - has a better video encoding chain (better codec, higher bandwidth, etc.)

      I liked 4K - I was very close to a very large display - but I won't be buying one whilst I can buy something with lower resolution for less money.

      Vic.

  18. Archivist

    Zits ahoy

    And the director will still want tight shooting where the lead actor's face takes up the whole screen. Hand-held of course, we wouldn't want it without the shaking..

    1. Patched Out
      Facepalm

      And let's not forget

      The artificial lens flare in JJ Abrams' movies will look so much more annoying in 4K/HDR!

  19. pip25
    Meh

    I can feel the difference...

    ...in my wallet. And for now I think I'll stick with the reassuring experience of having significantly more money in it instead of "feeling" something coming from a TV screen which I only seldom use to begin with.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I can feel the difference...

      The only 4k TV I've seen IRL was simply stunning and made every other TV - even expensive ones - in the shop look awful. However whether that's down to resolution or just a superior screen I have no idea. I find it hard to see why the pixel size should have such an impact when standing 20-30 feet away, as I was when casting my eyes across the array of TVs, but the 4K one was just in a different league.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: I can feel the difference...

        It's complicated and the physics put me to sleep but the extra information does affect the image even if you can't discern the individual pixels. In photography weer use the term micro contrast (probably incorrectly :) ) but having spent years making prints and testing lenses that out resolve either the film or sensor in my eyes the effect is there. Others may disagree, that's fine. Discussing Nyquist frequency and aliasing puts anyone to sleep well before they can learn the math but consider this.

        You have a black line one pixel thick on a white background with a single red pixel in the middle. You start close and you can see the line and the red pixel. As you move back and reach the limit of your eyes to discern the indivisible pixels you'll notice they don't actually just vanish like the last slice of pizza at a works party. The distinct red pixel starts to merge with the black making a combination of the two and the black line merges with the white background making a grey stripe. The pixels still affect your vision beyond that point for a period then they do vanish.

        At the end of the day you watch a UHD display and look at the price tag and make an individual choice which will be right for you but El Jobs and his retina math was just marketing. Its not right to say it's totally pointless at this level for everyone, that's is impossible to see a difference. Perhaps 16 or 32 know will be part the point which there's any discernable difference for anyone.

  20. DropBear

    Considering I'm perfectly happy watching my DVD collection (that I never intend to replace, no matter how far display tech advances in my lifetime) on my 4:3 CRT TV (that will absolutely stay in service as long as it's functioning), can I get my "card carrying Lo-Tek" badge now, please...?

    1. Zack Mollusc

      Never replace DVD

      When did you start buying your DVDs? Shouldn't the early ones have started delaminating and oxidising by now?

  21. Zog The Undeniable

    I have Blu-Rays and DVDs, and also a 46" HDTV. I can't tell the difference between the formats AT ALL from where I sit about 3 metres away. If I had a massive screen or sat really close to it, maybe I could, but that would mean the living room was utterly dominated by a big 2001-style black monolith, and I don't want that.

    So no, 4K is of zero interest to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If its not apparent from 3m you should seriously consider visiting an optician.

    2. spinynorman

      re. 4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

      I'm wondering when you last had your eyes tested? I can certainly tell the difference at 3 metres from my 46" Sony. I have upgraded a few of my DVD's to Bluray and appreciate the improvement in picture quality. Have you also removed the pointless overscan that some televisions display out of the box? That can also make a small difference. For me, the transition from analogue to SD digital was very much a retrograde step. HD finally presents an improvement to what was achievable with a good analogue broadcast signal. 4k should be great for projected film viewing.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh..

    Given the amount of TV I watch in a month, it's well possible that it would take me a couple of weeks to notice that someone nicked my TV. I can't see myself spend that sort of money on a TV. On a computer, yes, on decent audio even more, on a TV, not so much.

  23. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Puff piece

    Did anyone think this was more than a puff piece for Dolby's tech?

  24. ColonelClaw

    "only four are worth watching anyway"

    So, that's Ghostbusters, er, Captain Philips, hmmm, Moneyball? and... and...

    help me out here please

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Its Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters. So good you watch it four times.

  25. Bassey

    Pointless Argument

    So the guy that is trying to sell us on the idea of 4k suggests that the best thing about it is not how noticeably better the image quality is (he admits most people won't actually notice the move up) but that, having got used to 4k, all the rest of the content out there (currently 99.999% - roughly) will be ruined for you because it is really hard to go back.

    I think I'll wait, thanks.

  26. jzlondon

    Sounds brilliant. I'll definitely buy one wh en t .... buffering ...

  27. Spoon Monkey

    BLAK Ray

    The number 4 looks a bit like a Capital A

    :-)

  28. Yugguy

    Sweeeet - wrinkles ahoy.

    Now we'll be able to see all the tv presenters' wrinkles in ever greater detail.

  29. Tom 13

    Verizon keeps f'ing with my 1.5 Mps Netflix connection

    and you think they're not gonna do that for Amazon's 4K video app?

    Disclaimer: Only leaving out Comcast because I'm a FIOS customer.

  30. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    reason to avoid 4k TV

    Because buying one only encourages them...

  31. ecofeco Silver badge

    Can't afford it

    ...and don't need it.

  32. kyza

    Once they're down below AUD$1500 for a 55" and upscaling software has come on a bit I'm in. I had a fiddle with a Sony 4K telly a while back and once I'd reduced the settings to normal viewing levels (i.e. all the picture 'enhancers' either disabled or minimised) I was still mightily impressed with both the native $k content and the BD of Toy Story 3 being upscaled.

    When it comes to content I'll do the same thing I've done with BD - my core collection of absolute must have movies I consider classics I'll quadruple dip (in some cases - the Godfather trilogy I think will be a quintiple dip as I had both 'The Epic' BBC version and cinema release on VHS) and any decent new releases I'll buy in 4K or, more likely, buy a digital copy of them.

    You don't have to replace your entire collection - upscaled DVDs look great on my old Sony when played through the PS3, and I reckon the same will apply to 4K.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm about to go from HD (1.25k) to 2.5k

    And expect to go 5k in several years when my upcoming 2.5k dies.

  34. OzBob
    Coat

    So, Naughty America have already started releasing 4K material

    Mine's the jacket with the "screen wipes" in the pocket.

  35. Andy3

    This is getting silly. Many people (at least in the UK) have barely settled in with widescreen HD, and some channels are still broadcasting only in SD, yet here we have the industry pushing for even higher resolution. And where is the bandwidth going to come from? Already, the UK's Freeview system is struggling to find room for a handful of 1080 channels, so where's it all going to fit?

  36. Stewart MacDuff

    Netflix

    What is all this talk about Netflix and streaming? Netflix doesn't get good new films the day they come out and surely nobody with a soul should pay into the Murdoch empire? So what matters is how well it plays torrented downloads.

    Few people want to download much more than 5Gig files and a good BR rip of that size on a 1080p plasma is so good it'll take me happily to the grave.

    Maybe one day the Studios will wake up and make it available directly to their consumers thus.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I say "completely meaningless"?

    The only meaningful part of 4k is observing the stupidity of people thinking it will make their lives any better.

  38. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Joke

    Tan from Dolby?

    So does it have an UV channel? IR channel?

    Actually, having more colour channels could be a real improvement for simulating reality. Imagine the screen showing a scene in Sahara and actually feeling the heat...

  39. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  40. Sheep!

    4K porn in 3D will be a market driver no doubt.....

  41. Zack Mollusc

    Progress marches on.

    Ooh, once upon a time i had an old CRT telly because I was too cheap to buy a flat screen telly, then I had an old CRT telly because I was too cheap to buy an HD-ready telly, now I have an old CRT telly because I am too cheap to buy an HD telly.

    Soon I will have an old CRT telly because I am too cheap to buy a 4K telly!

    1. Vic

      Re: Progress marches on.

      Soon I will have an old CRT telly because I am too cheap to buy a 4K telly!

      I have a CRT telly because it does black levels better...

      Vic.

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