There is a resolution revolution taking place in our living rooms, living rooms all around the world are going Ultra High Definition (UHD), bringing cinema quality pictures to a TV near you.
At the core of this latest revolution is a new generation of consumer oriented 4K TV’s. All of the big names have new models about to be released and soon they will all be joined by TCL’s thousand dollar 4K bargain, the 4K market is heating up.
To make the most of all of those extra pixels 4K content is a necessity that is still to be delivered. Don’t be disheartened fans of 4K, the content is closer than you may expect.
The 4K market may still be in its infancy; the radically expensive first generation 4K TV’s have given way to consumer oriented models. One Chinese up-start is taking the 4K battle to the big names, offering a budget priced $999 4K TV while other manufacturers are only offering top end 4K TV’s.
The announcement by TCL (The Creative Life) sent the internet into a buzz; this is the lowest priced 50 inch 4K TV in the world after all. This is unashamedly an attempt by TCL to establish a foothold in the US market, they have been very successful at getting people talking. Availability of the TCL no frills 4K should begin in August, while TCL do sell around the world it is unknown if any other countries will receive this model.
New models, better value.
The initial generation of 4K TV’s were vastly expensive with many models costing more than a family car. They were also vast in size with 84 inch human sized TV’s being the norm for these boardroom bound LCD panels. This next generation of 4K TV’s are far more consumer oriented in both size and value.
The Toshiba L9300U was first shown at CES earlier this year, now the important information has been announced. The 55 inch model will include the far more consumer friendly price of $4,999 USD. Not cheap by any means but it is heading in the right direction. The monster 84 inch model will still cost you a small car ($16,000) mind you, but on the bright side at least you could live in the box. Availability should begin in August for the new Toshi panels.
Samsung is expected to join the party in late July (early August for Australia), introducing the world to the F9000 series of 4K TV’s. The 55 inch model will sell for $5,499.99 USD while the 65 incher will set you back $7,499.99.
Sony is winning many friends with its X900A series of 4K TV’s. With brilliant colours and vivid detail this well executed 4K TV also packs ample wow factor. With the 55-inch model priced at $4,999 USD Sony is hoping the X900A will find a home in many living rooms. Audio quality is also exceptional on this series of Sony thanks to 10.1 channel surround sound speaker system. Availability is scheduled for the end of July.
LG are taking the high road with their 4K consumer TV’s, pricing the range of LA9700 4K TV’s well above the competition. The 55 inch and 65 inch models are available now, selling for $6,999 USD and $7,999. The panels are based on LG’s excellent IPS technology for rich colours and great viewing angles.
Dell is also joining the 4K revolution with the release of the new UltraSharp 32 monitor. This 4K 32 inch display for professionals is not only capable of the new higher resolution but it also includes a more complete colour gamut, improving the range of colours available. Pricing is unknown at the moment but expect it to be more expensive than the ASUS equivalent (PQ321Q) that is currently available for #3,500 USD.
Up-scaling will be in heavy use by early adopters of 4K TV’s, an unhappy but necessary evil. Though the wait for 4K content may be far shorter than you many expect.
The first 4K TV channel in the world launched this week in South Korea, six months ahead of schedule. Korea Cable Television and Telecommunications Association (KCTA) started the limited trial of 4K TV broadcast via high speed broadband. The trial is limited in both customers and channels, with 6 households receiving the 5 channels currently available. Japan’s SkyPerfect are also due to start testing their 4K TV transmissions in coming months.
Sony has been experimenting with content delivery, its initial offering is the new FMP-X1 UHD media player that includes 10 movies stored on the internal hard drive and an internet connection to download more. Sony have also been testing internet based delivery of the content, this option should be available later this year through their Video Unlimited 4K service, an especially interesting option for the PlayStation 4. You will have to set aside 100GB and a bucket load of time to download each movie mind you.
The evolution of the TV is marching forward unabated. All of the players have considered their position and set their plans in motion. A little chaos is then applied via TCL, who proceed to throw petrol on the carefully started fire, a case of smart marketing or too much too soon? Thankfully the winner in both scenarios is us, the consumers.