Jan 08

What is UltraHD?So CES has finally kicked off and it seems almost every big electronics blog out there is inundated with UltraHD articles. Every company out there seems to have their own version of UltraHD, luckily most with the same resolution of 4k, because we certainly don’t want a repeat of blu-ray vs. HDDVD or Passive 3d to active 3d. There are a few 8k resolution TV’s… but lets be realistic here… they don’t have a shot for at least 10 more years. Anyway, what is this UltraHD thing all about, and how much will it cost us?

I’m going to be honest right off the bat, don’t expect to afford an UltraHD TV anytime soon, at least if your middle class… or even upper middle class. The cheapest UltraHD TV is around $20,000, as much as a pretty decent car! Not to mention every UltraHD TV is huge… like, the smallest one is around 55 inches, most averaging in 70-80, some as high as 107! Very few people have the wall space for such a monstrosity. So why are companies scrambling to compete in a market that may not exist yet. Because it may exist within 10 years.

The thing about HD and our eyes is a tricky thing to tackle. For instance, if you’re getting a 1080p HDTV, you want to go AT LEAST 32 inches or more, otherwise your eyes won’t tell the difference between standard definition

Samsung has gone an interesting route with their UltraHD TV's

Samsung has gone an interesting route with their UltraHD TV’s

or HD definition. The same thing applies to UltraHD… except it is MUCH bigger. Some folks have done the math and theorize that if you want to actually notice the ultra high resolution, you’ll need to purchase an UltraHD display at around 80 inches. You read that right, in order for you to fully take advantage of UltraHD resolutions and see a discernible difference from regular 1080P displays, you need to get a display 30 inches larger than the average HDTV, which is typically around 50 inches (if BestBuy’s wall of HDTV’s is to be taken as an average).

But are they worth it? Not yet. Is UltraHD the future of television as we know it? Yes, probably, at least if Sony successfully transmitted 4k video over satellite. But how far in the future is this? If I were to wager a guess, we won’t see UltraHD channels from any major network for about five years, and won’t see the majority of channels pick up the resolution for ten years, which is about how long it took for HDTV to take a foothold once it started showing up on shelves at CES. The other indicator that it won’t be for a few years is cost, since the cheapest one (with an actual price tag) is around 20k, you won’t see the majority of the population scrambling to get one. As long as it’s not affordable to the middle class, it’s not mainstream yet. Not to mention the cost for networks to purchase new 4k camera’s.

I would suggest keeping an eye out for the best OLED HDTV’s out there in the next coming years, since they have the best picture, and most likely, will be affordable within a couple years. As oppose to the UltraHD tv’s, that won’t see store shelves, or the average persons living room, for another five to ten years.



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