If you haven’t heard of Ultra HD or 4K yet, allow us to introduce you to the exciting evolution of TV and movies. This new display technology is an astounding new breakthrough in resolution that allows viewers to see graphics even sharper and more crystalline images than ever before. Instead of today’s 1920 x 1080 resolution with 2 megapixels that has allowed us almost life-like detail, the Ultra HD will take a step even further with a 4096 x 2160 with a 8 megapixel resolution. The Ultra HD 4K will make its grand entrance this year with a likely potential to become the top format for both movies and TV in the future.
It’s true we live in a “size is everything” kind of world and the new Ultra HD displays won’t disappoint, but for those who don’t believe in a bigger is better motto, there will also be a less imposing display offered. Sony will be launching both 55 inch and 65 inch models along side the monstrous 84 inch models. Models will be released at the IFA by brands such as Samsung, LG and Panasonic near the end of August. This new technology development brings us now to the million dollar question, “Do you actually need an Ultra HD TV?” The difference between the standard HD is simple, the higher the pixel count, the higher the increase in detail as well as a smoother appearance to curves and diagonal lines. For those who like their screens larger than life, a higher pixel count means images can expand larger before breaking down. Viewing distance will also be improved, pixel density will allow you to sit closer to the T.V. Without seeing the noticeable pixel grid. Many Hollywood movies and TV shows are already being filmed in 4K, some even in 5K. Although experts have argued these minute differences between a 2K and 4K are hardly worth it on anything smaller than a 100 inch display, on a larger screen the power of a 4K picture is evidently beneficial.
For those wanting to get their hands on the Ultra HD software to revamp their home cinemas, the answer is yes, you can buy a projector to support it and bring the 4K home to a theater not just near you, but right in your living room. The Sony VPL-VW1000ES was the first Ultra HD projector that arrived in 2012, it includes a UHD 8.8 million pixel SXRD panel that can be accepted with HDMI or displayed natively or with other incoming sources. So when does Ultra HD makes it’s appearance on TV channels? The truth is, Ultra HD has already been sneaking up in Europe’s TV broadcasting. In the UK, some documentaries are already being planned to broadcast in HD as well as the 2012 London Olympics who used Super Hi-Vision 8K, an even bigger step to sophisticated HD. If the 4K doesn’t peak your attention enough, another marveling format launch is on the move, the Super Hi-Vision 8K, created by Japan’s National broadcaster NHK. This technology was trialed during London’s 2012 Olympics but it still has a long way to go before becoming a standard format but it definitely has our attention peaked with a 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution (roughly 32 megapixels). The Ultra HD broadcasting will also hit the US, with a scheduled trial set for the Baltimore sometimes in 2013. South Korea and Japan are also following suit, with current programs being broadcast or in the works.
So what is to become of that extensive blue-ray collection you have stocked up? Fortunately you don’t have to send them off to your local pawn shop just yet, the Ultra HD format will likely support Blue-Ray discs. Movies are increasingly being mastered at a 4K resolution as well as many TV shows already being filmed at the 4K level. Ultra HD content has already been exposed to most Hollywood moguls but whether or not they will hand it over to consumer hands remains unknown. 4K compatible Blu-Ray players have already been released over the spring but in terms of an actual Ultra HD disc, the future is still up in the air. That leads us to our next question, will you be able to get Ultra HD films onto your Ultra HD TV? Considering new discs are out of the picture for now, a ‘content delivery system’ will have to suffice. Sony will allow its 4K customers a special TV server that will transfer seven native 4K movies that are in the form of heavily compressed downloads.
So when will Ultra HD take over TV and movies as the “standard”? Although electronic companies have been tirelessly priming the new format for the consumer use, patience might pay off in this scenario. Arguments, a lack of industry standard, broadcast and playback of this new format will make it a bumpy road at best. For those looking to advance to 4K in the realm of digital photography, the future is a lot brighter. Playstation3 currently digital images at 4K resolution and Panasonic recently launched a tablet marketed towards designers, architects and photographers. It’s apparent Ultra HD is on its way to making the 4K shift but even with game consoles, Blu-Ray capable players and broadcasting trials in the mix, the ability to standardize the new display is a mystery that will keep us guessing for now.