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4K HDTV's? Do you need one or or do you care?


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#1 of 26 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 28 2012 - 03:11 PM

The CEA is hosting the CE Week show right now in NYC.  One of things that is being bandied about is a 4K HDTV.  Why?  Well, for the first time ever, demand for LCD TVs is down year-over-year with LCD units declining 3% to 43M units in the first quarter of 2012.  But it gets worse for technologies like plasma, which have declined 8% to 51M units in the first quarter of 2012.  After years of increasing sales of flat panel HDTV's, largely because of declining prices, the market is becoming saturated.  Yes, there have been incremental improvements like LED back lighting which has provided for thinner displays and 3D, but those units have largely been too expensive when comparing against "regular" HDTV's.  We have to admit that readers here are a more discerning breed, so we typically are willing to pay more for better picture quality, because at the end of the day, we want to see the pictures as the videographer intended it to be.  But we are not in the majority.


So, what are the TV manufactures looking to do?  Well at CE Week Westinghouse and LG both talked about 4K displays.

The big problem here is the same problem with 4K projectors, there is not any native content!  I know from my HD DVD days that some of the studios scan film content at 4K and higher, but many were still scanning at 2K during the format war.  It was expensive for the studios to rescan their content for HD DVD and Blu-ray and I suspect they would be unwilling to do it for 4K.  There is also the question on if 4K would always fit, even on 50GB BD discs.

The other problem here is would the consumer even be able to tell the difference?  LG and Westinghouse talked about upconverters for their flat panel displays, but that is the same as what was going on with the Sony and JVC 4K PJ's that were at CEDIA last year.  I saw both of them, I wasn't impressed, just like I wasn't really impressed with DVD players that upconverted to 1080P.  I want detail, not interpolated images.

While the readers here can appreciate picture quality and not just resolution, the other problem is can anyone see the difference?  CarltonBale has published a great article on what sums up 4K TV's problems in a nutshell: at some distances and screen sizes, even the difference between 720p and 1080p to the human eye can be negligible, and this is even more true of 4K.



Click on image for a higher resolution version

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


This same issue came up during the format wars.  HDTV was just coming out back then and many people were buying 32~42" HDTV sets, but sitting 10' away from the display.  They couldn't see a resolution difference at that distance with that size of display.  The recommend viewing distance to really see 1080P resolution is 1.5X the screen width.

So, unless consumers are going to buy really large 4K flat panels, the market isn't going to take off.  It also isn't going to take off with all forms of broadcast television (OTA, Cable, Satellite) not having the bandwidth to push a 4K image out.


I guess in a declining economy everyone has to try something.  3D certainly isn't meeting the lofty expectations that flat panel companies expected and even HD optical disc is no where near the penetration that DVD had for many reasons.  One of those reasons being streaming video, which many times has less video quality than DVD!



#2 of 26 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted June 28 2012 - 04:49 PM

According to the chart, you would need to sit 4 feet from a 55 inch TV or for those of us with front projectors 8 feet from a 120 inch screen to see the full benefit of 2160p.

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#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted June 28 2012 - 09:23 PM

I think there will be little to no consumer interest in 4k television. The benefit is nonexistent for anyone with a standard sized (50 inches or under) TV. Is a family of five all going to sit 4 feet or less from their TV? I don't think so. Doug
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#4 of 26 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted June 28 2012 - 10:18 PM

I just bought a 73-inch 3D TV last year. I'm done for the decade.

#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted June 29 2012 - 01:26 AM

I view Blu-ray discs 8' back from a 96" screen via my front projection system. If the BD is properly mastered the rendered image seems extremely detailed with good vibrancy. I'm sure that Blu-ray starts to "fall apart" a little past 120", but very few average consumers are going to want to deal with images above that size -- even via a portable projection system. IMO, the only way a Blu-ray size disc could support 4K (Isn't that what they're talking about doing?) is with even more modern video codecs. But in trying to cram 4K movies onto 50GB discs -- even with better video codecs -- we're probably going to be back to the days of more visible compression artifacts in the transfer. What good does it do to have 4K resolution if the image is marred by EE and/or digital noise? (I know: Many BD's still exhibit these anomalies now, but there's no reason for them to since the existing codecs and the 50GB capacity should provide more than ample space to avoid compression artifacts at 2K resolution..) No --- To do 4K right is going to require a whole new format. And the consumer-on-the-street is just not in a mood for that right now. It's a "non-starter" until roll-up 200" OLED screens and 100GB flash memory sticks become the norm. We're probably talking 2020.
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#6 of 26 OFFLINE   kenkraly20212

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Posted June 29 2012 - 03:27 AM

I already have a good 60-inch 3D DLP HDTV and a sony ps3 as my main Blu-Ray player. For me a 4K HDTV is still years away because their is not enough content for 4K. And 4K will cost more money to make content for the format on top of the cost of the 4K sets themselves.

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Posted June 29 2012 - 05:00 PM

Originally Posted by Steve Tannehill 

I just bought a 73-inch 3D TV last year. I'm done for the decade.


Yep, you and everyone else that just bought a HDTV!  IMO, the customer segment that would buy a 4K HDTV, already bought a HDTV.  It's not like they are going to get the remaining people that probably didn't have the income to get on the HDTV bandwagon to get one.  Most people were forced to turn in the NTSC TV back when the switch from analog to digital took place!



#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted June 29 2012 - 07:29 PM

I view Blu-ray discs 8' back from a 96" screen via my front projection system. If the BD is properly mastered the rendered image seems extremely detailed with good vibrancy. I'm sure that Blu-ray starts to "fall apart" a little past 120", but very few average consumers are going to want to deal with images above that size -- even via a portable projection system.

Considering that films shot on 1920x1080 cameras such as the Panavision GENESIS, don't "fall apart" on screens as large as 65 feet, (the largest I've seen projected) I have serious doubts that any screen size you have at home is going to present that resolution with any difficulties. Doug
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#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted June 29 2012 - 08:36 PM

Considering that films shot on 1920x1080 cameras such as the Panavision GENESIS, don't "fall apart" on screens as large as 65 feet, (the largest I've seen projected) I have serious doubts that any screen size you have at home is going to present that resolution with any difficulties. Doug

I have a 120" screen and well-produced BRDs do not fall apart at that size image. They look even better and they are even more enjoyable!

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Everett Stallings

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Posted June 30 2012 - 04:34 AM

I have a 136" screen, and the picture looks great with a well made BD. Also from my Comcast DVR. The WB's 1930 movies on Demand TV also look great! (The R. Twenty's) is one that looks like if was filmed today.:D
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#11 of 26 OFFLINE   GeorgeAB

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Posted June 30 2012 - 05:31 AM

Resolution, screen size, viewing distance, are all interdependent in determining actual viewing quality, and each item really has little to no meaning without quantifying the companion elements. Screen size and viewing distance are actually only contributing components to define how much of the observer's field of view the image occupies (viewing angle). Most consumers have a low saturation threshold, or interest, when it comes to the capacity to comprehend such technical realities. I have seen plenty of poorly designed home theater systems in my career, with projection screens that were too large. I have also noticed plenty of audience members in commercial cinemas sitting in the front half of the auditorium. Current cinema images won't support such viewing distances without compromises to picture quality, with the exception of programs shot with 65mm cameras and projected in 70mm systems, or IMAX cameras and projected in IMAX systems (both scenarios are relatively rare). With 2K or 1080p, any viewing distance much closer than 3 screen heights (at 1.78:1) will be too close for average 20/20 visual acuity. A 30 degree field of view retains maximum image sharpness and detail for those formats (2K digital cinema allows for somewhat closer viewing than 1080p due to additional resolution). These are all theoretical generalities used by the movie and HD video industries, and based upon imaging science and human perceptual factors studies. There are always exceptions, but these recommendations fit for most humans. The 4K format was developed for the movie industry and certain higher quality applications such as digital graphics, flight simulators, etc. Of course, television manufacturers are always looking for a way to stimulate consumers with bigger numbers. Marketing types fully understand that the bigger numbers don't really have to translate into genuine improvement. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste [or intelligence] of the American public." H.L. Mencken Best regards and beautiful pictures, G. Alan Brown, President CinemaQuest, Inc. A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate "Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"

#12 of 26 OFFLINE   ronlw

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Posted June 30 2012 - 10:42 AM

I'm not at all sure where the "point of diminishing returns" sets in but I think we are really close. 4K might be nice but how many people will notice. I have always striven for a better picture with my "holy grail" being the quality of a 35mm release print. For me, that point has arrived with blu-ray. I project a 20 foot (240") diagonal scope picture and sit eighteen feet away. A good blu-ray looks every bit as good as a 35mm release print. Excellent. Would I like 70mm print quality...well, yes, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra cost. I'm extremely happy now....but that's me.

#13 of 26 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 30 2012 - 10:46 AM

I don’t hold out much hope for 4K, at least in the near future. I mean, we’re not even getting the most of 720p/1080i high-def TV as it is. I recently recorded a Forensic Factor show, and the detail during the interview segments (“talking heads”) was simply jaw-dropping, much more so than I had ever seen from a TV show, or even a blu ray. And it was only 720p, as I’m using component video cables between my DVR and 50” Pioneer Kuro plasma. I’ve noticed for quite some time an annoying anomaly with many HD TV shows: The detail in the establishing shots is awesome, but when they cut to the actors everything goes soft. IOW, for a good many shows we’re only getting mid-def, not high def. So if we’re not getting anything near the full potential of even 720p/1080i HD with TV programming, what’s 4K going to get us? I expect that if content providers took full advantage of the current HD format, no one would see a need for anything better. But on the other hand, maybe that’s the idea... Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 30 2012 - 10:49 AM

I think it will be a flop, just like 3D will AGAIN.

#15 of 26 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted June 30 2012 - 11:29 AM

I think it will be a flop, just like 3D will AGAIN.

Yeah, 3D will flop. Just like the 1950s where it lasted two years 1952-54 and 1980s where again it lasted only two years 1982-84. And of course recently where in 2008 we only had 5 3d films, 22 in 2009, 37 in 2010, 55 in 2011, and probably more this year. Yeah, its a flop. :D

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Posted June 30 2012 - 05:03 PM

I view Blu-ray discs 8' back from a 96" screen via my front projection system. If the BD is properly mastered the rendered image seems extremely detailed with good vibrancy. I'm sure that Blu-ray starts to "fall apart" a little past 120", but very few average consumers are going to want to deal with images above that size -- even via a portable projection system.


I have watched many HD DVD and Blu-ray discs on 10' wide screens (not diagonal).  If you have a good PJ and the disc is authored / compressed properly, the image never falls apart.  I have an 9' wide screen 16:9 screen (124" diagonal) in my HT, Adam has a 10' wide screen (137" diagonal) in his HT.  We both have basically the same PJ, the Samsung 800/900 and the lens on that PJ doesn't disappoint.

For a PJ, there are not any consumer projectors that have enough light output for a screen >10'.  You have to get into PJ class >$20K to get that kind of light output.

When you get into that territory, there are a number of custom installers that I know that do 20' wide screens and use Blu-Ray as the primary driving source and the image is spectacular.  Now, when they move to cable/satellite, that is a different story as the compression becomes obvious.

At the end of the day, the resolution really isn't what is important, it is how the compression was done on the original image.  A similar analogy is cameras.  These crap cameras on phones with 8-16 megapixels going through a plastic lens produce a crap picture.

This gets down to the root of the original post. Upscaling to 4K isn't going to make any difference if the original was shot in low resolution or if the compression is crap.  Getting the industry to rally behind capturing video on 4K or rescanning negatives at 4K is going to be next to impossible.  The industry already found out that people didn't move to Blu-ray because of increased picture quality like they did to DVD.  Mainly because DVD added more convenience factors besides image quality than VHS (i.e durable media that didn't decline with use and the ability to not have to rewind or wait to chapter skip).  This is why more people are moving to streaming digital than Blu-ray disc... Convenience..  The same reason that people embraced digital music over a higher quality sound on CD... convenience...


Unfortunately for those that frequent this forum, we are a minority.  We want incredible picture quality, sound quality and features.  The rest of the mainstream public isn't us...


#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 30 2012 - 11:52 PM

Unfortunately for those that frequent this forum, we are a minority. We want incredible picture quality, sound quality and features. The rest of the mainstream public isn't us...

Sad but true... Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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#18 of 26 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted July 01 2012 - 02:44 AM

I have watched many HD DVD and Blu-ray discs on 10' wide screens (not diagonal).  If you have a good PJ and the disc is authored / compressed properly, the image never falls apart.  I have an 9' wide screen 16:9 screen (124" diagonal) in my HT, Adam has a 10' wide screen (137" diagonal) in his HT.  We both have basically the same PJ, the Samsung 800/900 and the lens on that PJ doesn't disappoint.  For a PJ, there are not any consumer projectors that have enough light output for a screen >10'.  You have to get into PJ class >$20K to get that kind of light output.  When you get into that territory, there are a number of custom installers that I know that do 20' wide screens and use Blu-Ray as the primary driving source and the image is spectacular.  Now, when they move to cable/satellite, that is a different story as the compression becomes obvious.  At the end of the day, the resolution really isn't what is important, it is how the compression was done on the original image.  A similar analogy is cameras.  These crap cameras on phones with 8-16 megapixels going through a plastic lens produce a crap picture.  This gets down to the root of the original post. Upscaling to 4K isn't going to make any difference if the original was shot in low resolution or if the compression is crap.  Getting the industry to rally behind capturing video on 4K or rescanning negatives at 4K is going to be next to impossible.  The industry already found out that people didn't move to Blu-ray because of increased picture quality like they did to DVD.  Mainly because DVD added more convenience factors besides image quality than VHS (i.e durable media that didn't decline with use and the ability to not have to rewind or wait to chapter skip).  This is why more people are moving to streaming digital than Blu-ray disc... Convenience..  The same reason that people embraced digital music over a higher quality sound on CD... convenience... Unfortunately for those that frequent this forum, we are a minority.  We want incredible picture quality, sound quality and features.  The rest of the mainstream public isn't us... 

How far do you sit from the screen?

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#19 of 26 OFFLINE   ronlw

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Posted July 01 2012 - 06:45 AM

One of the not so great things about better resolution is the focus problem with original acquisition. Wayne mentions, "I’ve noticed for quite some time an annoying anomaly with many HD TV shows: The detail in the establishing shots is awesome, but when they cut to the actors everything goes soft. IOW, for a good many shows we’re only getting mid-def, not high def." With everyone going for extremely shallow depth of field, more often then not I will see the focal plain across the ears leaving the eyes (where we normally make contact) somewhat soft. Focus pullers need to pay more attention.

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Posted July 01 2012 - 09:53 AM

How far do you sit from the screen?


I sit a max of 1.5X the width of any screen, but in my HT is sit 10' away from my screen ~1.1X the width.  THX recommends a further distance than that, but I prefer seeing more detail.  I never can see pixel structure at that distance.  I just have one row of seating positions as my HT isn't completed yet in terms of acoustics and real HT seats.  At Adam's house I also go for the "pole position" which is ~ 11' from his screen.


I should also note that my comments about a PJ being bright enough are largely dependant on the screen material.  While there are always debates about micro-perforated screens in regards to the quality of the sound, Adam knows first hand that the Samsung strains to achieve 14' lamberts of light on a 100 IRE pattern with his microperferated screen that has a 1.1 gain.  He has to keep his bulb on high and replace it more frequently.  The Stewart 130 (1.3 gain) is really the recommended screen for 2D viewing for a 10' screen.  This is what Kevin Voecks has at his house with the Samsung 900.


Now add 3D imaging and you need a substantially higher output PJ to get acceptable 3D performance.  If you go to a higher gain screen then other artifacts start to come into play, such as color shifting and hot spotting.

At any rate, to have a front projection experience and experience 3D AND have a 10' screen, you are going to need a much more expensive PJ that has high light output, or sacrifice image quality with a higher gain screen.

A great example of this is the JVC PJ's.  They have less light output than the Samsung and trying to do 3D with them on a 10' screen that doesn't have artifacts is pretty much impossible.