Latest developments in flatscreen TV – October 2013

There’s definitely a trend in TVs getting BIGGER. We have been installing many more 50- 55″ TVs recently, as opposed to 42″ being the average size over last few years. Although screen sizes are larger, these TVs still look relatively modest when mounted on living room walls, due to the latest ultra slim frame and bezel design….and for HD & 3D content, the detail is so much more impressive on the larger screen sizes.
Now extra large TVs are becoming commercially available, and affordable, between 60-84″ size range for the larger living rooms – these are generally 4K resolution spec to maintain same Pixel per inch (PPI) detail as the smaller screens.
Current full HD resolution is 1920×1080p which provides 2,073,600 pixels (a 2.1 megapixel image).
Ultra high definition (UHDTV) or 4K, is the latest innovation ! – 4K generically refers to a horizontal resolution of around 4000 pixels. An UHD TV or projector display actually has native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels providing 8.3 million pixels in total. This means therefore that there is 4x the detail of current HD displays. This increase in resolution is only really perceivable on the larger screen sizes. Note that digital film production and UHD digital cameras will have slightly different resolution of 4096 × 2160 (8.8 megapixels, aspect ratio ~17:9). Another UHDTV format is 8K (7680×4320) which is also in development for the future.
Ultra high def is all well and good but where is the content?
Although UHD TVs will display 8 million pixels, the matching source content is not yet available ! – all images from current HD (or even SD broadcasts) and DVD, etc, are artificially upscaled to match the higher native resolution of the TV. Although this is not true 4K, it can still be very effective, particularly on the larger TV screens, where additional lines of detail are beneficial.
At the moment, there are no UHD broadcasts, or UHD DVD players/discs – and these arent going to be available for some time yet (2014-2016). There is an online ‘UHD on demand film service’ but this is only available in USA at the moment with limited content.
The only current way to get ‘true’ UHD images onto TV is from content produced on a UHD digital camera or video camera.
Future video games will be produced in 4k resolution, but will not be supported by latest PS4 or Xbox1 consoles (which will only display 4K photos/videos).
4K ouput will be availble from specialist PCs (with HDMI 2.0), but live 4k content streaming is going to be challenging with a minimum broadband of 15mb/s required. Digital storage of 4K content will also be a challenge as file sizes will be massive.
HDMI 2.0 – New Standard
The latest version of HDMI (from V1.4) is a hardware change only mainly to support higher resolution/bandwidth for new UHD displays. This does not affect the cable type/design which is unchanged. The current high speed certified HDMI cables are more than capable of 4K transfer, so dont be fooled by the inevitable marketing of HDMI 2.0 cables.
The first breed of UHD TVs may not all have HDMI 2.0 version connectors, so may not be compatible with future HDMI 2.0 devices – check to ensure that firmware or hardware upgrade is available.
Plasma, LCD, LED, OLED – 4 main types of TV are available, each with its own merits – Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and LG are the main players -contact me for advice on size and type when selecting a new model.
3D, smart hubs, apps, gesture control, voice control, cameras, web browsers etc – some of these features are useful, others are gimmicks – contact me for what to look out for
Please let us know if you would like to upgrade or install any AV technology in your home. We are also able to provide advice and assistance on latest tech