My jaw hit the floor with such force that I think it's still partially dislocated. Despite the enormous screen size, I think it was 60", it seemed there was detail in the picture finer than I could see; that if you put it under a microscope, you'd see more and more detail. If I had a pocket magnifier, I would have tried it.
Unfortunately, the terms involved are somewhat muddled and there really isn't a way to know exactly what you're getting without seeing the TV. For example, if I had bought that TV, I would have bought a 4K Ultra High Definition TV and would have thought I had the best there is. After this year's Consumer Electronics Show, though, I might be finding out that TV isn’t actually “Ultra HD Premium.” EE Times' reporter Junko Yoshida does a summary of the terms and what's really going on in the market.
The UHD Alliance, an industry group with 35 member companies, came to Las Vegas last week, and rolled out a set of new specifications called “Ultra High Definition Premium,” and a ‘Good Housekeeping’ logo for products and services that comply with the spec. The group’s recommended performance metrics include resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut.As always, "the devil is in the details". The HDR specifications, for example, specify how black the blackest levels need to be and how bright the whitest levels need to be. The Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has been researching what constitutes "HDR" and developing specifications. Their "HDR10" has been adopted as a basic standard for HDR 4k TV. But peak brightness and peak blackness are just limits; how to meet those limits is a different question; if I told you the blackest blacks need to be the blackest thing imaginable and the peak brightness had to match the sun, I might have created a spec. that nobody could meet.
The new spec actually clarifies the definition of Ultra High Definition. This is something “premium UHD” panel makers wanted but the Consumer Technology Association (formerly known as Consumer Electronics Association) never did,” according to Richard Doherty, Research Director of the Envisioneering Group. “So, the UHD Alliance stepped up and gave them what they wanted… Others can now aspire to meeting the criteria.”
To date, four companies — Dolby, Technicolor, Philips and the BBC — have developed an HDR format. Each firm, armed with its own intellectual property rights, has been pitching its technology — a development destined to trigger another format battle over which format will be added to Ultra High Definition TV.Shades of the VHS/Beta VCR standards? Yup. I'm fond of the saying that goes, "when there's more than one standard, there is no standard".
One piece of surprise news came out of CES last week. Technicolor (Paris) and Royal Philips announced an agreement to merge their HDR solutions.This matters because every scene isn't pure white or pure black. The color space is incredibly important. If you were around as CGA computer monitors were replaced by VGA and then SVGA and so on, you'll be familiar with the ideas color resolution and color spaces a monitor can display. It applies here, as well. (This is a deep subject; people study this for a living, so don't be surprised if it seems to be really esoteric.) The most inclusive standard for color spaces I can find is CIE 1931. Ultra HDR, 4K TVs are supposed to meet an input of Rec. BT.2020 ("Rec" is short for recommendation, but think of it as yet another specification).
So what does all this mean? What's the bottom line? Right now, the market appears to be both scattered and looking for directions. There are some gorgeous 4k TVs out there, but while walking through the Big Box store a couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the display aisle and there were some that didn't look that good. Not just HDR, which makes the screen look less vivid, but other picture problems as well. I'm not buying for that reason, along with the lack of 4k source material. In this neck of the woods, HD cable TV is just starting to do 1080p TV. The 2160p of 4k just isn't there. If you feel you have to have one, I'd still be really hesitant until specs get agreed upon. You might read this article, too. If you still feel you have to have one, I wouldn't buy one unless I could see it first.