Don't Think 4K TV Is Awesome? Something Is Wrong With You

CES is mostly useless, sure, and most of the trillion dinky things trotted out like chrome and plastic show chihuahuas will wind up in landfills. But CES is worth it just to give 4K, UltraHD TV its big debut. And if you're not amazed by it, there is something wrong with you.

The entirety of CES was both an ornate celebration and obnoxious whine-fest about 4K television. The charges are simple:

• 4K is too expensive for anyone to afford. • 4K doesn't have any firm release dates, so we don't even know when we can buy it. • 4K doesn't have any content, so it's pointless to even think about buying one. • I already have a TV, so why would I care about another TV?

Ergo, 4K sucks and is irrelevant. CES sucks! This sucks!

That attitude couldn't be more inappropriate or disheartening. There's no doubt that 4K is all of these bad things right now and out of reach. But it's also, retina for retina, one of the most amazing things my eyes have ever observed. It's technology that makes you smile because of how impressive it is. It's technology that doesn't seem possible — looking at Sony's OLED 4K was almost giggle-inducing, it seemed so fantastic compared to what we have now. Colours aren't supposed to look like that! You're not supposed to be able to see the details in someone's hair this way! But you can — or rather, you will, as soon these televisions are put on shelves with price tags that align themselves with our actual livelihoods.

And it will. I promise you, it will. I know because the exact same thing already transpired in the history of technology. The exact same thing. We're quick to sink into forgetfulness and cynicism, but turn your clocks back to 1998 if you can, the year in which the New York Times published this article titled "HDTV: High Definition, High in Price":

AFTER more than a decade of research and political debate, most of the world's consumer-electronics manufacturers have announced their plans and prices for the new high-definition television sets that go on sale in September. And talk about sticker shock: the least expensive ones will cost $US8,000.

That $US8000 number is almost $US12,000 in today's inflated dollars, and keep in mind the enormity of these impending 4K sets, which dwarf any early HDTV predecessors. The display technology is also massively more sophisticated too. Still, the most impressive, amazingly vivid picture anyone had ever seen was something almost nobody could afford. At first. And why bother? Everyone was still renting VHS movies anyway. It's almost as if we were faced with a brand new technology of unprecedented visual amazement that cost too much, didn't have any available content and seemed entirely impractical.

Now department stores try to liquidate this same technology every six months.

This cycle will repeat. You will be able to afford something absolutely mesmerising to replace the TV you have now — a TV that will make watching Chinatown, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and Downton Abbey more enjoyable than it has ever been. A TV that will make viewing your huge DSLR photos more gratifying than they've ever been. A dazzling, bright screen for doing dazzling video things that haven't even been invented yet. And how can anyone be anything but thrilled for that? Are any of you so cynical that you'd rather throw up your hands and tilt your nose back at a technology that hasn't even had a chance yet? This is science fiction stuff — screens that approach reality! Kick yourself in the arse if that's not something that makes you grin, even if it will only make sense in 2022.

Until then, let yourself be amazed and excited. This isn't some bullshit buzz melange, a better cloud or faster stream or bigger screen. This is a genuine leap forward toward a big rectangle that will sit in your house and stimulate your brain's pleasure areas. The bleeding tip of tech has always been a little aspirational, so let's let it be. We shouldn't spend the years between us and 4K as drooling, ogling consumers, but we shouldn't spend them as eye-rolling sceptics either. Let's just smile, wait and let our geeky corneas sizzle in anticipation. It'll be worth it — I promise you.


Comments

    TL;DR Meh... I don't care about HD TV or blue ray I care about good content.

    4KTV wont give me that.

      So you've come here with the intent to speak, and not listen.
      People like you are what is wrong with the world.

      So you're saying don't bother making better tech?
      The companies that are doing R&D into UHDTV make Televisions, not movies.

      If you don't like it then it's pretty simple isn't it, don't buy it.

      Last edited 16/01/13 1:19 pm

        I don't know, I think he makes a relevant point! As nice as it would be to have 4K TV it's not exactly affordable any time soon. So content is higher up on my list. Why get bent out of shape over something you can't have unless you are quite well off? As for the headline, I think that is just a slap in the face, typical Biddle nonsense!!

        Last edited 16/01/13 1:25 pm

          Read the article people.
          I'll summarise for the ignorant.
          The main point was people complain about UHDTV when HDTVs had the same issues (ie. lack of content, high price) but over time things changed.
          I remember the first plasma screen I saw in the wild. It was around 40" Standard Def and cost $40,000. That TV today would be around $300-400.

            WTF are you talking about? There is still a lack of "quality" content on HD. Writers stoped concerning themselves with quality in the mid 90s.

              I would agree that movies today arent as good as they use to be, but I believe we are in the golden age of TV. Shows like breaking bad, game of thrones, dexter, sons of anarchy shit on anything from the early 90s.

                Let's not forget the excellent shows that were cancelled due to stupid network executives, like Firefly. Damn, I miss that show :( "Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand.... I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from meee" :(

                  Time to get over firefly. It was cancelled ten years ago this year and wasn't quite as brilliant as people like to remember it as. I still watch the entire run of it each year at some point but I'm not blinded by the flaws it had.

              WTF are you talking about? Are you suggesting there've been no quality movies or shows since the mid 90s?

              Last edited 16/01/13 6:43 pm

              Would really love to know the quality TV you were watching in the 90s. Was it The Nanny, maybe Home Improvement?

            Unless you have money to burn so you can actually buy one, what's the point of talking about content for it, or purchasing one. You will have a very expensive TV and be watching the same low res content on it for years.

              the article is trying to point out that the same was said for FHD tvs that we all use now as well

              there was no 1080p content 10 years ago and everyone was butthurt about the $8k pricetag for a tv.

              Now you can buy one for $299 from kogan and every dvd or bluray is FHD

              hell the LG optimus G Pro has a 1080p panel in a 5" phone now for less than $800

              So in anohter 10 years time the same thing will happen to UHD tvs.
              hopefully by then CES will be showcasing some crazy VR or augmented reality google glasses gear or something

          But it will become affordable. What your saying is new tech is too expensive, so stop developing it and we will sit forever with what we have now. It's not like anyone is forcing you to buy a 4K TV.

            Where in my comment does it say "new tech is too expensive, so stop developing it"
            I'd love to buy a 4K TV but not until it is affordable. Until then I choose quality content to a higher res TV. Read it properly..!

        What he said is 100% relevant. It's the same as the problem with new video games. Quality of game play is sacrificed for better graphics.

        Just because its 4K doesn't mean the programs that are shown on it will be any better.

        How will watching a crap show in 4K make the show any better?

          How you can all keep missing the point is beyond me.
          The manufacturer of your television does not make the shows that are displayed on it.
          It's like trying to blame HP because you reckon Windows is shit.

            But that is my point. Here is Sony and Samsung and everyone else crying out "Hey look at this awesome TV, this is going to make all your shows awesome". But the truth is it won't. Sure they will look good. but the story lines and the acting will be just as crap as it is right now. Of all the shows on TV at the moment there is maybe 2 that are truly good shows. The rest is just recycled crap with the same story lines and jokes that have been told a thousand times before. A quality story line is much more important than brighter flashes.

            Also, @Luke Hopewell. With all due respect (Which is to say no respect at all) Watched the Hobbit Last night in 3D. Was excellent. The 3D effects were exactly as they should be. While in other 3D movies the background or foreground often appeared too far or too close, The Hobbit was exactly as it should be. There were a couple of times where you could see the transition it was not that noticeable and I believe that like the theme of this thread, if you had paid more attention to the story, since it is the story that people go to see, you may not have noticed it as much and may have enjoyed yourself, instead of coming over as a whining little girl.

            PS. this is the first 3D movie I have watched where I didn't need to take a Panadine half way through. This should be the template that all other 3D movies are filmed in.

              YOU ARE COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT.
              Sony and Samsung DO NOT MAKE TELEVISION PROGRAMS.
              They have no control of what TV shows are made, they simply make the panels.
              They're statement is correct, it will make your shows look better. They didn't say it will change the cast of your TV shows, nor did they say it will change any production values.
              THEY SAID IT WILL MAKE THINGS LOOK BETTER, THAT'S ALL.

              For anybody else that fails to understand for what ever reason.

              TELEVISION MANUFACTURERS MAKE TELEVISIONS

              TELEVISION SHOW PRODUCERS MAKE TELEVISION PROGRAMS. (However good or bad they may be).
              THE TWO ARE IN NO WAY LINKED.

              This is an article about television sets, not programs. Discuss the technology, not the crap that's on it.

                And my point is that TV on 480P is no better than TV on 4K if the shows being played on the TV is the same as the ones that are being shown at the moment.

                The headline states that 4K TV is awesome. If we are only talking about the screen that you watch on then it should read 4K TVs or 4K displays are awesome. The fact is that the headline implies that what is shown on a 4K screen is better than the same played on a 1080P display. This is wrong. A crap show played on a great screen, even if its filmed in 4k, is still a crap show. Until the quality of the shows improves, owning a 4K is nothing more than bragging rights.

                  Your point is wrong. If I have two versions of the same video - one a crappy, low-res VHS rip, and the other a perfect 4K disc, the 4K one will absolutely be more enjoyable to watch. Higher quality picture/audio is always better. Do you think listening to a song on a cheap tape deck from the 80s is just as good as listening to it on a CD on a nice new sound system?

                Also just to poke a hole in another of your statements.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Pictures_Entertainment

                  Two completely different divisions that do completely different things completely independant of each other.
                  Knew somebody would post something like that.

                  It would just be nice to discuss the TV as a TV and the technology behind it, this is a tech website not IMDB.

                  Technology is pointless without something decent to use on it. Whats the point of having a state of the art TV if I'm not going to use it to watch anything.

                Never heard of Sony Pictures? (Not saying they make quality content though).

        I came here with an informed opinion and after reading four relevant points often levelled at 4kTVget arbitrarily dismissed I did the same with the rest of the article.

        Yeah, I am all that is wrong with the world. We should all focus on bigger better TV’s LED TV’s, Smart TV’s and wait for it 3D TV’s have all revived the industry… oh wait…

        Keep making your *better* tech I wont be buying it.

          If 'the point' was a wall 5km wide 1km high, and you were standing 30cm away from it you'd still miss it.

      If the article is too long for you such that you didn't read it, then why comment?

      What content do you mean? In terms of higher fidelity we need screens to display it on before we have any use prettier content.

      If you mean just better quality movies/games in terms of design and non tech based aspects that's created by different companies entirely so advances here don't mean money isn't going towards the other. This is simply a way to enjoy those products a bit more when they arrive ^_^

    4K is and will be amazing....then 8K will come onto the market. At least we know what features the PS4 and Xbox will have. Also it will mean another re-issue of The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

      This is usually what happens when technology advances....
      Would you rather go back to the pre 1080p days and just stay there?

        I wouldn't mind it. Turning on the analogue TV, the picture on there looks way better than the same channel on the digital TV - with the added benefit of being able to see and hear everything when some kind of sparking or whatever causes interference with the signal, there's no sudden silencing or pixellated garble of the image :P

        My friend tried to show me the difference between Dark Knight running on DVD followed by Blu-Ray on his big-arse TV back when it came out. I honestly couldn't see a difference, so I'm not particularly fussed about 4K at all.

          If I face palm any more today I'm going to knock myself out...
          I don't understand why people are carrying on about how 'pointless' 4k is, and ra ra ra.
          At the end of the day it's a resolution standard.
          As time goes on panels are going to get better, and resolutions are going to increase, if you can't afford a 4k display or don't want one nobody is forcing you to get one.
          I still have an old, standard definition, CRT TV at home because I hardly watch anything on it.
          If I want to watch a DVD I still can, if I want to watch free to air TV I still can, so 1080p televisions have had no impact on my viewing at all.
          I just don't get why people cry about progress.

          For those whinging about the content these days Manufacturers of Televisions make Televisions, not what is played on them.

            I didn't say it was pointless full stop, just said that I'm not fussed about it - more in reply to the headline of the article than anything really, because I don't think it's all that awesome. So if I'm implying it's pointless at all, it's in the context of a personal level.

            Sure it probably has its place and there are those who will love it and make great use of it. I'm just not one of them. Although that said, having a 4K panel on a computer would be fairly awesome, having so much space to play with. Though I guess it could easily become unmanagably large.

              A 4k monitor would be more interesting to me as well, although I might need a new graphics card to draw all of those pretty pixels. It would temporarily solve the issue of icons flowing over onto my second monitor as well haha.

    I don't think 4K will be very successful in the home. Maybe for TV stations and movies but not home videos.

    I have a camera that can shoot 4K video and have looked at it on my high definition LCD computer monitor. I know it is not showing true 4K but the difference between HD 1920X1080 and 4K is not as dramatic as it was from Standard Definition to High Definition.

    Lastly the video files are huge and I mean HUGE. I know storage space is getting cheaper and cheaper but you can only store so much and trying to edit these videos has sent me back 15 years to when it took all day to render a video.

    I am a techie and love technology but I don't think the jump in quality is enough.....maybe when 8K comes it it may be worthwhile. :)

      I have a camera that can shoot 4K video and have looked at it on my high definition LCD computer monitor. I know it is not showing true 4K but the difference between HD 1920X1080 and 4K is not as dramatic as it was from Standard Definition to High Definition.

      Errrr, how do you come to that conclusion when you don't have a 4K display on which to view the results?

        I have a 42" Sharp LED and it has one of the better 1080p screens made at the time, but I find myself renting movies in SD because there's not enough of a difference to warrant the extra bandwidth. The difference between 1080p and 4K should be quite noticeable by comparison.

      Of course it looks no better downscaled to your consumer 1080 monitor... Ever heard if dot pitch? Pixel size? Suggest you do some more reasearch before calling yourself a 'techie'.

      I think the jump from 4K to 8K would be even less noticeable than the jump from HD to 4K. Unless you're going to have TV screens that are measured in metres rather than inches, I'm not sure the human eye could even see the difference between a 4K image and an 8K image on, say, a 70 inch screen. I think we're rapidly approaching the point in image resolution where the advantages of increasing resolution are so diminished as to not be worthwhile.

      Just goes to show, you can never please people. Always will whinge and complain and note all the faults with the product than actually think of the positives. Even more so when they silly things like i have a camera that can shoot 4K but when viewing on my computer monitor at 1920x1080, wasn't that different. Really, you're joking.

      Oh and then say maybe when 8K is out, might be better. "Might be better" lmao.
      The jump in quality is amazing, yeah its expensive, there's no content YET but it was the same for 1080 tv's which still getting content so be a while, but for me thats a good thing because in the years to come, the 4K will be cheaper and there will be content and then i can get my new tv.

      People just seem to want the best and they want it now with everything bundled in and even when they get that, they still complain.

      you wouldn't notice a difference watching 4k on your 1080p monitor. the best you can see is 1080p regardless of how the content was filmed. you need a 4k viewer to view 4k content.

      Call yourself a Techie, well you may want to find a new hobby.

      If the native resolution is 1080p, then anything greater than that will be downscaled to 1080p as well and should be nearly identical. You can't make that conclusion without comparing it to an actual 4K resolution screen :S

    So ... about those 3D TVs that were the next greatest thing after sliced bread? You know, the ones that were silly expensive, didn't have any content and basically didn't do much different to the TV I already have?

    Step outside your reality distortion field and realise that just because the same arguments were put forward for HDTV and 4K TV does not mean they will automatically have the same ending. To think they will is to cherry pick from history.

      What do you mean there's not content for 3D televisions? The Queen's Christmas Address was broadcast in 3D. I wish I had a 3D television with which to behold that awesomeness.

      3D TV is a gimmick. Being able to watch something in high enough resolution it's like true life? That's a real immersive experience.

        Just an FYI.

        True life IS 3D.

        Just sayin

          You can also focus on different points in real life. 3D wont assist in making TV more immersive until it can allow the same, not reduce the resolution, and not make whatever you are watching darker and harder to watch.

      Difference being when 3D was being touted at CES as the next big thing the vast majority of articles I read on it were all fairly dubious about the benefits of active 3D (most agreed it had some benefits but too many flaws holding it back). With 4K I'm not sure I've seen a single article written by someone who's seen one of these displays that wasn't awestruck by the image quality and obviously aside from having to wait till the price drops to consumer levels there's no downside (like nausea/wearing stupid glasses with 3D)

      3D will likely be a big thing again at some point once they get passive technology sorted but that seems to be quite a long way off, which again seemed to be the opinion from that CES, most thought it was a neat way of giving us an idea of the wonder that would be passive 3D (whenever we actually got it :P).

    For now I'll be happy when FreeView channels are all in 1080P. Not this 500 and something i rubbish. We've had 1080P for ages, why the hell aren't Freeview broadcasting in this res?

      Um, the bandwidth required to broadcast 1080P is more than double that required to broadcast what we currently get?

      /shouts in ear, hears an echo.

      I meant to say 1080i or whatever the standard that Ch1/12 has and SBS. Why aren't they all in the higher def?

    Telling me how impossibly great 4K is reminds me of the story of when Edison first recorded an opera singer's voice onto a wax cylinder. People who heard the recording said that they couldn't tell the difference between the real person's voice and the recording.

      Meaning that it will be impossibly great until, say, 8K enters the fray :-)

    I think there's a broad grey area between "4K is awesome" and "4K sucks". And most people seem to fit in that middle ground.

    IMHO once you pass a certain quality threshold a screen is only as good as the content it displays. Also, past a certain distance any given resolution on a given screen size will be indistinguishable from anything higher. So I may have a 1080p TV, but from the distance I sit on my couch I can't always make out the difference between 1080p and 720p content. So it's not that 4K sucks, it just doesn't offer any measurable benefit to me or to many other consumers.

    Having said that, no doubt when prices drop and it becomes the default resolution (or perhaps 8K will) we'll all have a UHD TV set. But it won't be becuase UHD is just so good.

    I remember thinking all the exact, same things about 1080p HD when they first showed that at trade shows here but, today, the reality is that all the free-to-air HD channels are compressed, making it only incrementally better than SD broadcast (which is also compressed). Foxtel's HD is so badly compressed it's a joke to even think of it as "high definition". I can't see why 4k will be any different. At the end of the day, it is really all about getting you to part with your hard-earned, not abou tmaking anything that is truly better.

    Unlike many on here I have seen 4K first hand last year in the Sony store in Las Vegas. I sat through the painful music video of Tailor Swift single It's Over (or whatever it was, she was singing in pyjamas on a film set).

    I thought the image was grainy and noisy, and no sharper than good blu-ray content. Maybe the real world is grainy but I can't see it when I look around.

    In short it was crap, if Full HD was like this I wouldn't enjoy it. Maybe is was just the Sony TV but honestly it is made no impact at 80" or so this TV was. I would pay $2000 for this TV, but I would be happier with a $1200 60" Plasma at 1080p. Or a projector. I think the sticker price was $24000US - um, no, not even if I was a millionaire.

    I would like to see it at 120"+ because then I think it would look like something. Full HD never really impressed me until I saw a 100" projector and suddenly I saw what the hype was about. At 50" Full HD was not different to Good SD and impossible to differentiate from HD 720p.

      I should add that my point is size matters, the human eye is not that good at resolving high resolution so no amount of high resolution image is going to look any better than any other image you have seen before unless you maintain the same viewing distance and simply increase the screen size to accommodate the extra pixels (at the same size).

      Simply making smaller pixels achieves nothing (at the same viewing distance that would be correct for the average lounge room). And paying $10K to 25K for smaller pixels is just not cricket. 4K should only come in 100" or more.

    There is so many missed points on why 4k is a waste of time.

    First up, unless your sitting closer than 5 feet to a 4k or have a tv larger than 60 inches its a waste of time

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57366319-221/why-4k-tvs-are-stupid/

    You simply cannont resolve that much detail, most houses with a 70' in 4k screen will have people sitting within 10 foot, so basically your resolving a tiny percent more resolution, not 4 times!

    I got very angry that the reviewer said he could see colour better on the 4k screens. This has nothing to do with resolution dammit. Most likely at one of the biggest tech shows in the world, they will be sending the highest quality video streams to the monitors. I can see the difference between a free to air "HD" movie and a bluray. Probably because the data rate of free to air is about 3-7mbs compared to bluray sitting between 20-35mbs.

    Ok so now take 4k free to air, essentially quadruple the data rate needed, where is that data coming from, quality and colour and for a fraction of the gain in perceivable resolution.

    I wonder if the author feel prey to brighter screen = better. The reason all tv's have an awful dynamic setting which basically destroys an image is because brighter tv's sell better. I cant help but think he had the same feeling about the amazing colours that are likely oversaturated.

    Yes the screens have better technology but I would take a 1080p screen with deeper blacks over a massive 4k TV. Put one of these 4k tvs up against the now old Kuro's. Im betting that the kuros would be picked over them in a blind test.

    Now in saying all that, I'm absolutely all for 4K cinemas, even 8k in cinemas where with the screen size and viewing distance you can actually resolve all the detail. I will go out of my way to see a 70mm screening for the same reason, but this is the same as having a 35mm projector in your living room. Total overkill.

    tl;dr arguments

    Are any 4k TV's on display in Australia yet ?

      Yes, there is a UHD TV on display at Bing Lee in Rhodes NSW. I saw it over the weekend, but they were playing some crappy content with a girls face wearing make up and not much else, which only highlighted the lack of content available to show it off in all its glory.

    "If You Don’t Think 4K TV Is Awesome, There Is Something Wrong With You"
    Conversely if you think 4k TV is relevant to the general public in the next 5 years or so then something is wrong with you. I'm not denying progress needs to be made, but there will be very little use for them anytime soon.
    (Aside: Can we have an option to 'Sin Bin' article posters who keep on posting click bait/questionable titles, for a few weeks at a time (or until they learn), cause sam would probably be on top of that list for this one).

    We have heard the same arguments for HD and 3D and still those are moderate improvements or fads (hell i still prefer analog TV over digital cause digital reception sucks, cant wait till FTA is IPTV or similar).

    I still don't have a BluRay i may get one one day when the stop releasing on DVDs, but DVD quality is fine with me.

    And the total resolution (4k) means shit all, if you squeeze them all into a 4" screen you wont notice any difference unless your using a microscope. 4k TV on a 50" TV might look great when your up close but sitting at a reasonable distance you might be hard pressed to spot a difference. Its all PPI in relation to distance from display.

    I'll happily eat my words if im wrong (After all i havent seen it), when the price comes down to todays HD tv prices it might be awesome, until then its a waste of money. That new Sony quantum dot based display sounds more impressive than a simple resolution boost.

    I think we should skip over 4k and shoot straight for 8k. The technology is there, and I'm sure adequate content can be fostered.

    Luckily I haven't bought a TV yet,

    I'm watching every thing on the LCD screen hooked up to the computer,

    Can't wait for the price to drop

    Is there going to be anything to actually watch on 4k tv (that takes advantage of the extra pixels)? Freeview hasn't even caught up to HD yet *looks angrily at Channel 9's cricket broadcast*, movies aren't going to fit on Blu-ray and they'll be too big to download for most people.

    There is something wrong with me because i don't have a boner over some tech that isn't going to be even mildly relevant for 5-10 years?

    Who give a flying damn about a newer shinier TV? I haven't watched TV since the general populace decided they only wanted to watch reality shows and no matter how high def it is there will still be sweet F A to watch on it. Even having back to back episodes of Law and Order every goddamn night was better than the trash we are fed these days.

    While it's certainly not relevant yet, and won't take off for a while, I think 4K is brilliant. For the current norm of TV sizes, 4K means the end of the road in terms of resolution increases for consumer displays, and future content. Like high dpi (or Retina, if you will) displays for phones, tablets and computers, once you have a 4K tv, that's pretty much as high as you need to go, since you won't be able to discern any difference if you go higher after that.

    Why is that good? Well first of all, I just love high res stuff, so there's that. Secondly, I love thinking about future tech and can't wait for the "future" to arrive. But also, with resolution officially ticked off for displays (this is also assuming high dpi computer monitors become the norm as well by the time 4K takes off), it means we can focus more on developing other aspects of display technology, like getting blacker blacks and truer colours, or eliminating some of the need for backlighting by using ambient light, thus also making a display that is perfect for reading - no extra light that strains your eyes, and super crisp resolution, just like printed text. That's why 4K is cool, because it means a final standardized destination for displays and content, and then gives room for other tech to develop.

    So yeah, just like I can't wait for Solid State Drives to become the new inexpensive norm for storage, I'm looking forward to 4K doing the same.

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