In a few short years we have witnessed evolution of multimedia with at least three industry-wide technologies that swore to change the way we watch and experienced movies. High Definition, 3D and 4K or UHD are all technologies vying for to honours to see who will reign supreme over the television kingdom.
HD represented a massive change for television that affected nearly every aspect of the TV experience from how it was captured to how it was consumed. And in today’s market it’s almost impossible to purchase a new TV which doesn’t support at least 720P and is by far the most successful, transending not only movies but day-to-day televised shows as well.
3D however, was a mixed bag, and even though the technology came with high-end TVs, it never really took off and has remained relevant for only a small fraction of programming. Even though I really like 3D and in many ways am disappointed in its failure to really make an impact on the market, I can still understand why it failed the way it did.
It’s almost as if the TV manufactures didn’t expect it to do well so they only made it available in the higher models. This leaves me to wonder which direct 4k technology will go in.
First off, most of you are wondering what 4K even is, as it’s not very popular at the moment. Well, stated simply, it is the next step up form 1080P HD. Boasting at least eight million active pixels, and 3,840 x 2,160 resolution it is as sharp and crystal clear (and in some cases clearer) than if you were filming it through human eyes.
But will this be enough to convince persons to upgrade their perfectly working HDTV to a product which is not yet widely supported? New products often find themselves in an unfortunate loop of customers not purchasing this product because: A) Most of its features aren’t supported, or B) Most of us waiting for next one which will be released shortly and be much better.
This then leads to poor sales, the manufactures putting less and less RND into a product because of its low demand and ultimately moving to new technology in an effort to grab more customers.
Consumer electronics that demand a high level of change which are successful normal do tend to occur with more or less “the perfect storm”. Take HDTVs for example, yes without a doubt once the HDTVs became more affordable, consumers flocked to them but two other major factors also contributed to their success. First off and perhaps the most influential was the fact that because of several governmental pushes around the world, digital broadcasting stations around the globe had to upgrade their infrastructure any way. Many added HD programming slowly, first starting with flagship shows, before everything, including the news, was being broadcasted in HD, so right off the bat consumers could see support and a reason to upgrade.
Secondly, as TVs were transitioning to HD, they were also migrating to flat-panel technologies. Indeed, while many early HD buyers chose bulky rear-projection sets to save money, many of the early flat-panel TVs sold were less expensive “EDTVs,” 480p televisions.
Many flat-panel buyers cared more about the slimness of the TV itself than HD programming. As soon as both became available in one sleek and modern looking package we saw an extraordinary spike in sales.
But what road will 4k walk? The way I see it now in the short term, as was the case for early HDTVs, 4K sets will see an increase in sales once the price drops. The problem I anticipate is that sets may need to be too large for 4K to really make a discernible difference.
Whereas a difference can be clearly seen in even the smallest of HDTVs will we have to purchase 48 inch or larger to really see the new found “Full HD” of 4K?