There was no shortage of gawking and marketing ballyhoo at CES 2013 for the UHD 4K video format, with Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG and Panasonic all rolling out new displays, some of them quite large, but with 55″ & 65″ being the apparent sweet spots in CE retailing. Delivering resolution well beyond the 1080 HD standard, many of the televisions use Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) which are a thin, flexible, light weight film with pixels so densely packed that some call the picture a “better than real life” visual experience. Though, you’ve perhaps heard about the gasps from sticker-shock.
UHD 4K isn’t new. In fact, there’s also an UHD 8K format which was finalized and approved in August 2012. 8K development is so far along that Panasonic and NHK jointly announced an 145″ operational prototype television in April of 2012. Further into that realm, Dimenco also demonstrated Nabla, “the ultimate glasses-free” 3D UHD, in a private suite at CES 2013 last week, along with a glasses-free 3D Retina MacBook and an 11.6″ glasses-free 3D UHD hand-held display. Portents of things to come.
At 3,840 x 2,160 UHD has 4 times the pixel density of 1080p, with 8K quadrupling that. So, how does that fit into a distribution model? A conference session at MediaTech, last April, addressed that exact issue and the larger implications of both 4K & 8K UHD for not only the video component of them but also the 24 channel audio (22.2 set in 3 planes) environment included in the coming UHD experience. Folks, its IMAX in your home: totally immersive, sensory rich enlightenment! Home theater redefined.
4K and 8K UHD is just what Blu-ray, with disc capacities from 25GB to above 100GB, was designed to handle. Although pundits have opined that on-line distribution or streaming will close the curtains on physical media formats, many have started rethinking that prognosis, especially when one considers buildout in the broadband industry of both optical fiber and wireless. Generally, it looks a bit bleak.
So, don’t write off your packaged video collection just yet… if you’re like most aficionados, its kind of nice admiring a library of DVD & Blu-ray, lined up and organized, awaiting your appreciative audience.