CES: The 4K Invasion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB_LFEAhK34

“If you haven’t been keeping a close watch on CES 2014, I apologize as I promised to do the heavy lifting for you, but don’t fret. Next few post tilted “CES: …” will cover my highlight observations of the Consumer Electronic Show this past week.”

Use the photos above as a reference. A standard High Definition aka HD display is 1280x720p. That means that there are 1280 pixels going across screen by 720 rows. This also means that there is a total of exactly 921,600 pixels in a 720p display. The more pixels, the more detailed/sharp the picture, its a lot simpler than people make it out to be.  This is essentially the noticeable attribute when looking at displays. Although 720p is considered HD, it isn’t ‘true’ HD, just like 4G isn’t true 4g, and just like McDonalds chicken nuggets aren’t considered ‘true’ chicken nuggets. 1920x1080p is full’ HD which at some point was considered top notch resolution. Don’t get me wrong, 1080p resolutions are still great for an average display, but depending on how the large the screen, individual pixels can still be made out clearly. Only about three years ago 1080p displays were considered a luxury and rare feature for a high end TV. Now, you can find 1080p displays in the majority of televisions, tablets, and even smartphones! For the record, 1080p resolutions have  2,073,600 pixels which is approximately two times 720p pixel count if you’ve been keeping track.

Well what comes next? The next somewhat mainstream resolution is 2560x1440p which I happen to be typing this blog post on right now. It has a total of 3,686,400p which is just under 3/4s more pixels than 1080p. From here on, we are entering the realm of UHD or Ultra High Definition display. If we consider 1440p 2k which essentially translates to two times the resolution of 1080p than two times 1440p would be 4k. Right!

4k_comparison

A 3840x2160p display is 4 times the resolution of Full HD (1080p). That is a pixel count of 8,294,400. EXTREMLY DETAILED. A Full HD display reaches its limitations once you try and make a display above 50 inches because the pixel density spreads out, and the resulting picture starts to look a little bit more grainy as the size of the screen increase. A 4k display effectively eliminates this issue because it is extremely dense in detail by default. This means that you can have 100+ inch displays without being able to see individual pixels. 4k is the next Full HD to summarize the shift towards it.

LG-SIDE-4K

The first few 4k Tv’s last year ranged from $10k to $40k as is expected to be a owner of the first few innovations. However, over the past year and a half, we’ve started to see sub 60inch 4k displays as low as $1000. It is really hard to portray just how beautiful a 4k really is without seeing it yourself. Seeing pictures and videos of 4k’s really doesn’t even do it any justice.

CES 2014 was probably the most abundant display of 4ks to date. LG, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, and others all had an assortment of 4k products to show off for 2014. Pictured below are some of the highlights at CES 2014 with descriptions of their individual characteristics.

Samsung 105 inch curved UHD
Samsung 105 inch curved UHD
 
Samsung curved 105 inch curved UHD
img-2573-1
LG 84 inch UHDTV
LG 77 inch curved/bendable 4k OLED uhdtv
LG 77 inch curved/bendable 4k OLED UHDTV
Samsung 84 inch bendable UHDTV
Samsung 84 inch bendable UHDTV
Sony Bravia 84inch 4k TV
Sony Bravia 84inch 4k TV
Kogan 55 inch 4k $1000 'budget friendly' TV
Kogan 55 inch 4k $1000 ‘budget friendly’ TV
LG 105 inch 4k TV
LG 105 inch 4k TV

Pictured above are mostly LG and Samsung 4k TVs. And for good reason. The two companies have very extensive TV roots, and they’ve only intensified their efforts over the years. Both are also betting pretty hard on both OLED and curved displays. OLED stands for Organic Light-emitting Diode. Essentially an OLED is a form of LED that is formed with an organic compound in between two thin films. When you spark up these organic diodes with an electric current the LED emits light. A conventional LED display needs a backlight to emit a clear picture, however, OLEDs don’t need a backlighting system because they self-emit their own light– and VERY VIBRANT COLORS. The lack of a backlight also means that blacks are DEEP BLACK because there is no continues beam of light behind the OLED- this of course makes OLED’s extra power efficient, and that is always nice! But perhaps the most intriguing application of OLEDs is the ability to flex the display. OLEDs displays can be engineered as thin as thin sheets of paper allowing them to be bendable while showing a picture/video. Its an amazing thing!

Bendable displays may seem somewhat gimmicky, but the hope is that one day down the road a tablet will be as easily rolled up or folded as a newspaper. Its a step in the right direction no doubt, but for now, Samsung and LG have to ‘make up’ somewhat convincing use cases for it… A strategy I don’t condone, but it makes my trips to Best Buy that much more exciting. The proposed reason for curved TVs at this point is that they improve viewing angles, which I cant disagree with if you love watching your TV from the side of your living room, but it definitely thickens the net size the display.

Well, I can now say that they’ve thought through the thickness problem with their bendable OLED 4k TV. That’s right, they’ve both build prototype 4ks that bend from flat to curved by the touch of one button. Its by far one of the most intriguing prototypes I’ve seen in a really long time. Check out the videos below!

LG’s bendable is indeed 4k OLED, and you should be able to identify that given the strong saturation and deep blacks. I personally love the effect OLEDs give off and to me they represent the future of Television that the world has eagerly been waiting around for. Below is a video of the 110 inch curved Samsung UHDTV which is probably my favorite display at CES 2014.

Perhaps Samsung’s 105 inch 4k curved TV is the best TV ever made, but I am personally dreaming of an equivalent design with an OLED display to deepen saturation and decrease the thinness. But without a doubt, the thing is a beast, and it is actually a wider aspect ratio which means that the pixel count going across the TV is larger than conventional 4k. I’m in love with Samsung’s wooden sleek casing in the back. Its a sort of classic modernism that really makes it stand out from anything I’ve ever seen from a Television manufacture. It makes this piece almost furniture-worthy, something I wouldn’t be ashamed to mount over my innocent fireplace.

samsungcurved105-1l

CES 2014 proved to be the 4K fiesta that many anticipated. Its really exciting to me to see the Television ecosystem make some major gains over the past year. Its a relatively dull product group in today’s mobile world. But humans will forever cherish the ability to kick back in a snug couch, turn off all of the lights, and enjoy some classic televised entertainment or a movie. I really suggest checking one of these Tv’s out if you ever find yourself in Best Buy. It’d be a real treat 🙂

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