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Ultra HD and 4K
Overview of the 4K & Ultra HD market

30 Jul 2013 | Rasmus Larsen |

There is no shortage of news about new 4K / Ultra HD TVs and all major TV makers have big launches prepared. So, we have created a 4K & Ultra HD section where you will find all news, articles and reviews related to the subject. In this overview we also take a quick look at the current state of 4K TVs, players, content, standards etc.

Overview of 4K & Ultra HD market

The first Ultra HD TVs launched last year as 84” mammoths with extreme price tags but in recent months TV makers have announced smaller and less expensive Ultra HD TVs. In the next few months the market will overflow with new models.

In the recent months we have heard about the following Ultra HD TVs from established TV makers:
  • Samsung’ F9000 4K TVs
  • LG’s new 65 and 55” LA9700
  • Panasonic’s first 4K TVs
  • Philips’ new 4K 9000 series
  • Sony’s 65 and 55” X9
  • Sharp’s Ultra HD TV with THX
  • Toshiba’s 3 Ultra HD TVs

    Samsung F9000
    All major TV maker have launched Ultra HD TVs or will launch Ultra HD TVs soon. Here you see Samsung’s F9000

    Some of the Ultra HD TVs have already been officially announced or even launched and the rest will follow at IFA 2013 in Berlin, TV makers have confirmed to FlatpanelsHD. IFA 2013 starts in early September.

    4K content, 4K players, USA & the Chinese

    The 4K race has already begun and TV makers are launching new TVs these days. At the same time, Chinese TV makers have seen their chance to get a foot in the door with the introduction of new technology. Chinese TV makers such as TCL and Seiki have already pushed the price of a 50” Ultra HD below $1000 and even down to $699 for a 39" 4K TV. The Chinese are coming.

    Sony FMP-X1
    Two 4K players are available on the market but only in the US. This is Sony’s 4K player that is locked to Sony’s 4K TVs

    When it comes to content TV studios have started taking in old movies and TV shows for editing in a goal to rerelease them as 4K versions. And for new productions 4K is often a must. On the player front we still lack a major initiative. Sony has launched a 4K player but it only works with Sony’s own 4K TVs. Redray’s 4K player is interesting but expensive. Netflix is still talking about adding 4K to its streaming service and we are also waiting for the H.265 compression technology to materialize, which is an important piece of the puzzle.

    Speaking of 4K there are still many other factors to consider, which we discussed in our article about Ultra HD and 4K. For example, the first Ultra HD TVs coming out now lack HDMI 2.0 ports. They incorporate only HDMI 1.4, which means that they cannot go beyond 30 Hz even though the Ultra HD standard can go as high as 120 Hz. The first Ultra HD TVs also have a limited color gamut and cannot utilize the wider Rec.2020 color gamut, just like they cannot display colors in 10 and 12 bit depth (they still use 8 bit). In other words; the first generation of Ultra HD TVs are not necessarily “future proof”. Sony and Samsung have said that it will be possible to buy an upgrade module for its first Ultra HD TVs but when and how has not been disclosed. But why all this uncertainty? Well, primarily because the HDMI group refuses to talk about HDMI 2.0.

    That was a short summary of the current state of the Ultra HD & 4K market, which is expected to explode in the coming years. Check out our 4K & Ultra HD section regularly to get updates on the subject and to read news, articles and reviews. Also, look forward to our Sony's X9 review and an article about our experiences in Sony's Hollywood studios.

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