As we all expected, the big news at CES this year was Ultra HD 4K displays. It seemed that every TV manufacturer had one, ranging from massive LED LCDs to midsize LED LCDs to midsize OLEDs. We've talked about this before, but now with more info, and definitive product announcements, let me explain in exacting, excruciating detail why 4K TVs are still stupid. Allow me to start with the most important point: 1. I love 4K 2. The eye has a finite resolution Try this. Go to the beach (or a big sandbox, or a baseball diamond). Sit down. Start counting how many grains of sand you can see next to you. Now do the same with the grains of sand by your feet. Try again with the sand far beyond your feet (like, say, 10 feet away). The fact that you can see individual grains near you, but not farther away is exactly what we're talking about here. The eye is analog. Randomly analog at that. So of course some people are going to see more detail than others, and at different distances, but … [Read more...] about Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid
Viewing distance 4k tv
On one side, there's 4K: four times the resolution of your current TV. LG, Sony, JVC, and others have all announced or shown upcoming 4K displays. On the other, there's OLED: Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Significantly better picture quality than your current TV, plus lower energy consumption, and even thinner cabinets. So what's more exciting? With 4K, there are many potential benefits. You can sit closer to your TV, for one, without ever seeing pixels. Or you can get a much larger TV for the same reason. If you sit close enough/have a big enough TV, you'll see incredible levels of detail. Both the LG and Sony are also passive 3D. With 1080p TVs, this means you get half-HD resolution per eye (1,920x540 pixels). With 4K, you get 3,840x1,080 pixels per eye. On the other hand, all upcoming 4K flat-panels are LCD. LG and Sony, both coming out next month, are edge-lit LED LCDs. As in, they're not even local dimming. So all the negatives inherent in LCDs, like poor off-axis response, … [Read more...] about 4K TV vs. OLED TV
The TV buying season, a.k.a. "holiday price cuts," is officially upon us. This year the big question facing TV shoppers is whether to spend the extra dough to step up to a 4K TV. The quick and dirty answer is "Not unless you're buying a high-end TV anyway." As usual in the TV market, complexity, obfuscation and marketing hype abounds. No TV maker or store clerk is going to tell you 4K isn't worth it, and they'll use slow-moving, high-quality demo material, unrealistically close viewing distances, rigged comparisons and other tricks to convince you to spend more. Meanwhile, issues of future-proofing, the arrival of actual 4K content, and use cases (for example, whether you'll hook it up to a PC) complicate the decision for even the savviest of buyers. I'll try to untangle some of those complications now.Why 4K usually isn't worth the extra money Here's a concrete if unrealistic hypothetical. Given two 50-inch TVs, one with 4K resolution for $999 and one with standard 1080p … [Read more...] about Is now the time to buy a 4K TV?
Editors' Note: An updated article entitled Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid was published on January 28, 2013. A few months ago, hot on the multitude of 4K TV announcements at CES, I wrote an article called "Why 4K TVs are stupid." I was shocked, shocked to find so many angry, contrary opinions on the subject. I mean, this is the Internet. Surely everyone is cordial and like-minded. The comment section was the usual bog of ad hominem, straw man, and plain nonsense arguments. But buried deep within the chaff were a few good questions worthy of rebuttal. So if you'll indulge... There were an amazing number of comments from people who clearly didn't read the article at all. Let me make this pithy and clear: The 4K resolution is awesome, but 4K televisions are stupid. Your eye has a finite resolution, and at the distance that most people sit from their TVs, it's unlikely you'd be able to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, let alone 4K (roughly 4,096x2,304 pixels). Countless … [Read more...] about Why 4K TVs are stupid (still)
Editors' Note: An updated article entitled Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid was published on January 28, 2013.The latest TV technology buzzword is "4K." This magical alphanumeric represents a quadrupling of the now-standard 1080p resolution found on Blu-ray and most HDTVs. Have no doubt, manufacturers are going to start pushing 4K (some already are). The thing is, though, you don't need 4K, because in the home, 4K is stupid. Check out Ty Pendlebury's 4K primer for more details about what 4K actually is, because I'm going to spend the bulk of this article describing why you don't need it.As this is going to be a pretty numbers-heavy piece, let me cover the basic terminology up front. Blu-ray discs, and nearly all modern televisions, are 1080p. This means they have a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. Get up close to your TV when it's on, you'll see the pixels. They're tiny blocks of red, green, and blue (and yellow, if you have certain Sharp LCDs). The image at the top is a … [Read more...] about Why 4K TVs are stupid