4K Breaking News: Superbowl, World Cup, Caveats…

4 Feb

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Here are some key news items re 4K this week – 4K used in Superbowl; Japan plans to broadcast World Cup in 2014 in 4K; 4K caveats.

4K – For-A 4K Cameras Used

In addition to its 80-plus HD cameras planted around the Superdome and throughout New Orleans, CBS shot this year’s Super Bowl with six 4K cameras. Japanese company For-A supplied the cameras —CBS apparently considered a handful of different 4K models, particularly Sony’s, before deciding to go with For-A.

Japan plans to broadcast 2014 World Cup in 4K HD

While NHK’s Super Hi-Vision 8K TV is still some distance away from becoming an everyday presence in our living rooms, we may get the next best thing soon. Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications expects to broadcast the 2014 World Cup next July in 4K, using free capacity on its communications satellites rather than the usual delivery methods — the bandwidth required is reportedly too much for conventional sources. The 4K airing is still coming two years earlier than originally planned, however, and should eventually spread to broadcast satellites and terrestrial networks.

4K TV: Caveats

CEPro.com quotes4K installation advice from James Chen, the managing director at the Australian-based customer designer, Kordz.

Chen notes that because of the incredible number of pixels found in a 4K display, a viewer may not see a picture improvement over 1080p unless he or she sits in a very specific location.

“Ultra HD is upon us and the images were indeed amazing but have we thought about the transport methods to get such high data rates to so many different devices? Have we considered visual acuity or what the eye can actually resolve. On a 50-inch panel, you need to be about three meters away to fully see 1080p,” Chen said at a CEDIA course at a recent industry conference

Chen also says that some officials apparently haven’t contemplated that because 4K’s files are so large, it could take a toll on consumers’ Internet and electronics budgets.

“Most people are getting about 20 Mbps regularly to their houses with many countries now being able to deliver more. What if we take this to the video realm? Ultra HD requires a bandwidth of 8.91 Gb/s. This is well over 400 times the bandwidth of the regular Internet speeds we experience and yet we expect this is possible coming from budget devices,” Chen said.

Geoffrey Morrison at CNET.com writes that the eye has a “finite resolution.” Consequently, 4K TV’s picture improvement may not be noticeable on a set smaller than 60 inches.

“You’re…saying that smaller 4K TVs are viable. How much smaller? Well, not 50 inches. Probably not 60 inches either. These are the (1080p) sizes people are buying,” he writes.

So people will just buy larger 4K TVs, right? Wrong, says Morrison. The writer says that even the first wave of 84-inch 4K TVs will “never be mainstream.”

“It dominates the room,” he writes. “It’s massive. There is a significant difference between a screen (effectively, the wall), and a Device of Unusual Size. Enthusiasts might be OK with this thing in their room, but most people won’t. Ask your spouse. Ask your spouse’s friends. Screen sizes have been inching upwards, but not linearly with price.”

He adds: “I don’t know what the upper limit is for what the average consumer decides is ‘too big’ for their room, but I’m positive there is an upper limit, and this limit is far smaller than screens that need 4K.”

Morrison also echoes Chen that people would have to sit closer to a 4K screen to appreciate the picture improvement.

“Why would anyone assume that because of UHD (Ultra HD), people would suddenly sit closer. It doesn’t make any sense. And…I don’t think most people would want to sit closer,” he writes.

Morrison goes on to list other problems he has with 4K but the bottom line is as clear as a 4K picture. Unlike HDTV, the 4K set comes with certain technical limitations and requirements that could turn off the average consumer. If that doesn’t change, 4K may merely become a niche TV display for the upper classes.

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