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Television Displays Graphics Entertainment Technology

The Trouble With 4K TV 442

An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article about the difficulties in bringing so-called '4K resolution' video — 3840x2160 — to consumers. "Though 4K resolutions represent the next step in high-definition video, standards for the format have yet to emerge and no one’s really figured out how to distribute video, with its massive file footprint, efficiently and cost effectively. How exactly does one distribute files that can run to hundreds of gigabytes? ... Given that uncompressed 4K footage has a bit-rate of about 600MB/s, and even the fastest solid-state drives operate at only about 500MB/s, compression isn’t merely likely, it’s necessary. ... Kotsaftis says manufacturers will probably begin shipping and promoting larger TVs. 'In coming years, 50-inch or 55-inch screens will have become the sort of standard that 40-inch TVs are now. To exploit 4K, you need a larger form factor. You’re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens.' The same quality/convenience argument leads him to believe that physical media for 4K content will struggle to gain traction among consumers. '4K implies going back to physical media. Even over the Internet, it’s going to require massive files and, given the choice, most people would happily settle for a 720p or 1080p file anyway.'"
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The Trouble With 4K TV

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  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:28PM (#42538847)

    The CD is over 30 years old, you can still buy CD players.

  • by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:34PM (#42538967)

    the problem is that HD is still more than is needed, and a fair amount of programming is still made for SD (and most still broadcast in SD).

    broadcast facilities dragged their feet with HD adoption - the single factor that made all facilities HD capable was the move away from hardware to software and masters-on-HDD.

    so no... the market didn't adapt in 2005, it didn't adapt in 2010, it hasn't adapted now and it will be a long time before anything other than big budget movies or events like the olympics will get the 4k treatment.

    also consider the optimum viewing distance of 2.5 screen heights. if Jobs were still here, he'd stop at 2k and call it "retina television". unless you're doing it well wrong, you're not going to get much benefit. even the jump from SD to HD was marginal - most of the gains were in compression quality (a macroblock is harder to see when it's 1/4 the size, and in h.264 it's impossible to see as it's filtered out by design).

    but i suppose 4k will be interesting for perving on individual audience members at sporting events...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:36PM (#42539011)

    4K is so 2007, I have seen 8K broadcast streets (all equipment needed to acquire, store, transmit, compress, scale, playback and display) for years as shown at the international broadcasting conference.

    Before anyone comes up with, "but the eyes cannot resolve that kind of details", YOU ARE WRONG!
    8K is not even a little comparable to HDTV.

    I have also seen 4K being displayed, often scanned from 35mm prints, I doesn't have much impact beyond 2K. But this may be due that this is not captured on a digital camera and the grain (effective resolution) of 35 mm is worse than pixels at 4K. The 8K footage I've seen was captured on a 8K digital camera.

    Also 300 fps video is freaking amazing, this was a demo from the BBC, your eyes can track fast moving objects and therefor focus on it razer sharp like when you track a moving object in the real-world. Finally we can actually watch Hollywood action sequences which as 24 fps is just a blurry mess of motion blur, or a vomit inducing slideshow.

  • by Moskit ( 32486 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:47PM (#42539189)

    Pity that submitter/editor did not research further into the topic.

    There are already standards (JPEG2000 DCI) that allow to compress 4K stream from about 5Gbit/s to 250 Mbit/s, which is much more manageable. There is at least one commercial vendor (intoPIX) that makes such hardware de/compressors.

    If you want to stretch your imagination - start thinking about 3D movies in 4K, which is quite an obvious step. This is 12 Gbit/s uncompressed, but 500 Mbit/s in normal transmission.

    Oh, by the way - 8K is already being worked on. And 8K 3D (48Gbit/s uncompressed)...

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:51PM (#42539261)

    I'm working the Samsung booth at CES this year and I worked it last year. When I saw the engineers (last year) assembling the 4k demo sets, I asked where the content was coming from. The answer was a half-rack of servers behind the wall filled with powerful machines and lots of disks. Clearly not practical for consumers.

    This year, the 4k sets are being driven by slightly smaller computers, presumably with compression. Samsung is demoing their compression technology (HEVC) VS h.264. I'm sure the manufacturers know that with the sorry state of networks, 4K video is not possible without more advanced compression algorithms to reduce data rates.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:57PM (#42540127)

    even the jump from SD to HD was marginal

    Holy shit, and this is how you know that you have no idea what you're talking about. The difference of SD to HD was more significant by far than the change from black and white to color. It's huge! Do you have a 10" tv that you're watching from 7 ft away when making this comparison or something?

    Are you old enough to remember the B&W TV days? I think you're underestimating the scale of the switch from B&W to color. I still remember when my parents got a color TV (we had a B&W set far longer than most people) and the difference was amazing and quite apparent to everyone. It didn't take a side by side comparison to see the difference between B&W and color, and you could see the difference no matter the size of the screen or how close you were.

    On my current 37" LCD (capable of 720p, 1080i), I notice only a minimal difference between SD DVD's (480i) and HD Blu-rays. The difference is so minimal that I stopped paying the extra dollar or two for Blu-ray disks from Netflix because I couldn't really tell the difference. Perhaps if I had a bigger 1080p capable set I might notice more of a difference, but at my normal viewing distance (10 - 12 feet) the difference is quite minimal on my current set. I don't think I'd notice any difference at all between 720p and 4K without a much larger TV, or sitting much closer to the TV.

    This chart doesn't go up to 4K, but suggests that you'd have to sit closer than 10 feet away from a 100" screen to take advantage of even 1440p: []

  • by Neil Boekend ( 1854906 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @05:03AM (#42543677)
    Here in the Netherlands they are laying fiber to most homes. At the moment they are only doing cities and towns, so I'm not getting any yet (I live 1km from the closest town. This is quite far by Dutch standards), but in cities and towns people are getting fiber.
    Once the fiber is there the 4K shouldn't be a problem. Replace the old neighborhood boxes with streaming servers and harddisks and just pull the 4K data from there. Then the connection between the main switches and the neighborhood boxes isn't as heavily taxed and the real internet can still be fast.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva