LG’s 84-inch Ultra HD 4K TV is Stunning, Not Stupid Expensive
Unlike 3D, the new Ultra HD format will have no controversy. It is perfect. Take it from a non-videophile: 4K resolution will make you want to spend money on an awesome TV.
Wow, just wow! The product launched Thursday at Video & Audio Center in Lawndale, Calif., near Los Angeles, and I’m pretty sure I drooled in my sushi (gratuitous, I know).
That is one stunning picture. And huge. I never was fazed much when HDTV went from 480p to 1080i to 1080p. The leap to 4K, however, is a big one.
And you know what? It’s really not all that expensive in the scheme of things. When it debuted in 2006, the 103-inch Panasonic 1080p plasma retailed for $70,000. That’s $80,350 in today’s dollars.
The new LG TV had a list price of $19,999 and it was just revealed at the launch that the street price would be $16,999.
“I thought it would be more,” said Michael Buchanan, the sixth person to buy a set within two hours of the store opening. (Even at that price, he conceded, “My wife would rather I waited.”)
The picture was so clear and so realistic that it almost makes 3D irrelevant. You feel immersed in it. In fact, one of the 1,000 or so store visitors who braved the long lines to buy a cheap TV thought it was 3D.
He kept saying he’d never seen 3D before and nearly swooned at the (not) 3D picture before him, despite the protestations of the LG rep.
I will confess, however, that real 3D does look incredible with this new set, even off-axis.
Speaking of off-axis, you can go nearly 180 degrees around the display and it’s still crystal clear. Go ahead, add a few extra friends to your next 4K party and they won’t skip a pixel.
Ultra HD Could do Wonders for TV Market
4K (as in roughly 4,000 lines of resolution), which is now being dubbed Ultra HD by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and most of the HDTV community, is truly the next big thing in video.
I don’t get excited about much in the realm of video (or audio for that matter … home automation, now that’s a different story). But this is exciting. This is really, really exciting.
For the next two years as other 4K TVs roll out, we will see a rejuvenation of profits and energy in an otherwise sad TV market.
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There is no controversy whatsoever with 4K as there was with 3D. Because it was possible to have a less-than-optimal 3D experience with your HDTV set, the “next big thing in technology” fizzled, mostly from bad press.
Plus you needed special peripherals like glasses and gadgets to communicate with the glasses, and other gizmos to make 3D work.
With 4K, “You don’t have to revamp your ecosystem,” says Jay Vandenbree, senior VP of LG and the head of LG’s U.S. Home Entertainment business. “This is not changing a pin adapter and everyone has to run to the store. DVDs can already hold 4K. HDMI already supports it.”
You won’t hear a single objection to a glorious 4K display. It is perfect.
That’s a big statement from a cynic like me.
At the same time, I wonder what porn stars and newscasters will think of the new format.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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