January 13, 2015

And after 3D, expect 4k to be the next big non-event

Interesting CES covering from The Register this year, who as always show a cynical disregard for technologies that nobody has actually asked for: It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV.
Virgin Media still only broadcasts all its HD in 720p and, as far as I'm aware, has no plans to increase this to 1080p. Sure, your TV may present it as 1080i, but the next step for VM and Sky would be 1080p, and even the most-lauded Netflix 4K content is actually currently upscaled. My Sony TV's Freeview channels occasionally are received in 1080p (notably some BBC content).
I'd expect Sky to launch and shout a 4K offering at some point, they've already done some trials, but I can't honestly see an appetite from the consumer yet except those hapless few who have to have the latest-if-not-greatest to impress the neighbours.

13 comments:

Jon said...

Virgin's HD is in fact all 1080i, which is effectively 1080p for movies and quality drama, since they are normally made at film friendly 24/25 fps. For other content you are getting 50% vertical resolution per frame.

Tom Chiverton said...

Nobody needs 4k. Unless you have a 60 inch screen. An that's a very small fraction of people...

Tom Chiverton said...

Nobody needs 4k. Unless you have a 60 inch screen. An that's a very small fraction of people...

Mark said...

Nobody "needed" colour. stereo sound, surround sound, widescreen, a multitude of digital channels, high definition.

3D rather failed, mainly because of the need to wear glasses, but 4K will be a "non-event"? I sincerely doubt it.

Jon said...

The thing is at smaller screen sizes (certainly less than 50") the extra resolution is LITERALLY impossible to see at normal viewing distances. That makes it different to the other examples listed.

That said, all top of the line TVs in the next couple of years will be 4K, so the demand for other improvements in picture quality etc. will drive some demand. And in a few years almost all TVs will be 4K so, we will probably all be adopters in time!

Oblonger said...

All HD channels are 1080i so that's the setting the box should be on. 720p can be better than 1080i, but as the channels are not in this format, the 720p setting is pointless?

Jon said...

Channels broadcasting 1080i better for movies/drama (for reasons I gave above), 720p better for sport ("real" 50 frames per second)...... typically.

But, as you say, since all Virgin channels are 1080i it's moot!

I would tend to agree - no reason to use 720p from the Virgin box, unless, possibly you have an ancient 720p TV which either doesn't support 1080i (of course!) or may, as it's so old, does a worse job of converting than the Virgin box.

Jez24 said...

4k will become the new standard. yes it might take a few years, judging by the move to HD, but if it speeds up the end of SD, then I am all in favour. Saying that 576i can produce a pretty good picture if its sent down the pipe fast enough. As to weather we need 4k, well its just another improvement in technology like all the others over the last 50 years. I don't think it should be compared to 3D. I can see the difference in 4k at 55" and 55" is going to be the new 32" !

Jon said...

55" becomes retinal (as good as the eye can see with 20/20 vision) @1080p beyond about 7.2ft. So to get benefit from 4K you would need to be about 7ft or closer to the TV or have better than 20/20 vision. Of course there are people who do sit closer or do have better vision, but not that many.

4K really kicks in 65" and above IMO where you only have to be sitting closer than 8.4ft (again with 20/20 vision) to see a difference.

Of course that assumes the TV is otherwise identical - identically featured and identically calibrated and that is hard to achieve. As I said in an earlier post, the best TVs for picture quality released now, independent of resolution, tend to be 4K, so it is quite possible a comparison of a 4K set and a 1080p set would show an improvement even if the resolution itself is not noticeable.

But, yeah, 4K will be the new best possible quality for streaming. Sky WILL probably have a 4K channel, for marketing reasons if nothing else, as they do for 3D. Virgin will probably, similarly, have 4K material on-demand.

Whether 4K ever becomes a common broadcast standard, replacing the current broadcast HD channels, is MUCH more doubtful.

Monster Riffage said...

My preference is 720p over 1080i (55" tv) as there is to much artefacting on faster moving scenes in 1080i.

Virgin and sky should concentrate on broadcasting in true 1080p (and/or higher bit rate broadcasting) as standard before concerning themselves with 4k...

Paul Southon said...

1080p is good for bluray bur 1080p is rubbish on virgin media

Nialli said...

Paul - VM don't have anything in 1080p, just 1080i. Ditto Sky.
Netflix is the best of VM's higher definitions, but the TiVo version I think is bettered by the Sony app on my television, which is sharper, brighter and the App is a helluva lost faster.

Matthew Caller said...

I find the 4k comment about not being able to see the difference really odd? Even the upscaled content from a 1080p Blu ray looks notable better... it gives a noticeable depth to the image without actually being 3d. Same goes for 4k transmissions from Amazon and Netflix - the picture is quite a bit better on my Panasonic 48 inch 4k tv. Anyhoo... I'd welcome a tivo box that could do 4k well... although I think the majority of them only do HDMI 1.4 so they will not cope with a 4k signal into a HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) tv.