Panasonic teases 4K Blu-ray, flaunts new flagship 4K UHD TV with quantum dots

6 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CES 2015: I want my Ultra HD TV.

The new 4K Ultra HD TVs unveiled here at the Consumer Electronics Show look eye-popping, so much better than the models that hit stores even just a few months ago. New Ultra HD displays from LG, Sharp and Samsung that I’ve already seen boast new technological advances that deliver ever sharper video splashed with richer colors, all defined with improved contrast. Sharp’s new lineup will support Android TV, which means they can download and display TV-optimized apps from Google Play, and they’ll have a content-management application—dubbed SmartCentral—that allows each member of the household to have a personalized media account. A wallpaper feature allows families to display personal photos, “allowing it to become the largest digital picture frame in the home,” according to Sharp.

Looking to differentiate its Acquos lineup from other 4K models, Sharp is touting some concrete features as well as shall we say “interesting” claims. On the other hand, Sharp maintains that the additional yellow pixel in its Beyond 4K model delivers 167-percent higher resolution than other 4K televisions. Ultra HDs are, of course, pricier than HDTVs, and the average Ultra HD sales price has been about $2,200. “But price points are becoming very more affordable,” said Sharp president Jim Sanduski.

The whole subpixel obsession started with the Quattron series in 2010, which added a yellow subpixel to the traditional arrangement of red, green, and blue in an effort to widen the color gamut. Last year’s Sharp Quattron Q+ sets boosted the subpixel count even further in an attempt to deliver 4K-like sharpness out of a 1920 x 1080 screen; the Q+ technology did this by dividing each row of RGBY subpixels in half and allowing each cluster to be addressed individually.

To amplify that point, Sanduski introduced Academy-award winning cinematographer Wally Pfister, whose oeuvre includes such films as Inception and Memento to discuss the merits of high-resolution televisions and their impact on the viewing experience of film. “Subtleties of photography are of great importance,” Phister said, “as we view more content at home, I don’t see why this experience should be compromised.” Is that an Acquos endorsement? The result was a 1080-line set with a hell of a lot more subpixels than your average HDTV—16 million as opposed to 6 million—that could work with 4K video sources.

Engineers tinkered with the pixels to increase Ultra HD’s resolution by 167%. “We feel confident making the claim that we will have the highest resolution 4K television commercially available in 2015,” Sanduski says. The South Korean electronics maker is expected to be the only company making sleek, sexy OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays. “Others have tried and failed with OLED, but we are going to continue to stay the course and position it as the future of television and the best TV money can buy,” said LG’s Tim Alessi. The technical magic means “consumers will be able to enjoy content with never-before-seen brightness, color and contrast,” said HS Kim, president of Samsung’s visual display business.

The LCD set has a full-array LED backlight system with local-dimming features, and Sharp says it meets the color-space requirements for the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) spec. The UH30 and the midrange UF30 also have Android TV built into their smart UI—ChromeCast functionality included—and both of them come with adjustable stands where the legs can be placed at the edges of the TV or more in the center.

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