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calendar   Saturday - July 13, 2013

“But I Just Bought This!!!”

UHDTV is coming to us faster than you think. Prices on the super high pixel count flat screen TVs are down 75% from just half a year ago, and now they are merely unaffordable, instead of costing as much as a decent new car. Plus this new Codec thing ... we could be seeing a new digital broadcast standard in 5 years or less.

I finished paying off my awesome 2 year old Samsung 3D LED TV just last month.



Following on the heels of Samsung’s announcement yesterday of its first smaller--and less expensive--Ultra HD TVs, LG is launching its own 55- and 65-inch sets in the LA9700 series, which will carry price tags of $6,000 and $8,000, respectively.

...

The sets will also be among the first to include a built-in HEVC (also known as H.265) decoder. HEVC is a new video codec that uses an extremely efficient compression scheme, so it can send higher-quality content--such as Ultra HD movies and TV shows--without requiring more bandwidth. In the future, we expect to see many content providers, as well as broadcasters and Internet video services, move to the HEVC format to deliver Ultra HD content. We also expect Blu-ray to adopt the HEVC standard in Ultra HD Blu-ray players sometime next year.

Well, maybe not the Blu-Ray thing, but maybe so. I think the trend is going to be to complete On Demand streaming media. High bitrate digital music, far cleaner and clearer than CD, SACD, or DVD-A, downloaded to your buffer box (a HD connected to your stereo plus lots of RAM). Any television show episode you want, whenever you want. Any movie ever made, and all the ones more than 10 years old for free. All at the click of a mouse or a tap on your tablet.

Our cable TV has a decent On Demand, and we live by it. But it doesn’t have all the current TV shows, and it doesn’t have every episode of every season. That’s just a matter of data storage, and data storage is very inexpensive these days. So expect this concept to really expand within a short time.

The new codec is the real key here. It’s an algorithm. A bit of computer code. If it does loss-less compression, or nearly loss-less compression, then it’s a winner: the algorithm can be expressed as a tiny circuit board or perhaps even a single chip (ie cheap cost), which makes upgrading easy, and that means it will happen much much faster than originally predicted. But it gets better! The current H.265 standard works just as well with “8K” pictures, 16 times the resolution of current HDTV. AND it incorporates 10 bit color depth, which increases the number of available colors from “only” 16.8 million to more than a billion. More than 6 times the gradation, and 4 (or maybe someday 16) times as many pixels. It’s going to look like real life. Maybe even sharper than real life. Wow.

And UHDTV? Fantastic. If you have a decent flatscreen monitor for your computer, it probably runs at the standard 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution. This is the same resolution, called 1080p, that your big flatscreen HDTV uses. But the pixels on the computer monitor are much smaller than the ones on the TV; I view my 23” monitor from about 24” away and nearly everything looks smooth, from fine fonts to giant graphics files. 1920 x 1080 is about 2 mega-pixels, so looking at any digital photograph of a higher density (4Mp, 8Mp, etc) requires scaling. If I had a 46” 3840p monitor that had the 3840 x 2160 UHDTV pixel resolution (which goes by the simple name of 4K), I’d have 4 times the viewing area with the same super fine pixel granularity as this monitor. Which means I could view 8Mp photographs full size, in a larger than life 40” wide format, and NEVER be able to detect a pixel, even from this close viewing distance. And a super hi-def 46” monitor would be mind blowing for video game junkies. So UHDTVs will be the same way. You’ll be able to sit much closer if you want, and get a really immersive wide screen experience, or you’ll watch shows at your regular distance and they’ll be 4 times sharper. Which will all but eliminate viewing fatigue, and make everything look nearly three dimensional because it’s almost as sharply rendered as real life, even real life viewed through young eyes.

Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to wait another decade until the price comes down to my level. But hey, by then cable TV will be a RIGHT, and I’ll just swipe my EBT and get my Obama-TV for free. But I’ll probably have cataracts and glaucoma by then no doubt.



The article says that a TV maker I’ve never heard of, Seiki, already has a 50” UHDTV on the market for $1400. So maybe the wait won’t be years, but merely a handful of months. Awesome. But I just bought this one!!

PS - that $1400 Seiki can be purchased right now for $966.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/13/2013 at 01:08 PM   
Filed Under: • High Tech •  
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