Retinal TV?

Here is a link to a somewhat “insider” article on the coming UHDTV, aka “4K”. 4K is the next generation of flat screen TV, and features 4 times as many pixels as you currently get with you 1080p HDTV. Assuming you have one of those, of course. 1080p is the current HD digital broadcast resolution standard that gives you 1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels high. While several TVs are already on the market that can produce a 4K picture, no digital TV channel provider that I know of is currently able to send out a 4K signal. That means the 4K TVs out there have to map out 1 broadcast pixel to 4 flat screen pixels, for the time being. Right now those 4K sets are extremely expensive, with a price range between a decent mid-sized new car and mid-sized luxury car. Youch.

So what’s the big deal? It’s hard for some folks to tell 1080 from 720 when watching their shows from across the room. Well, that’s just it. When the 65lb CRT on my old PC finally died a year and a half ago, I replaced it with a 23” HP flat screen that cost me, I think, $200. It’s runs at 1080p resolution too: 1920x1080 pixels. And I’m sitting here at the PC using it, and the monitor is just more than arm’s length away. Call it 20”. I don’t have to sit 8 feet back from the monitor to use it. And even at an eye to screen distance of about 24” it is almost impossible to see any pixelation. With 4K, a 46” TV would have pixels the same size as those on my computer monitor; I could watch TV from 2 feet away if I wanted to. And that’s a really immersive experience. Almost like being in the front rows of one of those old time super wide screen Panavision movie theaters.

Perspective makes things look smaller when they are further away. One advantage of a large screen TV is that you get a bigger image, so things appear more life sized even if you are viewing from a further distance. But imagine a TV where the talking heads on the evening news are life size or larger, and you can walk right up to them - kissing or punching distance, depending on your feelings - and not be able to tell that they are digital images. Pretty darn awesome I’d say.

I don’t want to use the word “retinal” that a certain company loves to bandy about when pimping their little digital devices.  ("retinal" is buzzspeak for “you can’t see the pixels, even when you’re up close") True retinal varies with viewing distance and it varies with the age and visual acuity of the person viewing. And there is a big argument between the ad men, scientists, and eye care professionals about the resolution where true “retinal” really occurs.

4K is coming. The prices will drop, and drop fast, once the technology is a bit more polished. And the USA will probably lag a decade or so behind the rest of the world, just like it did with the switch from analog to digital broadcast signals. But the future will be bright. And amazingly detailed. Let’s just hope that by the time 4K gets here there will be better things to watch than Survivor, Idol, and Dr. Phil.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 02/05/2013 at 06:02 PM   
  1. I hear that, I have had my 23 LG Uber monitor for 3 years now and Its great when gaming( shit looks awesome blowing up) and for writing these inspiring comments. I am happy that the 4k thing is getting started because I for one don’t need 4k for a telly as I only watch network junk on it usually, So i’m waiting for all those folks to sell their 40-42 inch 1080p to me for around 2 bills. With HDMI I can use those sets hooked up to my Comp for big screen fun at High Rez, Netflix,dvd etc.I almost always buy a last generation tech in most things( phone/computer power/tv) because the price/value ratio is so high.

    Posted by Rich K    United States   02/05/2013  at  10:08 PM  
  2. This reminds me of a Robert Heinlein story; to use the telephone - just say “phone” and a head would appear out of nowhere. Even in the bathroom.

    I’d rather have the implanted phone from “Total Recall”.

    Posted by jackal40    United States   02/06/2013  at  01:26 PM  
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