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The shift to 4K is happening much faster than the move to HD did

By Shawn Knight ยท 66 replies
Sep 21, 2016
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  1. The transition from standard definition televisions to high-definition sets seems like it happened in the blink of an eye yet in reality, it was a drawn-out process that carried on for many years. The shift from HD to 4K, as it turns out, isn’t taking near as long.

    During a recent press event in San Francisco, Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro said that at year four of the transition to HD, they only sold 2.9 million units. Now, four years into the jump to 4K, that figure has climbed to just over 15 million units.

    What’s more, Shapiro said that four out of every 10 units shipped this year – and nearly ever set over 50 inches – will be of the 4K variety.

    The rapid adoption of 4K technology is largely a result of lower prices. In 2015, the average 4K television sold for $1,048 but this year, it has dropped to just $861.

    The availability of 4K content also shouldn’t be overlooked. When 4K sets first arrived in 2012, there was hardly any native content to speak of. While live broadcasts are still airing in HD, all of Netflix’s original content has made the jump to 4K. Rival Amazon is doing the same, making sure its new original content is also filmed in 4K quality.

    All things considered, this holiday season is likely to be a big one for 4K televisions.

    Permalink to story.

  2. 1080p: "Wow! You can see the individual blades of grass!"

    4K: "Wait, is that [actress name]? I thought she was prettier..."
    Techtree101 and Reehahs like this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    Meh! I'm certainly not interested in forking over $861 for a TV which will be obsolete in 6 months time. I'll just stick with 1080p for a while still.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,140   +1,566

    there are much cheaper TV sets, that's just the average price.
  5. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 243   +160

    Got myself this Samsung UE28590 4k monitor for an insane 160 Euro. It's awesome, moving back to my son's 1920X1080 display I find even text blurry, not to mention pictures or video. All I need now is a better GPU, my 970 is working hard, but lowering the details to medium I was able to finish ROTR without any issues.

    Also have a 4k TV which cost like 450 Euro. 4k material is still rare, but that's about to change in the next couple of years.
    9Nails likes this.
  6. slamscaper

    slamscaper TS Addict Posts: 218   +44

    About 8-9 months ago I bought a new TV. Since then 4K sets have come down drastically. If they would have been priced where they are today, I probably would have gotten one just because of price alone. But I focused on nabbing the best 1080p panel I could without smart features (I prefer using an external box for that as they have many more options and can be upgraded easier). So I ended up with a pretty nice 50 inch LG LCD that uses a decent IPS panel with LED lighting. After seeing a few of the cheaper 4K sets and how good they now are at upconverting, if I were to buy a TV today I'd go 4K for sure.

    That said, I'm not all that upset that I didn't wait for a 4K set because I just upgraded to Comcast's X1 cable box and they told me they don't plan on broadcasting in 4K any time soon (even upconversion isn't possible with their latest X1 box). Until the major networks start broadcasting in 4K, I honestly don't see it taking over. The 4K Blu-Ray's are a good start though. It gives Blu-Ray some much needed life breathed into it. The 4K Blu-Ray movies are going to be the best quality we'll ever have, as the bit rate won't be as low as Netflix or other streaming solutions. Can't wait to check one out.
  7. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,354   +1,134

    I'm actually surprised by this, When 1080p came out, a lot more content became available in 1080p or 720P, Blu-Ray, YouTube, Sky HD. I remember these launching a couple of years after 1080p really became a thing.

    4K on the other hand, it's been around now for 2-3 years? Still haven't got any proper 4K Broadcasts, I haven't heard of any plans of airing TV shows via FreeView @ 4K and we're still waiting for 4K Blu-Ray to arrive. Sky I think had a tester channel for 4K. YouTube jumped onto 4K very quickly. Streaming services are far more common today than when 1080p came out and they're slowly producing content in 4K but that's about it.

    If 4K sets really are flying off the shelves quicker than 1080p sets. Why aren't content creators pushing to get 4K content out there?

    *My opinions are based what I have seen in the UK. I'm certain you'd have a completely different experience in Japan / America.
  8. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 90   +15

    Not just 4k resolution, but also HDR picture compliance, OLED panel, for TVs at least, and then120Hz+ refresh rate and adaptive-sync as well, preferably connected by D.P 1.4 but if 1.3 can handle it then fine. Wait I forgot to mention a capable GPU, compliant UHD blue-ray player and/or high-bandwidth streaming or should I save that for another topic?

    Shapiro among others in this industry needs to understand that consumers are aware of the limitations of current 4k technology and push panel manufacturers into adapting the full range of standards instead of encouraging consumers to purchase products that will be obsolete in the same year.
    senketsu likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +671

    What surprises me here is that you are still paying for cable! And you seem to intend on staying with it! WOW! I thought people were done paying for ads when there are so many on-demand offers available. I'm assuming there is a logical explanation for this...
    Reehahs and Chesterfried like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +671

    I'm really surprised by this too, although I do remember the move to HDTV was slow and now that I think about it, it certainly does seem 4K has been moving faster. It is surprising to me because I felt the move from standard definition to 1080p was a pretty damn big improvement in image quality. Myself, and a lot of others don't see as drastic of an improvement going from 1080p to 2160p / 4K. I suppose maybe the move from analog to digital made a big difference, along with many other advances in technology which lead to better picture quality that are now common place.

    Not only this but the size and shape of the "television set" hasn't really changed much since HDTV came out. 4K sets are almost the same in every visual design respect. But going from SD TV's (which were either tiny screen yet monsterous in overall size and weight CRT's) or big screen projection TV's which took up a lot of space but had terrible picture quality to larger screens, thinner frames, and lighter "flat panel" design was a huge benefit. So why was that so slow yet people are dumping their still functioning 1080p TV's for 4K TV's when there doesn't seem to be as many benefits?
    Phr3d likes this.
  11. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,140   +1,566

    I did cut my cord years ago. but I still plan on getting a 4K TV this holiday season or early next year.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    Yeah I know but I'd rather buy a proper branded TV rather than some obscure white box special although sometimes you can get a pretty decent product and deal there too. It's usually the luck of the draw and I'd rather not chance it. Gambling is definitely not in my DNA but I suppose Las Vegas will do just fine without me.
  13. davejonnes

    davejonnes TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +12

    I just bought a 55" 4k LG smartTV (55UH6150) for $650. It was open box yes, but still, that price is not bad at all for a brand like LG.
  14. J spot

    J spot TS Maniac Posts: 202   +125

    I'm not surprised at all. Before the move for HD, cathode ray television had been the standard for decades. Smartphones were not a thing, and not much R&D was going into higher resolution displays. Everyone alive at the time pretty much had gone all their life using cathode ray television, and without any complaints because it was the absolute norm. With HDTV being more established, the infrastructure set, it's just a matter of bumping up the resolution of existing technology. That alone makes the entry level cheaper.
  15. Neutronman

    Neutronman TS Rookie

    I'm more interested in OLED and HDR. I want better colors and deeper blacks, not higher definition crap.
  16. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 243   +143

    Regarding UHD TV, Japan is a decade ahead of the rest of the world. #justjealous
    Reehahs likes this.
  17. thewind

    thewind TS Enthusiast Posts: 77

    I honestly don't think it has much to do with people DUMPING there 1080p TV as it does just people who are in the market for a new tv have 2 options 1080p or 4k and when 4k is Basically future proofing cuz it will take years to adapt and by the time 8k tries to become modern that will take even longer as blu-ray wont be able to support it and bandwith will be so high that few people will have the internet capabilities to stream it. So when the choice is between something that is slowly becoming obsolete and something that will be around for WAY longer when the price difference isn't that huge (I see 55" 1080p for $600 and 55" 4k for $800 ONLY $200 difference) Why would ANYONE want to get a 1080p TV? Its pointless. I have a 65" oled 4k and love it! And honestly the TV is so good I probably wont upgrade it for 10-15 YEARS maybe even longer! So its just a really good time to get a TV. :)
  18. Kotters

    Kotters TS Maniac Posts: 330   +223

    HD screens were available long before HD streaming from Youtube or Bluray/HD-DVD. Remember, the 360 was released in 2005, a few years after HD was beginning to take proper hold in the consumer market. Blurays weren't released until 2006, and the format war wasn't won proper until 2009. Netflix didn't introduce movie streaming in SD until 2007.
    Phr3d likes this.
  19. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,354   +1,134

    Yeah, Actually, you just jolted my memory. It did take a long time, I think it's because I was in school back then and those days just flew by!
  20. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,588   +274

    The second is the actual response my wife had to 1080p. (More precisely, she complained that she can suddenly see all the skin flaws.)
  21. Jstepz

    Jstepz TS Rookie

    I'm waiting for affordable HDR and true 10 bit screens before I buy again.
  22. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,073   +1,548

    Well, this is interesting, but when HD came along, the technology, I.e., large LCD/Plasma screens, had to be invented first and the costs where astronomical. Now, however, the technology is improving rather than evolving. Even OLED, which had to be invented, is coming in at approximately $2K for LG's newest 55" 4K models.

    As far as 4K OTA broadcasts, hopefully, ATSC 3.0 will be adopted soon; ATSC 1.0 only supports 1080p as its highest resolution. However, ATSC 3.0 will also get rid of the asinine multi-path reception problems with ATSC 1.0 and allow for mobile reception of OTA broadcasts even if you are in a tunnel. ATSC 3.0 is what ATSC 1.0 should have been.
  23. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Posts: 468   +138

    HD Broadcasts in the UK took years after 'HD' TVs became a thing, and even then they were 720p or 1080i, and sometimes as low as 337i back in December 2007 when mainstream channels took off.
    Proper 1080p channels didn't really hit TV broadcasting until 2012.
    With 4K however, content production is much higher, Amazon, Netflix and Youtube all support 4K, we even launched our first 4K channel last year - BT Sport (I say 'we', I actually work for BT in a completely different area).

    The thing is with 4K broadcasts though is that there is an incredible technical challenge here. All TV is processed from uncompressed footage and heavily compressed for broadcast, to do this for public channels would cannibalise bandwidth.
  24. bluto 2050

    bluto 2050 TS Addict Posts: 270   +33

    I paid the usual Sony Tax for a 2015 Sony XBR 4K HDR wide color gamut TV and with no regrets at all it has the usual superlative Sony color, picture quality and Sony XBR build quality and presumably the usual XBR durability I've become accustomed to with Sony XBR sets .

    Outside of Dolby Vision this TV should not be obsolete anytime soon whereas the 2014 XBR models already are in some respects most notably HDMI 2.0a , HDCP 2.2 and the latest HEVC 4K HDR Netflix and Y.T. Vp9

    This Sony can plausibly re map 8 bit HDTV color to a plausible 10 bit nearly DCI P3 wider color gamut and HDTV upscaled to 4K and re mapped to the wider color gamut in those Sonys and similar Samsung's looks significantly better than color stripped Cable /Sat TV and better than good 1080p even with a 5 star Blu Ray .
  25. bluto 2050

    bluto 2050 TS Addict Posts: 270   +33


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