For movie fans who have the surround sound system, the high-tech BluRay players and the theater seats that make them feel like they are at the big screen, a new type of technology is about to make the home movie viewing experience even more epic.
The technology is 4K Ultra HD resolution, the standard for full-length feature productions, and it could potentially change the way viewers watch movies at home. LG Electronics launched the 84-inch 84LM9600 Ultra HD TV in October at the Video & Audio Center in Lawndale, California. Visitors to the store were impressed with the clear picture, made possible by 4,000 lines of resolution that lets viewers see a crystal clear picture nearly 180 degrees around the display. Some experts have even noted the 4K Ultra HD blows away 3D television technology. Sony launched a similar set earlier in the year that includes proprietary technology that upscales resolution content to the 4K level.
With a price tag of $17,000 to $25,000, the 4K Ultra HD isn’t for everyone (many regular consumers would have to dig into their savings for a purchase like that), and the hesitance to purchase is increased by the lack of content available.
Luckily, Sony is doing its part to solve the content problem. Customers who pre-ordered the XBR-84X900 (Sony’s 4K Ultra HD model) will be given a content bonus: the sets will ship with what the company calls the world’s first 4K Ultra HD delivery solution, complete with pre-loaded, native 4K entertainment, including full-length feature movies. Although Sony spokesperson Ray Hartjen wasn’t clear what the delivery solution was for the native content, tech experts suggested it may be a small PC similar to the machines Sony supplied to retailers for in-store demos. The company also did not specify if the additional content would be offered to customers who buy them in stores.
What can customers expect to see right now in 4K Ultra? Every week, one NFL game is broadcast in 4K resolution, but that’s about all. However, Sony supplies production companies with cameras and has its own production studio, so it’s likely that will encourage the use of 4K Ultra HD in movie, sports and gaming content as sales of the set increase.