Tag Archives: 4k news

Sony Launches X900H (XH90), Its First 4K TVs With HDMI 2.1

Date: 03 Jul 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Sony X900H in the US and XH90 in Europe is now available in 55 to 85-inch sizes. It is Sony’s first 4K TVs with HDMI 2.1 ports and VRR, although it will require a firmware update.

THE PLAYSTATION 5 TV?
In 2011, Sony launched the PlayStation 3D monitor for PlayStation 3. Fast-forward to 2020 and the company has announced PlayStation 5. For users who want to pair up PS5 with a Sony TV, X900H (XH90) could prove to be the PlayStation 5 TV.

X900H (XH90) is Sony’s first 4K model with HDMI 2.1 ports, and its first TVs with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) period. Previously, Sony offered HDMI 2.1 ports only in 8K TVs.

Why is that important? Well, the company has confirmed that PlayStation 5 will support gaming in up to 4K120 as well as VRR for much smoother gameplay with lower lag. This will require an HDMI 2.1 connection between PS5 and the TV.

Sony is not the first manufacturer to offer HDMI 2.1 ports in its 4K TVs. LG has been offering it since 2019 in its high-end LCD and OLED TVs. Samsung recently launched its first 4K TVs with HDMI 2.1 as part of its 2020 line-up. Sony is specifying a 48-120Hz frequency range for VRR in X900H, which is in line with Samsung’s implementation but less than LG’s 40-120Hz VRR in its OLED TVs.

Sony X900H 4K TV with HDMI 2.1.

HDMI 2.1 REQUIRES FIRMWARE UPDATE:
Besides HDMI 2.1, X900H features a full array local dimming (FALD) system behind the LCD panel, HDR support, Android TV, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and HomeKit. It is also equipped with the company’s new Acoustic Multi-Audio speaker system from 65″ and up.

We will not know how well Sony X900H performs as next-generation gaming TV before we get a chance to hook it up to PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, and we are not even sure that the firmware update required to enable HDMI 2.1 input and VRR will make it in time, but we sure hope so.

The company has yet to announce 4K OLED TVs with HDMI 2.1 but we suspect that it has more planned for the second half of 2020.

Sony XH900 in the US and XH90 in Europe is available now in 55 to 85 inches.

Date: 03 Jul 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

LG Installs its First LED Cinema Screen.

Date: 16 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Following in the footsteps of Samsung, LG is getting into the cinema market. Not with projectors, but rather gigantic modular LED screens.

LED CINEMA SCREENS:
Samsung installed the “world’s first” LED Cinema Screen in July 2017 and Sony has been exploring the concept for years. LG has now installed its first LED cinema screen. It was installed in Taiwan in partnership with Taiwan’s Showtime Cinemas and Dolby. The installation includes a full Dolby Atmos system.

LG LED Cinema Screen.

By replacing the conventional projector with huge, modular LED screens, LG says that the projector room can be repurposed as seating space. The company claims that its LED cinema screens have 100,000 hours of lifetime (LED brightness half-time).



“We are excited about our collaboration with LG Electronics to bring our combined expertise to movie goers in Taiwan,” said Jed Harmsen, CPof Cinema & Content Solutions at Dolby Labs. “With the lifelike images created by LG’s LED Cinema Display and the immersive audio delivered by Dolby Atmos, moviegoers will be able to enjoy an elevated and thoroughly captivating cinematic experience.”

LED cinema screens can get much brighter than projectors and have far superior contrast to let cinemagoers experience HDR for the first time in cinema. Like OLED, LEDs are self-emitting meaning that each pixel emits its own light for pixel-level luminance and color control. The price of the system was not disclosed.

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Date: 16 Jun 2020

First Dolby Vision Titles Appear in Google Play Movies.

Date: 19 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Joker and A Simple Favor are the first two movies available in Dolby Vision HDR through Google Play Movies. The company is also planning to add support for HDR10+.

DOLBY VISION AND GOOGLE:

Earlier this year, Google announced that it would start offering movies in HDR10+ format later in 2020. The company made no mention of the other dynamic HDR format Dolby Vision so it is surprising to see Dolby Vision titles arrive first.

Joker and A Simple Favor are the first movies available in Dolby Vision through Google Play Movies. FlatpanelsHD first spotted them yesterday on the Nvidia Shield 2019 device. Joker is available in Dolby Vision in the US and Europe.

If you search for ‘Dolby’ in the app you also see ‘Top Dolby Vision movies’, which suggests that Google is in the process of rolling out support.

Joker is Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.

The company is rumored to be planning a new Android TV device in a stick form factor similar to Chromecast Ultra. Support for Dolby Vision (and Dolby Atmos?) could be announced officially at the same time.

Google Play Movies is not the first online storefront to offer movies in Dolby Vision. Apple TV (iTunes) and Vudu have been offering movies in the premium HDR format for some time, and Apple currently offers a total of 616 Dolby Vision titles so Google has some catching up to do.

A Simple Favor is Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.
Joker and A Simple Favor are Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.

Date: 19 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

Panasonic 2020 LCD TVs Now Available.



Date: 02 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Panasonic has launched its 2020 HX models in Europe. The new LCD TVs in 40 to 75 inch sizes feature 4K resolution and the latest version of My Home Screen.

PANASONIC 2020 LCD TVS:

Panasonic’s new LCD TVs for 2020, unveiled in February, are now rolling out in Europe. The company will also launch new OLED TVs soon.

HX940, HX900 and HX800 are edge-lit LCD TV ranges with 4K resolution. The TVs are powered by the company’s HCX video processor (HCX Pro in HX940) and feature HDR support. However, due to the TVs’ edge-lit LCD panels you should step up to the OLED models if you seek the HDR picture experience.

The TVs are also capable of decoding and outputting Dolby Atmos to an external soundbar or receiver system. Apps such as Netflix are accessible via Panasonic’s My Home Screen platform that has reached version 5.0 in the 2020 models.

Panasonic HX900 and HX940 feature a switch stand that can be adjusted between wide and narrow position.

HX900 and HX940 feature a switch stand that can be adjusted between wide and narrow position. Panasonic says that the narrow configuration lets users buy a larger TV without having to also replace furniture at home.

Panasonic’s TVs will compete with mid-range LCD TVs from brands such LG and Samsung. Unlike its competitors, Panasonic has no LCD TVs with zone dimming capabilities this year.

Panasonic HX800, HX900 and HX940 are rolling out now in Europe.

Date: 02 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

Netflix Has Started Reverting Streaming Quality Back to Normal.



Date: 13 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Many users in Europe are reporting that Netflix has reverted streaming quality back to normal with 4K HDR up to 15 Mb/s bitrate. The company says that it is working with ISPs to increase capacity.

NETFLIX STREAMING QUALITY:

In mid-March Netflix lowered its streaming quality in Europe in response to a request from the EU to help ease strain on the internet infrastructure in these times of nationwide lockdowns.

Netflix subscribers in Denmark, Norway, Germany and other European countries have contacted FlatpanelsHD or taken to forums to report that streaming quality has been restored, meaning 4K HDR streaming at up to 15 Mb/s bitrate. HD bitrates are also reverting back to normal.

However, the changes do not apply universally yet. On 2020 TVs that we are currently testing, Netflix’s 4K HDR streaming quality is still capped to maximum 7.62 Mb/s.

In a statement to FlatpanelsHD, Netflix says that it is working with internet service providers to increase capacity. Netflix said that it added four times the normal capacity in April. So depending on your device, ISP, and perhaps other factors, you may not be seeing Netflix’s normal streaming quality just yet. But the process has started. –

“Please note, we are working with ISPs to help increase capacity. In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity. As conditions improve we will lift these limitations,” Netflix said in a statement to FlatpanelsHD.

Date: 13 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

HBO MAX is Live – Without 4K HDR.

Date: 27 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

WarnerMedia has today launched HBO Max, its new stand-alone streaming service that will compete with Netflix, Hulu and others. 4K HDR is not supported at launch but it is “part of the roadmap”.

HBO Max is Live:

HBO Max has arrived in the US. For $15 per month you get access to 10,000 hours of content, including Warner Bros and New Line movies, HBO series, and more. Movies include The Matrix, Gremlins, The Lord of the Rings, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, and DC titles.

WarnerMedia is the latest player to enter the ‘streaming wars’ after Apple and Disney entered the arena in late 2019 and NBCUniversal soft-launched its new streaming service Peacock in mid-April, with a full launch in the US planned for mid-July 2020.

HBO Max is – or will soon be – available on Apple TV, Android TV, select Samsung TVs, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast, and AirPlay. For more details see the table below.

The service is launching in the US first, with international availability to follow at some point in the future.

HBO MAX IS LIVE WITHOUT 4K HDR

4K HDR is “part of the roadmap”

At launch, HBO Max delivers HD resolution and 5.1 surround sound. We have yet to gain access (update: we’re in!) but the existing HBO Now and HBO Go services have often been under fire for offering low-bitrate HD streaming. It is not clear if HBO Max will offer increased bitrate. With so many great movies and TV shows, many of which already mastered in 4K HDR, it is disappointing to see HBO Max launch without support for 4K resolution and HDR of any flavor. The company’s official statement on the matter is that 4K HDR is part of the product roadmap. It has not commented on its plans for Dolby Atmos.

“4K HDR is a part of the HBO Max product roadmap but we don’t have any additional information to share at this time,” said WarnerMedia. You can check out HBO Max on hbomax.com where you can sign in with your existing HBO account or create a new. It costs $15 per month after a free 7-day trial.

HBO Max – Supported TV Platforms:

Android TV:
Android TV (with Android OS 5 or later) This includes most Sony Android TVs (2016 models and later) as well as the AT&T Streaming TV box.

Apple TV:
Apple TV (4th gen or later) with the latest tvOS software. If you have an Apple TV (2nd or 3rd gen), see Other ways to stream on your TV.

Samsung TV 2016 Models and Later:
Download the HBOMax app on your Samsung TV and sign in. Or, if you need to sign up, see How do I sign up?

Not all Samsung TV models are supported. For a list of compatible TV models, go to HBO Max on Samsung TV and choose Compatible devices. If your TV model is not listed, see Other ways to stream on your TV.

PlayStation 4:
Xbox One:

Other Ways to Stream on your TV:

Chromecast:
Cast HBO Max from your phone or tablet to your TV.

Airplay:
Share HBO Max with your Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation).

HDMI cable:
Connect your computer, phone, or tablet to your TV.https://www.youtube.com/embed/9yLNhhHs3-k?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparentHBO Max Launching onMay 27

Samsung Upgrades 2020 TVs With Unmatched Video App Offerings.

Written by: Editor
Date: 31 May 2020


Aiming to allow its products to feature what it calls the most competitive content app offerings, Samsung Electronics UK has announced that all TVs in the 2020 line-up now feature app offerings such as Netflix and NOW TV.

The new upgrade is now live across all models for 2020 which includes the Q950TS QLED 8K and also Samsung’s 2020 Full HD range. Samsung says that ‘unique’ to the company, its 2020 Smart TV owners will now have ‘unrivalled’ access to the best collection of app platforms available in the UK, ensuring endless entertainment options.

Users will have access to over 50 app offerings from streaming firms including the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten TV and Disney+, in addition to local players BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, NOW TV and BT Sport.

“This is a proud moment for us at Samsung. Not only do our 2020 TVs guarantee access to the UK’s leading app platforms, an offer that is currently unique to Samsung, but we’re pleased to also be in a position to offer this upgrade across our full range. ,” said Guy Kinnell, Vice President, TV and AV, Samsung Electronics UK. “Traditionally, upgrades like this happen in phases for the various TV models, but new for 2020 is that this upgrade reaches every Smart TV in our range from the get go – meaning that the very best entertainment offerings are accessible for all.”

Written by: Editor
Date: 31 May 2020
Source: https://www.rapidtvnews.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

LG Gallery And Wallpaper 2020 OLED TVs Now Available.

Date: 29 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

LG is rolling out its new Gallery TV and a refreshed version of the Wallpaper model. The OLED TVs are available in 55 to 77 inches with HDMI 2.1, webOS, Apple features, and more.

GALLERY AND WALLPAPER OLED TVs:

LG has phased out its E series of picture-i
n-glass OLED TVs and introduced GX, a new line of TVs designed to hang flush on the wall. The company has also refreshed the design of its Wallpaper OLED TV WX.

The Gallery GX screen not as slim as the Wallpaper WX screen, which has a separate electronics speaker box that has been redesigned for the 2020 version. On the other hand all ports, speakers, and electronics are built-in. GX comes bundled with a slim wall bracket solution. An optional soundbar SNX7 for GX will also be available, said LG.

LG GALLERY GX OLED

With self-emitting OLED technology, LG is promising excellent picture quality including pixel-level control for HDR. GX and WX support three HDR formats (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision). The TVs also feature 4K resolution, HDMI 2.1 ports, Filmmaker Mode, and the Alpha 9-3 video processor.

LG GALLERY GX OLED

Both new TV models feature HDMI 2.1 ports with support for up to 4K120 inputs from next-generation game consoles and video players. In addition, GX supports three variable refresh rate systems: HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync.

The company’s webOS platform offers access to streaming apps, including the Apple TV app and Disney+, but not HBO Max that launched earlier this week. New streaming services are increasingly prioritizing platforms like Apple’s tvOS over Smart TV platforms.

LG WALLPAPER WX OLED

Like Samsung with its Serif TV and ‘The Frame’, LG has aspired to create unique TVs that can set it apart from the competition. GX is a step up from CX, while WX is a unique TV that no other manufacturer can offer at this time. Later this year, the South Korean company will introduce the world’s first rollable TV (RX).

LG GX and WX are available now in the US and Europe, with broader availability expected next month. Further details about pricing and availability can be found in the table below.

Date: 29 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

Philips Hue Box Gains Support For Dolby Vision and HDR10+

Date: 29 May 2020

Written by: Rasmus Larsen

The Philips Hue Sync box that lets you sync Philips Hue lights to the action on-screen now works with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content. The update also adds support for voice assistants.

Philips Hue Sync Box updated

The ‘Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box’ was launched in February 2019 but at the time it lacked support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, meaning that it could not produce any light effects from a HDMI signal with Dolby Vision or HDR10+ passed through it.

The latest update adds just that.

From now onwards you can enjoy synchronized surround lighting effects from your Philips Hue lights when watching Dolby Vision or HDR10+ content with compatible TVs, the company announced.

Not all devices are compatible:

However, be aware that not all TVs and playback devices are supported, seemingly due to variances in Dolby Vision profiles. A list of compatible devices is included in the table at the bottom. The software update also adds support for popular voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. This lets you power on/off, start or stop light sync, switch HDMI, and switch between sync modes via voice commands to an external compatible device. Lastly, the box can now be configured to work with infrared commands from your TV remote control or Harmony universal remote. The software update is free and can be installed via the Hue Sync mobile app. The Philips Hue HDMI Sync is available for 230 dollars in the US and 250 Euro in Europe from meethue.com.

Philips Hue Sync – Compatible Dolby Vision devices:

TV models that support Dolby Vision from these brands have been tested:

TVs:
LG – Only 2017 and later
Sony – All
Vizio – All
TCL – 2018 and later
Panasonic – All
Philips – All

The following HDMI Sources that support Dolby Vision have been tested:

Sources:
Apple TV 4K – Yes
FireTV 4K – Yes
Chromecast Ultra – Yes
Nvidia Shield (2019 models) – Yes
Xbox One S/X (only apps) – Yes
Blu-ray players – No

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Written by: Rasmus Larsen

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

YouTube Reduce Streaming Quality to SD Resolution in Europe

Date: 20 Mar 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


YouTube will also lower its streaming quality in response to EU’s request to help reduce strain on internet bandwidth, according to Reuters.

YouTube in SD Earlier this week, European Commissioner Thierry Breton urged Netflix and other major streaming services to switch to standard definition when HD is not necessary. Netflix has said that it will reduce bitrates across all streams in Europe.

Google’s YouTube says that it will also reduce its streaming quality in Europe by making SD resolution the default.

We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

However, it is not clear if users will be able to manually adjust streaming quality on YouTube. At this time, the YouTube player in our browser still automatically jumps to 1080p.

The report from Reuters said that the decision was made after European Commissioner Thierry Breton spoke to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Source: Reuters

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

4K vs 8K: Study finds that few viewers can see the difference

Date: 04 Mar 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


A double-blind study carried out by Pixar, Amazon, LG, ASC and Warner Bros found that few viewers can tell see the difference between 8K and 4K content on an 88-inch 8K OLED TVs, according to a report by Techhive.

4K TV vs 8K TV:

Multiple TV makers have started selling 8K TVs but there has not been much research into the benefits of 8K TVs. FlatpanelsHD has also found that some of the early 8K TVs are not capable of reproducing 8K resolution and last year we advised our readers not to buy an 8K TV of any type.

A comprehensive, double-blind study carried out by Pixar, Amazon, LG, American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), and Warner Bros – and described in impressive detail by Techhive – has now examined the subject, with the goal of finding out if viewers can see a difference between 4K and 8K.

A Comprehensive, Double-Blind Study 4K vs 8K

For the double-blind study seven different native 8K HDR10 video clips see box above were shown on an 88-inch 8K OLED TV (LG 88Z9) to 139 participants over three days. Participants were seated in two rows at about five and nine feet from the screen, respectively. The 4K Clips were Downscaled from the 8K Clips and then Upscaled Again to 8K on a PC using four-pixel duplication cubic.

In each session, the 4K and 8K versions of each clip were played in three sequences, though the sequences for each clip were not presented one immediately after another. In two of the sequences, the 4K and 8K versions were randomly assigned the labels “A” and “B” and played twice in an alternating manner—that is, A-B-A-B—after which the participants indicated which one looked better on a scoring form see Fig. 3.

In the third sequence, the 4K version was played four times, though the participants still saw the labels “A” and “B” alternate and scored them as before. This provided a control group to assure more robust statistics, Techhive explained and added that each participant was evaluated for their visual acuity.

THE RESULTS:

Since it was a comprehensive study that also took into account the viewers’ visual acuity, for example 20/20 vision or 20/10 vision, results were presented in several different ways. In the average of all results, the 8K clips were rated marginally Slightly Better than the 4K clips, said Techhive.

When evaluating only results from viewers with better 20/10 vision, two 8K clips A Bug’s Life and The Nature Footage were rated “Slightly Better” than the 4K Clips.

Lastly, all “slightly better“, “better” and “much better” responses were combined into a single “better” score to account for the nuance that people may have different perspectives on what is, for example, “slightly better” as opposed to “better“. The outcome was these two graphs.

Left: Distribution of Scores – Right: 3 Grades of “Better” Combined into Single Score.

As you can see, many viewers rated the 4K Version Higher than the 8K Version, which obviously should not happen. Believe the reason you see a large number of People Rating 4K better than 8K is that they really can’t see a difference and are simply guessing.

The more interesting point is the fact that for all clips except Clip 7, most people scored 4K the same as 8K. And 8K better than 4K is second most scored option. For Clip 7, it’s different, and most people scored 8K better than 4K, which was an interesting take-away, said Michael Zink, VP of Technology, Warner Bros. We recommend that you read the full article on Techhive.

Date: 04 Mar 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/the4kmediagroup1

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com

The HDTV is Officially Dead.

Date: 27 Feb 2020
Written by: Yoeri Geutskens

In barely seven years, 4K TV has evolved from high-end niche product to not just mainstream proposition but in fact to the low end of the TV market. On its way it’s pushed HDTV out of the market, meanwhile it’s been put under pressure already by the advent of 8K TV. The Resolution Gap was already big; now the chasm is gaping. The overlap has reduced to almost zero. How so? There are several resolutions used in broadcast television: 480p (SD), 720p, 1080i (HD) and 1080p (Full HD). Yes, 4K Ultra HD broadcasts exist but they cover well under 1% of all programs available. Meanwhile in TV hardware, we’ve got two resolutions you can choose from in 2020: 4K and 8K. Most major TV brands have phased out HDTVs, which until last year covered the low end of the market, where margins are low.

ONE OF THE FIRST 4K TVS – THE $24.999 2012 SONY BRAVIA XBR-84X900

4K TV now fulfills that role. That may sound surprising, because 4K ijs relatively new. The first 4K model, the Sony XBR-84X900, was introduced about seven years ago, at the end of 2012, at a price level of $24.999. Now you can buy one at $249.99! That’s a price erosion of 99% over a 7-year stretch, or close to 50% annually. That’s how steep the price erosion is in this business. No wonder even major electronics firms have difficulty competing and remaining profitable, and quite a few have divested their TV operations to license their brand name to leaner manufacturers. Granted, that entry-level $249 TV is a just 43-inch in size – a substantially smaller model than the 84-inch model Sony debuted back then. It’s also a second-tier brand – Insignia. But it uses the same display panel technology (edge-lit LCD), it’s got the exact same number of pixels, and in some ways it’s more advanced. It’s got HDMI 2.0 instead of v1.4 (which could not handle HDCP 2.2 copy protection that most source devices demand, or 4K input at frame rates higher than 30 fps); it can handle HDR signals, even if its peak brightness is not great. It’s got built-in streaming functionality and comes with a range of apps for all sorts of video services. And if size does matter, you can now get a 75-inch 4K TV for well under one grand – one twenty-fifth or just 4% of what you had to pay at introduction.

2019 $249 UHD TV

FAST EVOLUTION FOR HARDWARE:
It may also come as a shock that in this short period of time, 4K has evolved from the very high end of TV to the mainstream and low end of the market. Low end you say? Yes, for a number of brands, such as Sony, the most basic models are now 4K and HD has been dropped from the range. Samsung has confirmed only a single HDTV in its 2020 range – a 32” version of The Frame, their high design models, which by definition are not low end and likely have some margin left in them. LG confirmed they will not have any new Full HD or HD-Ready TV models in 2020. Panasonic would not confirm their plans for this year but so far it seems they have no new HDTV models on offer. At the same time, 4K is moving away from the high end: This year, one year after 8K TVs commercially debuted on the market with models you could actually buy – as opposed to the prototypes we’ve been shown at CES and IFA for years – Samsung has announced it will no longer offer its most premium display features on 4K models; it reserves those for its 8K QLED TV range. 8K now represents the high end, 4K the mainstream and low end. Meanwhile, TV broadcasting has a hard time catching up, because there’s no business model that offers them any incentive to upgrade. They’ll need to replace their entire production workflow, which is expensive and something they normally do once every seven to ten years. However, even when they start producing in 4K, it’s likely too costly to distribute it in that resolution. That’s because bandwidth is scarce, especially with terrestrial broadcast, but even with DTH (direct-to-home) satellite and cable/IPTV spectrum is limited, and a 4K channel simply takes the same capacity as four HD channels, unless you overly compress it, but that would defy the whole point of Ultra HD. Meanwhile 4K doesn’t bring any additional revenues. Advertisers aren’t paying more money to advertise on 4K TV channels, and the extent to which operators can charge more for these channels is limited. As a result, for 4K content we’re dependent on streaming platforms, for which bandwidth is not an issue, at least not their issue. It’s ironic perhaps that while the overall amount of bandwidth available to us increases year over year, the bandwidth for traditional broadcasting does not, and in many cases even shrinks, where airwaves are reallocated from radio and TV to mobile data. Of course, the relevance of broadcasters does not depend mainly on the resolution they’re transmitting their content in, but this widening gap does add to the worries many of them have about staying relevant in a time where we are witnessing a shift from linear TV watching to on-demand viewing, happening right under our eyes.

WHERE BROADCAST TV IS NOW:
It’s 2020, and America’s biggest sporting event, the Super Bowl, only just now got broadcast in 4K for the first time, on selected distribution channels and, significantly, streaming platforms. It may be telling that while the production mostly was shot with HDR cameras, the base resolution was 1080p (with some 720p thrown in for good measure), and upscaled to 4K for distribution. The 2018 World Championship soccer games were shot and offered in 4K/HDR by broadcasters in some 25 countries on one-off pop-up channels, removed again as soon as the event was over. 2019 had no such major sports event, and this year we’ll have the European Championships, likely following the same patterns as the world cup two years earlier. The other main sports event this year is going to be the Olympic Games and again the prospects for 4K TV owners aren’t great, since the transmission rights in most countries are held by public broadcasters, who have even more difficulty ponying up the money needed to facilitate UHD programs than commercial ones. In another ironic twist, the 2020 Olympics take place in Tokyo, Japan – the country that’s the farthest advanced with 8K production. The 8K feed is expected to be available only domestically, but in Japan the market penetration of 8K TVs is going to be lower yet than in North America and even Europe. That’s because Japanese living rooms are typically much smaller than American ones, and TV sizes are proportionally smaller (and resolutions accordingly lower).

WILL BROADCAST TV EVER CATCH UP:
Will broadcasters ever catch up with the resolutions consumer TVs have arrived at, or should we accept that there will forever be a discrepancy between the capabilities of the displays we’re watching and the content we’re viewing on it? Given the economic realities of the TV business, probably the latter. This is not a new phenomenon however. Even as HDTV hardware had attained dominance over SDTV in the market, most channels were still in HD. It’s just that the gap is getting wider. Someone watching the local news on a high-end TV in 2020 may very well be looking at an SD signal upscaled for an 8K display. That will not look great. Whether it’s acceptable depends on how critical the consumer is, and on how compelling the content.

BBC REGIONAL NEWS BREAK IS STILL BROADCAST ONLY IN SD. (SOURCE: INFORMITV)


THE HDR ALTERNATIVE:
One way for broadcasters to catch up with the TV hardware evolution is to start transmitting programs in HDR. According to the Ultra HD Forum, 1080p HD with HDR also qualifies as Ultra HD and frankly, improved dynamic range contributes more to picture quality than increased spatial resolution. It takes only a modest amount of extra bandwidth – between 0% and about 25% over an SDR channel, depending on the HDR format used. This changes the economics drastically. To what extent broadcasters will need to overhaul their production workflow again depends a lot on what HDR format they choose. More about that in a future article. We seem to have reached an inflection point. What it means for TV hardware and broadcast business only time will tell.

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Feel Free to Join The 4K Media Group:
Subscribe and become a member to stay informed about the latest 4k demo videos. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to my channel for more spectacular 4k demo videos.

YouTube:
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCwlyS9uLPaQRts7vHLkVj_Q

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/the4kmediagroup

WordPress:
https://the4kmediagroup.video.blog
https://4kmediagroup.wordpress.com