The Future

You can buy this TV right now for about $2000. A television set for which there is no content has never been for sale in the history of the medium. Let's back up a bit...

These are the relative sizes of various picture formats in use today. The "DV" frame is what we had in standard-definition digital television. The next two are what we have in use as "HD" television.  1280 x 720 pixels, and 1920 x 1080 pixels.

The 2 and 4 "K" are used for theatrical release of movies. They are 2000 x 1000 pixels, and 4000 x 2000 pixels. Notice that they are not in the 16:9 aspect ratio of our television images. They are 2:1

4K is generally used for shooting and mastering movies, and 2K is what you watch in most theatres.

1080 is very close to 2K... 1920 pixels wide compared to 2000 pixels wide.

Consumer "4K" sets are actually 3840 x 2160 pixels... exactly twice as high and wide as 1080 HD. They are not 4000 pixels wide, and I can't help thinking of the zone plate.

The 4K Content Challenge

  • Forget Broadcast (see Accountant)
  • No content except Netflix at 15 mb/s??? What???
  • No disk format exists for distribution
  • You can rent a server with some movies pre-loaded 
  • Bet your butt it will be highly compressed
  • No standard for broadcast
  • No way to connect a 4k source picture at decent bit-rate (two hdmi’s?)

Below, four television engineers comment on the prospect of using more bits to fill a 4k screen:

Why Are They Screaming?

  • Actually, one of them is the accountant, as we will have to replace the entire production and distribution infrastructure
  • We could use more bits to avoid compression artifacts in what we have
  • If you've seen BluRay playback, you know that our system can look better than it does on cable and satellite (with more bits)
  • We could use the extra bits for a higher frame rate. Demonstrations of this are spectacular.
  • We could use more bits for colour. 16 million colours only leaves 256 shades of any one colour. The gradient background of this box is showing some stepping because of it.
  • We already need more bits to feed the pixels we have. 4K is FOUR TIMES the size of HD1080


A Marketer's perspective of 4K

An Engineer's Perspective of 4K