A German guy just came around with a cameraman, asking people in the press room what their favorite thing at CES has been this year. (He did not ask me. I was shooting eye-daggers at him.) Two guys at my table were asked, and both said one of the 4K TVs -- Sony's OLED and Samsung's curved set. 4K is clearly the buzzword at this year's CES.
What is it? 4K is a new, higher resolution for screens and projectors, with roughly 4352 x 2176 pixels. It's about four times as pixel-dense as 1080p. Cool! That means more detail--you can get your greasy face right up next to a screen and it's still crystal clear. This is a higher resolution even than what's in most movie theaters.
Why should you care? The pictures look amazing from up close. I tried out both Sony's OLED and Samsung's curved 4K sets, plus a 4K 3-D set, plus about a thousand other ones. They all look stunning. These are really great TVs. Another reason to care is that this is the wave of the future: Sony's starting to produce content in 4K resolution, and it's one way to get true movie-theater-quality video in your house.
Why should you ignore this? Well, a bunch of reasons. It's not new technology, exactly, but 4K in the consumer space is very, very early, and that comes with a whole mess of caveats. First: assuming you actually can buy a 4K set, they are ludicrously expensive. And you can't really buy one, not yet. Several companies have said they'll come out with 4K sets this year, but we won't hold our breath. Expect the first generation to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The other big problems are content and distribution. 4K content is incredibly rare; NHK and the BBC both produce some 4K content, and Sony is making a big push to film sports and movies in 4K, but right now there's basically nothing out there to watch.
And even if there were a ton of content you'd want to watch, you wouldn't really be able to. 4K video takes an outrageous amount of storage--we're talking nearly 10 terabytes for a normal-length movie. So you have to figure out how to store that--there's certainly no disk that can handle it, since a Blu-ray tops out at about 100GB, or a hundredth of the space you'd need.
The other problem is that America's internet infrastructure is nowhere near robust enough to handle the demands of 4K. You'd need a 100-megabit/second connection to stream a compressed 4K video, which isn't an ideal option since you'll invariably lose some quality in the compression. And basically nobody in the States has a connection that fast anyway; an average Verizon FiOS connection hits about a quarter of that. In South Korea, where they have gigabit connections, 4K would be alright. But not here, not for years.
To deal with that major problem, Sony is providing a big machine you can plug into your new 4K TV, if you're will.i.am or whoever else buys one this year. It's basically a computer with a ton of storage, and Sony will package 10 movies and a few shorts onto it. That's right, you need a huge hunk of machinery and special installation from Sony just to watch 10 movies. The Sony rep I talked to was pretty vague about what happens after you watch those 10 movies. He said the machine could be "updated" with more content, but when I reminded him that it'd take about three days to download a single movie over America's highest-speed internet connection, he didn't really have a response.
So what's the takeaway? 4K is cool! Sony's big 4K OLED is probably the most beautiful TV screen I've ever seen. Absurdly bright, vivid, clear. Sharp enough to cut diamonds. It's awesome.
But this is a showoff tech, not a "here's what you guys will buy this year" tech. And that's fine! We like amazing futurey stuff! But let's keep it in perspective.
I guess I have never really paid attention to retail cpu release dates, I have been building my own pc's for the last 20 years, and after I overclock them they are generally faster then what you can buy off the shelf, for a few months anyway.
so I wonder after re-reading your post's you think mac's are superior because they have a better case? I say that because we have eliminated the os and hardware as being better...all that leaves is your shiny aluminium case. ;0)
Just to drop some maths on this 10TB nonsense. The storage needed for a movie is proportional to the information contained within which is in the worst case scenario proportional to the number of pixels. For example, 100x100=10.000 pixels require double the storage of 71x71=+-5000 pixels. Actually it's less because compression algorithms don't scale linearly, but let's just go with that for the sake of argument.
4352x2176 pixels are a total of about 9.5 million pixels. FullHD, or 1080p, is 1920x1080, or about 2 million pixels. 4K contains precisely 4,57 times as many pixels. A quality-wise top of the line 1080p movie can be compressed without artifacts or loss of detail into less than 10GB, usually less than 5GB. A 4K movie should need no more than 50GB to achieve top quality. That's only about 200 times less than what was stated in this article, and all I needed was a pocket calculator...
I bet they could stream it in kansas city, with google fiber.
I was about to say the same thing, essentially.
4.57 times the pixels means (at most) 4.57 times the storage space!
Also, this means 4.57 times the bandwidth required. Again, a far cry from the quoted figure (100 mbps)!
Perhaps the _real_ reason people won't be buying 4K TV's is that 1080p already looks razor sharp on most, if not all, TV's viewed at actual viewing distance (when you are watching TV)
Nobody in there right mind ever stores video as a stream of bitmaps ever.
4k is functionally the same as four streams of 1080 patched together. Two hours of blu ray fits on a 25gb disk so four streams of two hours would fit on a 100 gb blu ray disk.
It takes less space to store a similar quality compressed images at 4k than four separate 1k(1080) images. Even a lossless compression (yes there is such a thing)would have a very significant bits per pixel ratio benefit from the higher resolution.
Rasters (pixels) are so old school. Vector based video is the new kid on the block. Pixel based video can be visualized as a 3d array of dots with depth being time with a row for each frame kind of like a stack of transparencies. If we look at just a bouncing red ball as it passes through the frames ie we cut it out of our stack of transparencies it would form a 3d wiggly cylinder shape, if we describe that shape with maths and store that description instead of all the pixels it takes we can save allot of room with out loosing immage quality. What's best is it will be pixle and frame rate independent, meaning you can use the same file to watch on an old standard definition tv or rlb2's new 64k tv at 20 hz or 500 hz and it will always be full fidelity. This is only one of the techniques that will be used in the codecs of the future.
PS I have 1.4 Gbps fiber internet at my home (but I only use 50 mbps), don't know what all your guyses connection problem is.
what will happen when video quality is maxed out you see 3d take off bigtime and who has the best 3d.
that and i think audio quality will be a bigger focus