2012 holiday season should see the usual bevy of discounted home entertainment hardware — everything from HDTVs to 3D Blu-ray Disc players.
It will also see a relatively new home entertainment hardware offering: 4K TVs. And anyone with enough cash to buy one shouldn’t plan on any discounts.
LG Electronics and Sony Electronics both are debuting 84-inch 4K sets in time for the holidays (4K denotes a screen resolution of 3840×2160, four times the resolution of the 1920×1080 sets widely available today). Both 4K sets feature a slew of Internet-connected applications, both are 3D capable and both will run you the same scratch as a new car: LG’s UD 84LM9600 comes priced at $20,000, while Sony’s XBR-84X900 is listed at $25,000.
Other consumer electronics companies, including Panasonic, Sharp, Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba, have shown off 4K sets in the past year (and Toshiba is planning an entire line of 4K sets in 2013) but this holiday season sees the first real push of the technology to the consumer market.
Gary Yacoubian, chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association’s 4K Working Group, said 4K sets have the “potential to energize our entire industry.”
“First there was analog, then digital — standard-definition, then high-definition,” he said. “Now, with four times the pixel resolution of today’s HDTVs, ultra-HD technology promises to transform the home entertainment experience on giant displays, truly recreating the movie theater in [the] living room.”
Both LG and Sony are touting their 4K sets as not only the pinnacle of home entertainment video, but also the perfect vehicle for 3D, offering above what 1080p 3DTVs offer. And in terms of available content, Sony has tracked the number of major feature films shot digitally in 4K — from Spider-Man 2 in 2004 to The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 — with nearly 60 films mastered in 4K so far.
“Our professional division continues to see the migration toward 4K content creation with major film and broadcast productions,” said Brian Siegel, VP of Sony Electronics’ TV Group.
The hardware companies are excited about the prospects of 4K in the home. But as of 2012 there’s one major problem: No 4K content for the living room is currently available. Nothing on disc, nothing from broadcast, nothing via streaming or VOD.
4K Content Issues? Read more here.
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