Why Ultra HDTV is Not the Next Big Thing Yet?

If you have been following major tech events and showcase such as the annual Consumer Electronics Show which took place early this year, then Ultra HDTV may not be any stranger. It practically becomes the main highlight of the international event and continues to receive limelight afterwards. However, even if you really had not the slightest idea about Ultra HDTV, you can definitely make a lucky guess based on its name. The name Ultra HDTV itself stands for ultra high definition TV. A newly introduced standard in display industry, ultra high definition is the next generation of digital video format with four or eight times higher resolution of high definition, or more commonly known as 4K or 8K. While it nails huge impression from display manufacturers and press as well as consumers, there is a strong inclination that Ultra HDTV is not the next big thing yet.

Or perhaps it will be wiser to say that the Ultra HDTV still got a long way to go to be the next big thing in display industry. But, it does not mean it is less impressive in any means. Just take a look at the mind-blowing resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels for 4K and 5760 x 4320 pixels for 8K and you will know what we're saying here. They also comes in massive size, ranging from 84" to 110" ( Now imagine the superb clarity, high sharpness, and vivid colors you often find with high definition contents. Ultra HDTV takes all the pixels and makes it quadruple so just how awesome it is? In one or more ways, Ultra HDTV is like 3D TV on its early phase. It does not look quite enticing at first, save for the selling-out type of technology. But look at them now. Right after the booming of 3D movies in cinemas, 3D TV started to take off step by step. While it is nowhere close to LED TV, it begins to gain popularity in the mass market, especially with major TV manufacturers rolling out more reasonably-priced price 3D TV and 3D glasses. The same goes for Smart TV which is previously also predicted to be the next big thing. In fact, some TV manufacturers decide to make a super TV, combining 3D capability, Smart TV features, and ultra high resolution altogether in a package. Whether it will sell out, only time can tell.

Now that you already understand more or less about Ultra HDTV nature and its presence in display industry, let dig into some basic facts about Ultra HDTV. First thing first, how do you call Ultra HDTV? Is there a common universal name? The confusion on terms or monikers for Ultra HDTV is likely to happen because some TV manufacturers prefer to use 4K. After all, they are used to refer it as 4K display instead of Ultra HD display in its earlier development. Then, there are also the title UHD, which by no means, is a shortened version of Ultra High Definition as in HD for High Definition. The argument continues as Japanes recognizes HDTV as Hi-Vision and thus Ultra HDTV as Super Hi-Vision. In the end, Consumer Electronics Association decides to christen it as Ultra HD, which is highly consistent with the existing HD and Full HD term.

Next, Ultra HDTV is also associated with big sizes but how big is the question here. Believe it or not, it really has nothing to do with the claim of Ultra HDTV as the next big thing. With display, it may sounds logical that the bigger is better. However, Ultra HDTV does not work that way. It comes in big siezes to deliver higher and more accurate details with those enormous amount of pixels. So, it's more like making the use of every inch in the screen state. Currently, the biggest Ultra HDTV is 110 inch which belongs to Samsung. The most common size available is 84 inch as featured by Sony and LG which are the first two display manufacturer to introduce Ultra HDTV into global market back on 2012. Samsung only rolled out theirs in the CES 2013 with 85" and a smaller 55" version.

But in the end, no matter how impressive or breath-taking Ultra HDTV is, there are at least three reasons why Ultra HDTV is not the next big thing yet.

Steep Prices

Everything has a price but to own an Ultra HDTV, it is insanely pricey. It will cost you a very huge fortune that you can buy five 3D TV or Smart TV with the same amount of money. And yes it's a deja vu with the case of 3D TV in its early stage. The difference is that Ultra HDTV is more unlikely available for mainstream as 3D TV or Smart TV did. You will still pay a premium at least three years ahead to bring home such TV set. Now, Samsung S9 UHD TV 85 inch, being the most exorbitant of all, is priced at $39,999 while Sony and LG take a lower margin at $25,000 and $20,000 respectively for their 84 inch Ultra HDTV. If you asked us, most consumers would probably think thousand times before spending their fortunes for those extra pixels, even for those with deep pockets. Some may argue that prices will go down once Ultra HDTV become a mass product. Problem is, it is not going to happen any time soon with the sky-high price, not to mention other factor such as its massive size and lack of contents. Apparently, Ultra HDTV will not become the next big thing at all if they are to retain the extremely premium price tag.

Big Sizes: Blessings vs Curse

With the higher resolution, come the bigger size. It looks like a basic math but it turns out to be not as simple as it looks. With resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K), you certainly need bigger screen state to distribute all those pixels so the bigger the better. However, the problem now is that if you can even tell the difference. Ultra HDTV is said to advise its audience to keep distance at least five meters from the TV set for optimum viewing experience. But if you are seated that far from the TV, can you even see those tiny details supposedly there to make images sharper? So, in this case, let's agree that bigger is not necessarily better. That aside, Ultra HDTV will need you to make more space to place the TV. Do not forget about the advised distance for optimum viewing experience too. And no, never mention anything about mount because it is simply impossible. All the current Ultra HDTV comes with a stand to support those big panels. In a nutshell, monster-sized Ultra HDTV is definitely not a the next big thing in anytime soon.


If you do not have to put wires, then of course you do not have to make holes in the wall or ceiling for wires to get through. With this, you can also save cost and time for installing the whole wiring system, which often take less for wireless lighting system. Now, you can have all glass or concrete structures for rooms, or even the whole office. In terms of control, it is also more flexible because you can control multiple wireless dimmers and switches from one panel or have different panel to control the same dimmer or switch.

Contents: The Same Old

Again, it is the same issue with 3D TV and Smart TV. Ultra HDTV will suffer from a serious lack of content because there is hardly any device to produce, save for playing those ultra high resolution content. Yes there is the upscaling feature which can convert contents into ultra high definition resolution but the result is not very convincing so far. Most of the time, the viewers could not tell between Ultra HD and Full HD. What's more, you also need to consider the huge file sizes of ultra high definition contents, not only because of the resolution but also because it has no compression. After all, you lose the point of having the Ultra HDTV at all if you are to watch low-resolution contents on such big TV. To cut things short, until the problem of content availability get solved, Ultra HDTV will not be anywhere close to be the next big thing yet.

(Date: 27 March 2013; Lidya)

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