The ICC Purios television offering "natural 3-D lifelike experience," according to Sanduski, will be ready for prime time this summer. An Aquos version of ultra-HD, with four times the resolution of existing HDTVs, is scheduled for release in the second half of 2013.
Prototypes of both UHDTV sets were rolled onto the stage here, drawing throngs of photographers and video cameramen. The 3-D TV wasn't turned on. The Aquos UHDTV presented a dazzling series of near-still video images that featured snow-covered mountains, Swiss villages and lazy rivers meandering through green valleys.
Sanduski didn't mention prices for either of Sharp's highest resolution high-end TV sets. Instead, he offered consumer testimonials for current Sharp large-screen sets. Among these was a Texas woman named Mary whose neighbors regularly come to watch football on her TV because picture quality is "why people love our LED TVs."
The Sharp executive avoided the suggestion that Mary's neighbors also come to her house because they can't afford a TV like hers. This possibility poses the greatest challenge to Sharp than the technological issues being addressed in the company's R&D labs.
Picture quality, as noted by Sharp President John Herrington, is the No. 1 motive for purchasing a new TV. But there has always been a price threshold beyond which even a better, brighter, bigger picture is just too dear for most consumers to pay. Whether Sharp, and other TV manufacturers now promoting UHDTV, can move that threshold up without losing customers -- in a stubbornly sluggish economy -- is the rub that might keep on rubbing, the wrong way.
Without a new entertainment system that can sport a UHDTV resolution, TV makers are going down. SAme as PS3 and Xbox360 drove the HD TV market, we need PS4 and Xbox720 with 4k2k resolution to do the same. Broadcasters will catch up later on.
About 1991 or so, we were at the same place with HDTV as we are now with UHDTV. Same questione being asked, same predictions of way expensive sets. Back then, my take was, no. The HD sets will soon cost what the fuzzy, grainy, ugly analog CRTs of the time went for. There was only a short transitional period when HD sets were expensive and sold slowly. Starting maybe in 2003 or so, the prices fell to affordable levels, and in short order just about anyone could make the switch.
A simlar, though possibly less traumatic transition, COULD happen with UHD. The good news for consumers is, we already have the required digital distribution media in place (terrestrial, cable, and satellite)! And we also have a suitably improved compression algorithm already in the works (H.265). So really, all we need now is to see some volume production.
Of course, this doesn't help vendors so much, if they intend on creating a luxury item that will remain luxury for the long haul. There's no reason to believe that these UHD sets would retain premium pricing any longer than HD sets did. Something like 5 to 6 years, before they reach the price levels the masses will accept. And by the way, if they stay high-priced much longer than that, the pundits will call them a "market failure."
But the good news this time is, no anxiety about reception. At least, for those of us who use over the air TV. Internet delivery of UHD might be problematic, depending how fast the ISPs are upgrading their networks.
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