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4K TV appears to still be a work-in-progress

February 17th, 2015

How bad is it? The Verge was recently quoted saying “These companies should stop smoking weed behind the bleachers” after a string of poorly run (and designed) CES 2015 displays.

The 2015 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) was supposed to be a major turning point for the general public toward 4k, but if anything that looks to have backfired as even the big boys like Samsung, Netflix and ISPs like Comcast failed to push through anything that truly interested consumers…at least in terms of pulling their wallets out this season.

The Verge poked plenty of fun at the over-confidence of many worldwide brands:

It arrived on Monday, like a hyper-detailed unicorn emerging from the HDR mist. Samsung, Sony, Dolby, 20th Century Fox, and a host of other companies were teaming up to form the UHD Alliance. Its mission: to standardize terminology and expectations around Ultra High-Definition, sweeping away 4K confusion and accelerating consumer adoption in the process.

Samsung display executive H.S. Kim called it a “game changer.”

Bill Lee, the company’s VP of TV, said it was a “great opportunity for the industry to rally around UHD.”

It’s not going to be that easy.

The bottom line is that with no defined ecosystem and products rushing into market, Ultra HD has become a a problematic set of one-upsmanship that never actually produces a viable product. Buyers need to know there will be gadgets and media supported by their devices. Manufacturers are putting out 4K televisions, trying to one-up each other by signing exclusive content deals that might be good for them, but lock out other manufacturers. Meanwhile both streaming services and ISP providers are picking and choosing when they want to get involved and who they’re ready to work with.

That’s a problem. And then there’s the matter of high dynamic range. With the first wave of televisions failing to catch fire, everyone’s looking for the magic bullet that will make 4K a must-have for shoppers and tech geeks. Many think the brilliant, vibrant imagery of HDR is the answer — but there are multiple options out there to choose from as well. We shall see

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