Ultra HD 4K televisions now at Appliances Online!

September 10th, 2013

Appliance News TV, Audio & Electronics TVs

Welcome to a new era in home entertainment: Ultra High Definition – aka Ultra HD, aka 4K – has arrived at Appliances Online! 


It boasts four times the resolution of Full High Definition (that thing we’ve said for years was the ultimate kinda on-screen resolution … quite stupidly forgetting there are few “ultimates” in the world of technology). It’s the highest resolution possible right now.

Leading the way is the Sony KD55X9004A 55-Inch Ultra HD 3D LED TV.

These TVs rock with many outstanding features: the first and foremost being they have four times the pixels as your (like, so, yesterday) Full HD TV … 8 million in total (3,840 x 2,160) actually, compared to a measly 2 million (1,920 x 1,080).

1080p vs 4K

Sony are also touting the benefits of something called the “Triluminos” Display Technology, which produces even more vivid, natural shades of colour – and a heightened sense of depth.

What’s the big deal about 4K … wasn’t Full High-Definition good enough?

4K provides a tangible and very cool improvement, in our humble opinion. The degree of detail is profound – with some people saying it delivers an immersive experience and sense of depth that’s akin to watching 3D (and no glasses are required, folks). Which kinda makes us wonder if 4K is set to replace 3D in the home entertainment market.

4K-resolution distanceTrue, sceptics have pointed out that any improvement brought by these added pixels will be null and void if you’re not in a good viewing position. Apparently the ideal 4K Ultra HD viewing distance is 1.5x the height of your TV screen.

Whether that scenario will work in your particular lounge room may be something to bear in mind before you fork out the cash.

But is there enough 4K content to justify the investment?

Okay – there’s a limited amount of native 4K content you will be able to pump outta your Ultra HD screen.

But that’s not to say it’s not out there. For a start, there’s a lot of 4K HD content being created by conversion from 35mm celluloid. More crucially, there are many films (and plenty of TV shows) being shot directly in 4K, using the latest generation of 4K-capable digital cameras (see below). Sony Pictures is one enterprise that insists any TV series shot on its Culver City lot use the 4K format. And – as some indication of how relatively commonplace the technology is – even the American quiz show, Jeopardy, is being shot in 4K.


It’s just that the means of distribution of those 4K Ultra HD sources is currently a little lacking.

4K broadcasting looks a long way off (although there have been trials and early forays into the field, notably in South Korea), and it’s going to be a while before we’ll be able to whack an Ultra HD disc into a some kind of Ultra HD disc player. Someone needs to get busy and start inventing that technology. While standard Blu-ray discs offer a 50GB storage capacity (which is pretty damn neato), 4K movies usually require between 100GB and 200GB.

Mastered in 4kAnd, while we obviously love Sony, don’t be fooled by the “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray titles they are spruiking alongside their TVs … these aren’t actually true 4K Blu-ray releases.

In layman’s terms (ie ours), they have downscaled the film from 4K to plain ol’ HD (in order to fit on the disc) … but your Sony TV will be able to upscale the film back to something amazingly close toif not quite – 4K. Sweetening the deal, the  Sony Pictures (the film’s producers) and Sony Bravia have worked together in order to deliver best possible upscaling performances.

Download Service

Where Sony are doing their bit to make more content readily available, is with their new “Video Unlimited 4K download service”. Currently being touted at the IFA  trade show, it’s the world’s first (and only) on-demand 4k video content service… delivering access to a large(ish) library of native 4K Ultra HD films and TV shows. It’s live right now – and will be available to those possessing a Sony Ultra HD Media Player and a Sony 4K Ultra HD TV.

Another factor to take into account is upscaling technology. Sony have named their brand of this technology the “4K X-Reality™ PRO Chip” – which, despite any doubts we may have had about this kind of technology, is actually pretty cool. Upscaling technology can sometimes leave us a little cold but in this case it’s extremely effective in delivering near-4K standards of viewing. However, it is something of a stop-gap solution in the absence of much actual 4K content.

Samsung and LG Ultra HD

Over the next month or so, you can also anticipate Appliances Online will roll out some spectacular Ultra HD 4K TVs from Samsung and LG. Both are launching 55 and 65-inch 4K TVs into the marketplace.

LG has priced their TVs at $6999 and $8999 (RRP) respectively (we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you agree with LG’s head of marketing for home entertainment Russ Prendergast, who described that as “relatively affordable”). Samsung has set the tidy amounts of $4999 and $6999 (RRP) respectively for their versions of same.

“Our intention was to ensure the ultimate experience at the most affordable price possible,” Samsung Electronics Australia consumer electronics vice-president Phil Newton has said.

As with Sony, in the absence of readily available native 4K content, there is plenty of emphasis placed on upscaling technology – with LG calling there’s Tru-Ultra HD Engine, and using a “four-step data analysis that enhances the details of all broadcasts”.


Samsung, meanwhile, is calling there’s the “Quadmatic Picture Engine” – and is also touted as a four-step process, this including “signal analysis, noise minimisation, UHD upscaling and detail enhancement to seamlessly up-convert SD, HD or full HD content to UHD-level picture quality”.

Time will tell if upscaling is enough of a compensation for the current lack of genuine 4K content.

worlds largest TV

Curiously enough, Samsung are also currently using the IFA Expo as a platform to make waves in the world of Ultra HD …

They’ve been dropping sundry jaws with the display of its almost ridiculously huge 98-inch and 110-inch Ultra HD TVs (see above). The latter is being touted as the world’s largest TV … which we’d think won’t do much to change the perception that 4K is an expensive and self-indulgent toy for the ultra-rich.

However, with the arrival of several smaller and more affordable options on the scene – in particular at Appliances Online – the possibility for a 4K revolution seems a little more realistic. The next step will be to solve the problem of content.

Richie is a Sydney based writer with sophistication, flair and hair. Aside from blogging and writing for Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he is also a new playwright who had his first play, ‘The Local’ performed last year at the Sydney Fringe Festival. He is also the wicketkeeper for the Gladstone Hotel Cricket Club and his favourite appliance is any 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre System that can be delivered to his house free-of-charge in the near future. He was the lead singer of Van Halen in 2002. Google+

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