AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, California
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I was holding off on buying a new TV set since 1987 when I found out about new and exciting plasma display technology. Then in 1989 I found out about HDTV initiatives, proposed standards and even some pilot projects. I've read about analog HDTV that the Japanese rolled out, as well as about European satellite digital format. All of these were exciting news, but the technology did not converge yet into a usable form, and there was no programming. So I waited.
Then in the late 1990-ies HDTV started to roll out in the U.S. The first TV sets did use plasma technology I had read 10 years earlier, but most TVs were EDTVs. They did cost arm and leg. And there was little programming. I waited more.
Then finally the TVs got cheaper, bigger, with deeper blacks, with better deinterlacing, with proper 1080p60 support. So I set myself a price limit and TV size: 50-inch TV for $2,000 or less. And I bought myself one.
I could use my TV right away with HD content available OTA or over cable. It was not a lot of HD content these days, but there was some, and it was there. I could use its 24p inverse telecine processing to watch DVD movies the way they are shown in movie theaters - full frame, widescreen, significantly improved over CRT experience. I could watch BD titles on a quite expensive BD player. I could watch my home movies. Only now the latest camcorders finally are able to deliver image quality that I can appreciate on my TV.
4K? There are no immediate plans for 4K broadcast, there are some tests with H.265. No plans for 4K satellite or cable TV. 4K Ghostbusters movie that everyone is talking about is only mastered in 4K, but distributed as 1080p BD. 4K BD players are at least one year away if they will ever materialize. I am afraid that with proliferation of streaming video the 4K physical format will cost way too much catering only to home cinema buffs. Netflix and Hulu are barely 720p quality (I am talking not frame size, but overall quality.) So the question what to watch is a real one. Sure, you can shoot your own movies with a 4K camcorder, which is a valid use case, but not for me.
If and when content becomes available I will consider buying a 4K TV. At that time these TVs will be much cheaper than today. On another hand, I am tired from upgrading from VHS to DVD to BD. Also, my HDTV set gave me much bigger bump in quality and features (progressive scan, widescreen, less flicker, ability to function as decent computer monitor) than 4K offers over HD. To better position 4K it should have 'scope aspect ratio, and some TVs do, but the format itself is still 16:9.
For a 50-inch TV watched from reasonable distance it does not matter whether it is 720p, 1080p or 4K - you cannot see the pixels. So you need to go bigger. Sony's 84-inch TV is $25K, I don't like watching TV that much. I actually watch TV less than half an hour a day, I watch videos on my tablet and phone more often. I don't need 4K for YouTube videos watched on mobile device.
It is very unlikely I will continue buying physical media, especially with the same movies I already have, even if they are in 4K. I don't like Ghostbusters that much. So... until streaming catches up to 4K... Or should I say until the pigs fly.
Indeed, I don't know why I bothered to reply, but here it is, I have typed it already, let it be.