The $39,999 Samsung S9 84" 4K UHDTV – Taking a Closer Look - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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When I saw Samsung's flagship S9 UHDTV on display at the company's 2013 line show in NYC, I decided I had to to spend as much quality time with it as possible. For a few precious minutes during the show, I had both the S9 and a company rep all to myself, so I seized the moment and took a close look at this futuristic flat panel UHDTV.


The S9 was set up in its own darkened corner - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

The first thing I noticed was the enhanced-resolution 4K content—3840x2160 pixels to be precise. The added detail is readily apparent, even from a distance. I have read a lot of commentary and seen some viewing-distance charts, but in order to have an informed opinion on 4K's benefits, I needed to see it in person. The difference in quality is tremendous! In photo terms, it is a leap from two megapixels to eight megapixels. Of course, any TV that costs $39,999 needs to have exceptional contrast and color rendition, both of which were readily apparent. Honestly, it is hard to find fault in any aspect of the S9's picture quality and performance. There is no doubt about it—this UHDTV is a "halo" product.


This is a real photo of the S9's screen, enlarged to show detail - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

Inevitably, UHDTVs like this one beckon the viewer to come close to the screen and really scrutinize the details. At first, the video samples that looked so clear from a normal distance on the 4K screen looked noisy and full of artifacts close up. After a minute, though, it became clear that there is a hierarchy of quality in video capture, because the best of the clips were nearly flawless, while others fell apart when scrutinized from only a few feet away. None of that mattered from a normal viewing distance, but it was just a bit surprising to see how revealing the S9 could be.

The S9 rests on a unique stand that integrates 2.2 audio with 120 watts of power, allowing the 84" screen to act as a stand-alone unit with sound—and with the ability to tilt the screen to an optimum angle. Of course, the screen can be removed from the stand and wall mounted. I wish I could have heard some audio, but the clips in the demo were silent.


The easel-like stand features built-in 2.2 audio with 120 watts of power - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

One of the main criticisms of UHDTV in 2013 is the lack of adopted standards for the format. From the HDMI connection to frame rates and audio formats, there is no consensus. I asked Samsung's rep about 4K hardware and software support. His response: "That's why we designed the S9 to use the Smart Evolution Kit. For example, if the HDMI standard receives an update next year, the upgrade kit guarantees the S9 will be compatible."

Finding content that takes full advantage of the S9's enhanced resolution may be difficult at first, and Samsung has not announced any plans for hosting 4K content on its Smart TV service. For now, both Sony and Netflix have announced plans to make 4K movies and shows available, and there are some DSLRs and video cameras that already shoot 4K footage. I mentioned to the rep that I was still going to have to buy a PlayStation 4 to watch 4K movies on my new S9; he was not very amused.


The crop below is from the full-sized version of the above photo, shot with a 16 megapixel DSLR

Details, color and contrast are expertly rendered by the S9 - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

Here is one cool bit of data on the 84" flagship DHTV set: It actually uses less electricity than Samsung's new F8500 64" plasma. Despite the modest power consumption, the full-array dimmable-LED panel is capable of the brightness levels LED is now known for—eyeball scorching, if need be. This amazing flat panel will be available by the end of March 2013. Samsung plans to offer an even larger unit measuring 110 inches diagonal, due in the second half of 2013.

Find out more about Mark Henninger at www.imagicdigital.com
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post #2 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 05:55 PM
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Amazing. I need.
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post #3 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 06:16 PM
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Cupla years and these will be $2500.00
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post #4 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 06:37 PM
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I completely agree the prices will drop to consumer level pricing once the 4k manufacturers get a plan to being these to market and production costs are reduced to large scale levels.
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post #5 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 07:41 PM
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40K for 4K? Let me order up one for every room. biggrin.gif

Few years down the road yet for the average Joe for sure, but hey it's nice to see what's coming, thanks for the article.
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post #6 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 08:25 PM
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I agree you did a terrific job on the writeup....

It has to be said, though, that even for early-adopter pricing, $40K is insane. Really stupidly insane.

This display is the equivalent of 4, 42" TVs that are not cut at the substrate with a $20 4K upscaling chip and some decent sound parts.

By my math, the could quite literally make a profit selling this for $5000-6000. Had they priced it at $10,000, they'd probably sell bundles of them and make tidy profits.

At $40K, they will sell dozens of them and not actually make money.

You wonder who runs these Mickey Mouse operations.

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post #7 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 09:12 PM
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Good God. I need to see one of these.
It's a shame Samsung doesn't employ some sense and bring back full-array with local dimming in the rest of their LCD lineup (the lineup that humans can actually afford).

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post #8 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogo View Post

By my math, the could quite literally make a profit selling this for $5000-6000. Had they priced it at $10,000, they'd probably sell bundles of them and make tidy profits.

I would be interested in seeing that math.

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post #9 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 09:20 PM
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It's almost 2x more than Sony XBR-84X900. Probably because of tilt screen eek.gif
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post #10 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogo View Post


By my math, the could quite literally make a profit selling this for $5000-6000. Had they priced it at $10,000, they'd probably sell bundles of them and make tidy profits.

I have no idea what these UHD TVs cost Samsung to produce, but I can tell you that even dealer cost on the 84" Sony is way above $6,000....
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Originally Posted by giedrys View Post

It's almost 2x more than Sony XBR-84X900. Probably because of tilt screen eek.gif

That, plus the full-array backlighting with real local dimming. The Sony is edge-lit.

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post #11 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 10:11 PM
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Hmmm.

I could get this, or I could trade in my Honda Accord for an Audi A6.

What to do, what to do.....



(jk - I know people who buy this already have way more than an Audi A6)
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post #12 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 10:37 PM
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post #13 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 10:53 PM
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I love it - you get a one year warranty, and they have the stones to try to sell you a $250 extended warranty on a $20,000 TV.
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post #14 of 83 Old 03-23-2013, 10:57 PM
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Yikes. That's a super high price point. I'm sure they will have no problem getting people to buy them. I would love to see one in person though.

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post #15 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 12:52 AM
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Wow frickin awesome man!! I love Samsungs new bezel design. Sounds like you had a lot of fun with it.

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post #16 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 01:15 AM
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Guys. I know the dealer cost is much more.... That's not my point.

My point is, this is the retail on the most expensive 46" Samsung:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+-+46%26%2334%3B+Class+-+LED+-+1080p+-+240Hz+-+Smart+-+3D+-+HDTV/4837437.p?id=1218540192660&skuId=4837437

$1500...

The 84" has less material than 4 of those put together, OK? It's less opportunity cost to sell one of those than 4, high end 46" units...

So, basically, if they retailed an 84" for $6000 they'd be ahead of the game....

But there are other factors. It's harder to ship an 84" and there is some risk on panel yield.... So that's why I picked $10,000.

There is no reason at all it's $40,000.

If you look at Sharp, they actually use the 40" lines from their older 8G fab and ironically blow up the pixels... This is probably in a way more complex for them than if they had just made the 80" a 4K display, but it did save them running new electronics and also allowed to mentally justify selling it cheap. But they sell it for, what, $4000? It's essentially the same bill of materials as the $40,000 Samsung with the difference being the 4K video scaler/processor and the fact that instead of running the color filter and TFT cell layer and backplane at 2K, they run them at 4K... The actual build cost difference is probably around $200. Maybe it's $500 at this point, but there are a lot of reasons why I doubt it is.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #17 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 04:21 AM
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What I like is someone could actually tell a difference in the picture quality from a distance. Everything I've read up to this point was it was hard to tell a difference between 4k and 2k unless looking really close. Picture quality is more than resolution, so the panel may be showing improvements in other ways.

Even if the TV cost $10,000. I wouldn't buy it. The technology is too new to investment significant money in right now. I think the post about it costing $2500 in a couple of years is being way overoptimistic.
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post #18 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 06:41 AM
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"What I like is someone could actually tell a difference in the picture quality from a distance. Everything I've read up to this point was it was hard to tell a difference between 4k and 2k unless looking really close"

Yeah...EVERYTHING you and I have read. Now, no more. Go figure.

That's all changed now with this unit and this human. How can there be any doubt?

Clearly the Samsung/4k commercial above proves it.

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post #19 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

"What I like is someone could actually tell a difference in the picture quality from a distance. Everything I've read up to this point was it was hard to tell a difference between 4k and 2k unless looking really close"

Yeah...EVERYTHING you and I have read. Now, no more. Go figure.

That's all changed now with this unit and this human. How can there be any doubt?

Clearly the Samsung/4k commercial above proves it.

James

Well it's true! You'll have to wait until one of these units shows up near your hometown and go see for yourself, before you can have an informed opinion. If you see no difference, congrats because you can stick with 1080p—which is sure to drop in price rapidly once 4K becomes mainstream.

At CES, the S9 was up on a podium, roped off and under bright lights. My time with one was in a darkened corner, with a lounge chair to relax in and no distractions! That makes a real difference. So far, not a lot of people have had a chance to really check out UHDTV - not the way I did. A lot of what was written on forums in the past about 4K's advantages - or lack thereof - was based on "theory", as opposed to any kind of real-world experience.

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post #20 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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The placebo effect is the measurable, observable,or felt improvement in health or behavior not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered.

The mind loves to reinforce what it wants, its a good evolutionary trait that has benefited us in the past.

I agree, we need to wait. Id wonder how a blind viewing test from regular viewing distances wouldturn out.
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post #21 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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The placebo effect is the measurable, observable,or felt improvement in health or behavior not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered.

The mind loves to reinforce what it wants, its a good evolutionary trait that has benefited us in the past.

I agree, we need to wait. Id wonder how a blind viewing test from regular viewing distances wouldturn out.

I know where I'd put my money, were I to bet on the results. Quadrupling the pixel count is not something that falls under expectation bias, most people can easily tell the difference between photos that are two megapixels and eight megapixels. This isn't some speaker cable comparison where the science says there should be no measurable difference. Besides, the very definition of "regular viewing distance" is about to change, since the screens are also getting larger and the whole point of home theater is to create an immersive experience. With 4K the viewer gains the ability to sit closer than the current 40 degree FOV THX standard for 1080p. However the current THX standard (the screen's diagonal divided by .84) is plenty close to to see the benefits of 4K. It's blatant, in-your-face better. I do recommend you wait until you see one before forming an opinion.

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post #22 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 07:43 AM
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The image quality for these UHD displays are not limited by the display tech.
The limit in image quality is the quality of the material they use for demo. Blame it on the cameras used, the DP, post production and their inability to produce clean "Eye Candy" that really wows the consumer/pixel peeping enthusiast. Film makers are usually more occupied by "image style/image look" than top notch image quality that wows a consumer.

And give quite a bit of blame to the manufacturers that accepts/buy poor quality film for demos. Wouldn't be surprised that much of the demos where shot at low resolution and up-converted, maybe even without telling the display manufacturers about it.

Noise and artefacts will be much easier revealed in 4K material on a 4K screen than 2K material on a HD screen.

If not every clip in a 4K demo film is not pristine clean, somebody has not done their job.
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post #23 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

The image quality for these UHD displays are not limited by the display tech.
The limit in image quality is the quality of the material they use for demo. Blame it on the cameras used, the DP, post production and their inability to produce clean "Eye Candy" that really wows the consumer/pixel peeping enthusiast. Film makers are usually more occupied by "image style/image look" than top notch image quality that wows a consumer.

And give quite a bit of blame to the manufacturers that accepts/buy poor quality film for demos. Wouldn't be surprised that much of the demos where shot at low resolution and up-converted, maybe even without telling the display manufacturers about it.

Noise and artefacts will be much easier revealed in 4K material on a 4K screen than 2K material on a HD screen.

If not every clip in a 4K demo film is not pristine clean, somebody has not done their job.

That's exactly what I was saying in the original post - I could see which clips were true 4K source material, from quality cameras. Of course the room was also filled with many top-notch 1080p displays, so it was quite easy to see how the S9 outperformed - even against Samsung's own flagship Plasma and LCD HDTVs.

"At first, the video samples that looked so clear from a normal distance on the 4K screen looked noisy and full of artifacts close up. After a minute, though, it became clear that there is a hierarchy of quality in video capture, because the best of the clips were nearly flawless, while others fell apart when scrutinized from only a few feet away."

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post #24 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 08:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I know where I'd put my money, were I to bet on the results. Quadrupling the pixel count is not something that falls under expectation bias, most people can easily tell the difference between photos that are two megapixels and eight megapixels.

True, but that's usually because of the display device. Most Laptop displays weren't even HD up to a few years ago (and most standard options still are not). I had to shell out more money for my LED 1080P display. Viewing devices historically have been limiting, which is part of the reason why the photos above need to blow up a selection to a 1:1 crop.

There's no doubt this tech is better, will become the standard, ect. There is a difference.

I'm just ambivalent if it'll really have a practical difference in how we view content outside of driving larger screen sizes and home theaters. Joe Smoe (who are we kidding, really, Joe's wife..) who doesn't have a place for a 80" display isn't going to see the benefit of a 55"4K from the viewing distance he's at,compared to a 1080 display. Yes, getting right up in the face of one of these nice new sets is going to show off it's benefits, but how about under a normal and like comparative test? My guess is not many people will be able to pass that test when they don't have the "Rep" whispering tantalizing things in your ear.



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post #25 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

That's exactly what I was saying in the original post - I could see which clips were true 4K source material, from quality cameras. Of course the room was also filled with many top-notch 1080p displays, so it was quite easy to see how the S9 outperformed - even against Samsung's own flagship Plasma and LCD HDTVs.

"At first, the video samples that looked so clear from a normal distance on the 4K screen looked noisy and full of artifacts close up. After a minute, though, it became clear that there is a hierarchy of quality in video capture, because the best of the clips were nearly flawless, while others fell apart when scrutinized from only a few feet away."

I should have quoted you. My post was kind of a response to you noticing and describing the difference and should have been giving you kudos. I was lazy. Apologies.

It is very important that people know about the quality difference for 4K material and that it stems from bad image production and not from the displays, or else 4K-UHD will get a undeserving bad rap from the start.

The same is noticed by the author of this article; http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/articles/2013/03/living-with-4k-here-is-the-4k-content.php about the demo clips produced on Sony F65 camera. There are no reason the camera should not produce pristine images, so the only fault must lay with the image producers.
That Sony accepts and use this sub-par imagery for their 4K demoes is another story.
Quote:
In all honesty I was very demanding with the image quality I wanted to see and was not particularly impressed with some of the clips and even disappointed with some 4K trailers, such as Skyfall, and other clips/trailers that I have casually seen several times at shows. They did not show what 4K can do, except for the Rocky Mountain Express short clips, which maintained the best quality throughout most of the clip, and a couple of other F65 4K cameras shorts.

One challenge is choosing the right content to demo 4K and another is for it to show a constant level of quality from beginning to end to meet the requirement and the purpose of the demo, which is to show the difference and the potential of 4K. One would not demo the capabilities of an HDTV with 480i substandard content to evaluate if the set is worth the investment.

Some clips taken with the Sony's F65 4K camera were excellent but there were some scenes within them where the image quality dropped to an appearance of 1080p Blu-ray for just seconds due to insufficient illumination, white balance, contrast level, color saturation, etc.

The Taylor Swift F65 4K camera video showed some of those brief instances. The video started with Taylor presenting the 4K video standing in front of a flat color background. The camera could have shown more details of her skin by closing up with the right light on her young face, but the scene was rather dull, as if it was recording an old actor hiding wrinkles.

Then it jumped to a super bright exterior scene and then went indoors with a variety of depths, close-ups, and light changes that may have been OK for her music video clip, but 4K could have been shown better. This video clip was shown at CES for the new smaller Sony 4K panels, and unfortunately the video was very jumpy at CES, it was not in my review.


A similar experience was on the F65 4K camera shots beyond the first part of "The Arrival" clip. The first camera shots of the glossy ceramic walls and floor tiles showed extreme detail and realism, a "being there" image quality, it was a clear representation of what the 4K camera and projector can do, but after that point there were several scenes with the appearance of Blu-ray 1080p quality, especially the ones with lower light in the detective's office.

In the "El Dorado" F65 4K clip there was 8-bit color banding type of effect (an example of the effect is shown on the left image, sourced from my 2006 HDMI article). The color banding showed waves of various blue sky colors while the sun increasingly illuminated the rocky scenery, hours of single shot recording shown fast in a 15-second scene, using the camera style of TimeScapes for the fast viewing of a recording of hours of real life. This color banding scene should have been removed from the 4K video.

The "El Dorado" clip also showed scenes of what 4K can do, such as at the beginning of the video, when it showed the very shiny black paint of the Cadillac rolling on the streets of Las Vegas at night, with many lights of hotels and bright signs, the quality was excellent, but then it switched to the casino interior where the image quality dropped.

Which were the best clips for me? Number 1: definitely the Rocky Mountain Express clips, specially the close-ups of the steam engine and the light changes in the front, the close-ups of the turning wheels at full power, and the complex green foliage when coming out of the tunnel, showing incredible depth, detail, and the many colors of trees and leaves viewed from a block away but still in great detail, certainly a breath taken shot.

Another great shot was of the cabin interior at the end of the clip, which captured the right atmosphere of the end of the day, the smoke from the cigar, and all the shades and crispness of the objects in that cabin.

Although not of constant 4K quality most scenes throughout the two Sony's F65 demo videos mentioned before: "The Arrival" (especially the beginning) and "El Dorado" the Cadillac ride at night and the depth and detail on the rocky scenery while driving), they were both good looking 4K clips.

I also preferred many scenes in the "Timescapes" nature 4K video, especially some transitions of light and darkness, although I prefer viewing nature at its real speed rather than cramping 24 hours of still shots moving fast in a few seconds of video, is a different art that others may like more.

At least half of the 4K content in the server did not honor what the format can do but a large part of the blame is for NOT selecting the right content if the purpose was displaying image quality, such as the dusty and colorless first part of the Skyfall trailer when Bond fights over the train and gets shot.

Conversely, the 1080p trailers of Men in Black III, Total Recall, and Resident Evil were much more appealing, detailed, and better contrasted in dark scenes than the dull appearance of some of the 4K trailers and clips.


The Total Recall 1080p night scenes at the beginning of the trailer were so good that made questionable the merits of recording other dull content in 4K for a 4K demo.

Final Thoughts

The 4K experience is analogous to when a hi-end audio/video system is subjected to reproduce substandard content, or using low quality wiring, unmatched components, speaker coloration or positioning, incorrect audio/video calibration, or a signal source that is not consistently recorded with the expected excellent quality of the format.

Small imperfections in an otherwise high quality set of components will be immediately noticed as "something is wrong or is missing" or "this is not right, the system is better than this" degrading the whole system and its justification for its higher cost.

In this case, even using the 4K F65 cameras, a minor drop of proper illumination, a bit out of focus, not the right depth, too fast pan, the wrong choice of scene or objects, etc. made those few seconds degrade an otherwise brilliant 4K clip, which no doubt can motivate negative comments of the kind of "4K is not worth, I do not see the difference, who needs so much resolution", add the price information to that and anyone can anticipate the reaction.

Additionally, this is also similar to when we started with HD in 1998 and had to rethink new approaches for make-ups, lighting, camera shots, etc. and perhaps even facelifts in a hurry due to the increased detail.


In summary, proper quality in 4K content and in the whole chain all the way up to the display device is required to notice a difference with 4K. When is done well it is too obvious to ignore it. So creating a good 4K camera or a stunning 4K display are just two items of the chain, many things in between can affect the outcome, such as using excessive compression on an otherwise excellent 4K content just to make it fit in the old jar.
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post #26 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 11:15 AM
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post #27 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

What I like is someone could actually tell a difference in the picture quality from a distance. Everything I've read up to this point was it was hard to tell a difference between 4k and 2k unless looking really close. Picture quality is more than resolution, so the panel may be showing improvements in other ways.

Even if the TV cost $10,000. I wouldn't buy it. The technology is too new to investment significant money in right now. I think the post about it costing $2500 in a couple of years is being way overoptimistic.

I think for $10,000, they'd sell a bunch of them, though. Not millions, but hundreds of thousands. That would help contribute to the 4K "ecosystem" in a material way, which this TV won't.

Sony is -- to their credit -- trying with their selection of models. Samsung, not so much. Sharp, maybe....

Anyway, good comments all around.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #28 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by breezy2012 View Post

Hmmm.

I could get this, or I could trade in my Honda Accord for an Audi A6.

What to do, what to do.....



(jk - I know people who buy this already have way more than an Audi A6)

Get the AUDI nothing that great on TV worth giving up an Audi for the Audi will still be running after the TV is broken anyway !biggrin.gif
P.S. Audi has way more chick magnet potential . Most women just wanna watch Oprah,Food Channel, Lifetime, Channel and DR Phil ,Bones and Say Yes To The Dress anyway
maybe an occasional movie. Both are deprecating assets and poor investments but TV's depreciate way faster than Audi's .
Don't get me wrong it's a nice TV but I'm just not 40G's in the pocket or even 10-15 G,s for a TV. especially when Dish only has 1080i

jk has a point there!

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post #29 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

"What I like is someone could actually tell a difference in the picture quality from a distance. Everything I've read up to this point was it was hard to tell a difference between 4k and 2k unless looking really close"

Yeah...EVERYTHING you and I have read. Now, no more. Go figure.

That's all changed now with this unit and this human. How can there be any doubt?

Clearly the Samsung/4k commercial above proves it.

James


Actually its one person's opinion versus dozens of other opinions saying the opposite.

Count me as one who has seen it up close and personal and its highly overrated unless your

very close and most know with this type and size of tv....who sits up close to these ?

Price point on 80 plus LCDs is still 6 k................you won't see these cheap for a very long time
esp if they force OLED into the picture....................on top of that NO CONTENT

Buy a car instead, I heard they actually have roads to drive it on........haha
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post #30 of 83 Old 03-24-2013, 04:42 PM
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I like the comment about artifacts. I'm thinking outloud here but I can't be the only one concerned about the filtering and motion flow required to really bring out the picture quality 4k possess. Any blur at all would be amplified by ... Well possibly 4x as much. The processor used would have to be brilliant and video card flawless.
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