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post #1 of 1679 Old 07-20-2014, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
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UHD/4K Quandary: To Buy or Not to Buy



Scott Wilkinson muses on whether or not native 4K content is necessary for 4K TVs and the wisdom of buying one now.

I'm on a lot of e-mail distribution lists; one of my faves is Insight Media's Display Central, which sends out a daily news item or blog about something in the display industry. Last week, one of those stories caught my eye—"4K TV Does NOT Require Native 4K Media" by Kenneth Werner. He argues that, because upscalers are so good these days, "experts can't see the difference [between native UHD/4K and the same content upscaled from 1080p] in side-by-side tests from distances of three feet or more. Even at nose-on-the-screen distance, the differences are subtle."

Based on some of the side-by-side demos I've seen, he could be right—at least, when it comes to high-quality upscalers. Ken cites Seiki's UHD/4K TVs as a counterexample—the upscaler in those sets has been universally panned, though they look quite good when fed native UHD/4K content. As a result, Seiki worked with Marseilles Networks to build its Technicolor 4K-Certified upscaling chip into the U-Vision HDMI cable that sells for around $40! Just connect your 1080p source (say, your AVR's HDMI output) to the TV with this cable, and voila—the TV is now receiving "native" UHD/4K. Seiki also introduced an upscaling Blu-ray player with the Marseilles chip for $99 at CE Week last month.

Another factor is that native UHD/4K content is not gushing out of the studios, in part because many of the elements other than pixel resolution have yet to be standardized; see my coverage of a recent SMPTE webinar that addressed this problem. Those elements are not likely to be settled upon for at least two years, so whatever native UHD/4K content becomes available in the meantime will have the same colorimetry and dynamic range as good ol' HD. Thus, it's no surprise that upscaled HD is very close to native UHD—everything about them is identical except the native pixel resolution, and upscaling by a precise factor of two in each dimension is relatively easy to do well (Seiki TVs notwithstanding).

Many people ask me if they should buy a UHD/4K TV now, and my answer is usually, "No, wait for the standards to be finalized and for TVs and content to implement those standards." That is still my advice if you buy a new TV infrequently—say, every 5-10 years. If you buy a UHD/4K TV now, it probably won't be able to display the higher dynamic range and wider color gamut in the content that's coming a couple of years from now—and in a side-by-side comparison between today's UHD/4K content and that future content on a compatible display, the differences will NOT be subtle, I can assure you.

On the other hand, if you buy a new TV every couple of years, getting a UHD/4K model now might make sense. They tend to be premium models with top-notch performance, so if you have the dough, you'll get the best picture quality available today, especially with a high-quality upscaler, either in the TV or external. Yes, these sets are more expensive than comparably sized HDTVs, but prices are dropping fast.

Then there's self-generated content. One of the earliest benefits touted about 4K TV is the fact that you can display digital photos at their native resolution—or at least closer to it than HDTVs can. And 4K camcorders are becoming more affordable every day, so all you budding filmmakers can see your work at full resolution. However, the dynamic-range and colorimetry issues remain.

So what do you think? Is Ken right that 4K TV does not need native 4K content? Is it unwise to get a UHD/4K TV now, or do the benefits outweigh the transitional nature of today's models?

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post #2 of 1679 Old 07-20-2014, 11:02 PM
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My view is there just isn't hardly any content to take advantage of 4K yet and by being an early buyer your gonna pay dearly for that. I recall when flat screens first came out and people were paying 20,000 yet a year later they were 3,500 and at that time Bluray was still a few years away.

I've read of people who can't tell the difference between 4k and 1080p at a distance of 8 feet or further away (standard seating distance). I've seen a couple 4k displays and yes they are quite spectacular but I'll wait till there is more 4k content and prices drop to the Everyman type budget.
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post #3 of 1679 Old 07-20-2014, 11:10 PM
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I'd rather they fix the dynamic-range and colorimetry issues and let 1080P be the best it can be first.
Its a nice big money grab at the moment.
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post #4 of 1679 Old 07-20-2014, 11:19 PM
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Why buy a new outdated tv?

I was hoping for a more evolved read. I think it would be ill advised to take a 1080p set knowing its just a matter of time for that resolution.
Any 1080p content usually looks better on a 4k set. Why buy a new outdated tv?
I think this also goes toe and toe with most 4k sets. Samsung has removed the brains making the line up upgradable at a fairly low cost and also leaves a much larger window for a set that complys with 4k standards.

The samsungs have spectacular 3d. Active 3d provides a bright, crisp 3d picture that is greater bluray when it comes to immersion.

No 1080p set makes 3d close to the same quality.

Netflix has already begun to release content.

The sets that support it really shine. The future won't be les and less 4k. It will be less and less 1080p content. Why not at least have a set that comes with a nice new viewing experience if it is available at an affordable price?

Those people who all ran out and bought 720 plasmas and eArly LCDs quickly had 1080 sets shortly after because of one thing resolution.

If we were talking anything else I would understand but resolution jumps are important and should be the first thing we consider now that 4k sets are available. Sorry but it's true. That will change once the saturation demands it. Oled vs LCD will be the new plasma vs LCD battle.

Plasma would still be alive if 1080p was all we had to worry about. You could buy a plasma today and know the tech was best.

What killed it? 4k. Because 4k plasmas was not realistic. If 1080p was still the standard plasma would still be alive.

All these things point to one thing.

Buy a 4k set.
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post #5 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
I'm on a lot of e-mail distribution lists; one of my faves is Insight Media's Display Central, which sends out a daily news item or blog about something in the display industry. Last week, one of those stories caught my eye—"4K TV Does NOT Require Native 4K Media" by Kenneth Werner. He argues that, because upscalers are so good these days, "experts can't see the difference [between native UHD/4K and the same content upscaled from 1080p] in side-by-side tests from distances of three feet or more. Even at nose-on-the-screen distance, the differences are subtle."
very simply trick you just need the worst resizer availably is the fastest and it does exactly provide this result.
it's called nearest neighbor or point. by resizing 1080p to 2160p with this resizer you get a perfect 1080p picture on a UHD screen. the panasonic AX800 can do this by the way. so i don't get his point here... i can't recommended it at all for movies but it doesn't really hurt.

this topic isn't easy rescaling adds errors in the source even with high quality resizer or even interpolation resizer. it simply doesn't look better is looks different compared to the creates intend that's it.

native 4k 60 FPS is free available http://bbb3d.renderfarming.net/download.html there are more open video projects like this native rendered in 4k.
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Last edited by mightyhuhn; 07-21-2014 at 12:02 AM. Reason: tried to fix the quote
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post #6 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 01:07 AM
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My view is the same as presented by Scott, until the standards are set in all areas, tv's and content are released that meet those standards there are better options for spending your money on. In terms of the 4k led's I have seen, all have fallen behind numerous 1080p plasmas in terms of pq, so why would I pay a premium for 4k currently? (note: I am extremely excited for what 4k hopefully will be able to deliver, I just don't think it is worth while yet).
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post #7 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 01:44 AM
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I'm waiting till 2017 before i buy any so called 4K TV. They should have the glitches and bugs worked out by then, so they will discontinue them and Amazon or Best Buy will have them cheap.
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post #8 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brwsaw View Post
I'd rather they fix the dynamic-range and colorimetry issues and let 1080P be the best it can be first. Its a nice big money grab at the moment.
Your message should be engraved on a gold plaque. It's incredible to me how we're in this endless race for maximum resolution, but they're forgetting all the other things that matter: colorimetry, color temperature, black level detail, freedom from motion artifacts, grey scale accuracy, and so on. For 2% the cost of adding 4K, they could just provide a reasonable Rec709 preset that actually produces something close to reality.

But instead, they throw in more bells and whistles, rather than giving viewers an accurate picture based on real industry standards. Sad.
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post #9 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post
My view is the same as presented by Scott, until the standards are set in all areas, tv's and content are released that meet those standards there are better options for spending your money on. In terms of the 4k led's I have seen, all have fallen behind numerous 1080p plasmas in terms of pq, so why would I pay a premium for 4k currently? (note: I am extremely excited for what 4k hopefully will be able to deliver, I just don't think it is worth while yet).
my thoughts exactly , I wonder how a 4K Sony and a Samsung F8500 Plasma
would compare, side by side, with the same content from a standard seating position?
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post #10 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 02:43 AM
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Set the standards and come out with sets that support them. Until then, I have no interest in 4K. For those who say why by an outdated new 1080p set, I say why buy a 4K set that will be outdated in a year or 2 when HDR, an increased color space and higher bit depths are available.
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post #11 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrorange303 View Post
I was hoping for a more evolved read. I think it would be ill advised to take a 1080p set knowing its just a matter of time for that resolution.
Any 1080p content usually looks better on a 4k set. Why buy a new outdated tv?
I think this also goes toe and toe with most 4k sets. Samsung has removed the brains making the line up upgradable at a fairly low cost and also leaves a much larger window for a set that complys with 4k standards.

The samsungs have spectacular 3d. Active 3d provides a bright, crisp 3d picture that is greater bluray when it comes to immersion.

No 1080p set makes 3d close to the same quality.

Netflix has already begun to release content.

The sets that support it really shine. The future won't be les and less 4k. It will be less and less 1080p content. Why not at least have a set that comes with a nice new viewing experience if it is available at an affordable price?

Those people who all ran out and bought 720 plasmas and eArly LCDs quickly had 1080 sets shortly after because of one thing resolution.

If we were talking anything else I would understand but resolution jumps are important and should be the first thing we consider now that 4k sets are available. Sorry but it's true. That will change once the saturation demands it. Oled vs LCD will be the new plasma vs LCD battle.

Plasma would still be alive if 1080p was all we had to worry about. You could buy a plasma today and know the tech was best.

What killed it? 4k. Because 4k plasmas was not realistic. If 1080p was still the standard plasma would still be alive.

All these things point to one thing.

Buy a 4k set.
I think it's ill advised to buy a 4k set right now as the standard is still evolving. Changes in the hdmi standard, video codecs, and the addition of expanded color space, higher frame rates and perhaps even support for a higher dynamic range are all things the UHDTV standard has proposed. As of right now all you're getting is a more pixels.

I'd be sick if I payed the substantial premium for a 4k set today only to find out that it won't be able to take full advantage of the evolving UHDTV standard tomorrow. So in short...

Buy a 1080p set.
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post #12 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 04:15 AM
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I am setting up a projection theater now, and I am preparing for the NEXT iteration of it to be 4K. My 125" screen should reveal the additional details, but I am not going to spend the big premium for today's true 4K projectors.

I will say that I've casually reviewed Sharp's 1080p 90inch Quatron at a BB Magnolia, and I was disappointed in the pixel density - I felt I could see the 'dots' on the screen. I did not see the same thing on their 80inch model. So I can say from my short experience, that I would not be inclined to pay a significant premium for television 4K except in the 80-90inch range. However, a 30inch 4K computer monitor would be right at home on my desktop. I can say that my next monitor WILL be >1080p. It offers more, useful, real estate.

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post #13 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
Your message should be engraved on a gold plaque. It's incredible to me how we're in this endless race for maximum resolution, but they're forgetting all the other things that matter: colorimetry, color temperature, black level detail, freedom from motion artifacts, grey scale accuracy, and so on. For 2% the cost of adding 4K, they could just provide a reasonable Rec709 preset that actually produces something close to reality.

But instead, they throw in more bells and whistles, rather than giving viewers an accurate picture based on real industry standards. Sad.
Are you saying that basing my choice of digital camera on MOAR megapixels was ill advised?!??


Is the issue of standards and upscaling something that can be changed via firmware updates? I'd consider buying a set that had an option to either use the (high quality) upscaler or display the unprocessed pixels because I have to think that any purported 4K media device worth its salt will appropriately process the image. I'm guessing the main use of upscaling in the more immediate future will be OTA digital and set-top boxes which won't be graduating from 720p and 1080i any time soon.
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post #14 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 04:43 AM
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Reminds me of the Megapixel wars for digital camera's about 10 years ago...got to a point where people started to realize that more megapixels don't always means a better picture....My Canon G2 at 4MP still blows away my 16MP point and shooter in terms of quality.

The reoccurring theme I keep hearing is that 4K is good for large screens only (60"+) but less than that and you see little difference. Like someone else mention, I'd rather see TV manufacturers focus on getting the most from 1080 sets since the majority of use don't have the room size, need, and/or luxury of getting a 60"+ size screen.
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post #15 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 04:43 AM
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my thoughts exactly , I wonder how a 4K Sony and a Samsung F8500 Plasma
would compare, side by side, with the same content from a standard seating position?
I own both a sony 4k (900a) and the samsung f8500. The sony looks better with bluerays. The colors have a little more pop to them. The samsung obviously looks much better with sports and has "slightly" better blacks. All in all it is very close to a wash IMO. Considering the 64" f8500 cost more than the 65" 900a sells for, I would get the sony.

If you need a TV now, it only makes sense to buy a 4k set or a really good plasma (f8500). Why buy an LED TV (non-4k) when the 4ks have dropped so much in price. the 65" 900a is around $2800. A very similar non-4k tv would cost north of $2,000.

why choose the former over the latter?
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-65-...950b&cp=1&lp=2

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-65-...900a&cp=1&lp=1

If someone is looking for a larger tv as a "filler" until 4k is standardized, get a vizio and save money.
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post #16 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:04 AM
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Unfortunately, a very large percentage have not seen HDR and a wider color gamut as Scott has. If we had NO one would buy a 4k set today. I bought a new 4k set because I needed another tv. The cost was not much higher than a 1080p.
No buyers remorse at all. I hope in a few years (if standards ever get settled) I'll buy again and hope like hell it makes my current 4ktv look like s#%t.
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post #17 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
I own both a sony 4k (900a) and the samsung f8500. The sony looks better with bluerays. The colors have a little more pop to them. The samsung obviously looks much better with sports and has "slightly" better blacks. All in all it is very close to a wash IMO. Considering the 64" f8500 cost more than the 65" 900a sells for, I would get the sony.

If you need a TV now, it only makes sense to buy a 4k set or a really good plasma (f8500). Why buy an LED TV (non-4k) when the 4ks have dropped so much in price. the 65" 900a is around $2800. A very similar non-4k tv would cost north of $2,000.

why choose the former over the latter?
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-65-...950b&cp=1&lp=2

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-65-...900a&cp=1&lp=1

If someone is looking for a larger tv as a "filler" until 4k is standardized, get a vizio and save money.
Are your TVs both calibrated? Does the Sony always look more saturated than the F8500, even in a dark room? Either way, color "pop" is not 4K related, at least not as far as current standards go.

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post #18 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:29 AM
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Are your TVs both calibrated? Does the Sony always look more saturated than the F8500, even in a dark room? Either way, color "pop" is not 4K related, at least not as far as current standards go.
neither set is professionally calibration, just used settings from these forums. In a totally dark room I actually like the sony better. I have run pacific rim side by side on both, and there are certain colors the sony handles better (red/orange), which that movie has a lot of.

The actual 4k content looks better (which it should), but nothing mind blowing. I guess what I am getting at is that if you can get a great performing 4k set for the same price or cheaper, why not? Even if the standard changes, at least you will be able to view it.

I don't know if many will find the steal you did on the f8500.
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post #19 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:31 AM
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neither set is professionally calibration, just used settings from these forums. In a totally dark room I actually like the sony better. I have run pacific rim side by side on both, and there are certain colors the sony handles better (red/orange), which that movie has a lot of.

The actual 4k content looks better (which it should), but nothing mind blowing. I guess what I am getting at is that if you can get a great performing 4k set for the same price or cheaper, why not? Even if the standard changes, at least you will be able to view it.
I only bring that up because the F8500 should be a perfect match to the Sony in terms of color, if both sets were calibrated. Just sayin'.

I've been messing around with a UHD/4K TV for the past few weeks. Generally speaking, it's hard to find content, and harder still to see the benefit of that content. I found video games are great at 2560x1440 resolution, but overtaxed my video card at 2160p.

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Set the standards and come out with sets that support them. Until then, I have no interest in 4K. For those who say why by an outdated new 1080p set, I say why buy a 4K set that will be outdated in a year or 2 when HDR, an increased color space and higher bit depths are available.
I own a hu9000. You may need to read up on that.
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post #21 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:42 AM
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Your message should be engraved on a gold plaque. It's incredible to me how we're in this endless race for maximum resolution, but they're forgetting all the other things that matter: colorimetry, color temperature, black level detail, freedom from motion artifacts, grey scale accuracy, and so on. For 2% the cost of adding 4K, they could just provide a reasonable Rec709 preset that actually produces something close to reality.

But instead, they throw in more bells and whistles, rather than giving viewers an accurate picture based on real industry standards. Sad.
Have to agree with this. A good picture quality is defined by so many factors, resolution being only one of them, and not even that important at this stage (not "unimportant" I know, but to perceive differences at viewing distances above 8ft or so becomes almost impossible - while you can upgrade a TV and throw as much resolution on it as you want (hypothetically speaking), you simply can't upgrade human eyes, which can only perceive so much detail...). So if I was to make a purchase decision today, I'd look at black level, color accuracy, motion handling, availability of good calibration features (grayscale and CMS), and resolution would probably be an afterthought at this moment. Maybe this will change at some point when the standards and the entire industry has switched to 4K (which is when 1080p will practically not even be available anymore), but at this point all the other picture quality defining aspects outweigh the 4K resolution alone... I know that I am enjoying a better picture on my 1080p Panny VT50 than I would on the latest Sony 4K for example, which doesn't even offer calibration features. Anyway, just my 2-cents worth...
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post #22 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:44 AM
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I own a hu9000. You may need to read up on that.
I presume you are talking about Smart Evolution and the One Connect Box. It does appear that Samsung took measures to assure forward compatibility with new standards.

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post #23 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Z-Mad View Post
Have to agree with this. A good picture quality is defined by so many factors, resolution being only one of them, and not even that important at this stage (not "unimportant" I know, but to perceive differences at viewing distances above 8ft or so becomes almost impossible - while you can upgrade a TV and throw as much resolution on it as you want (hypothetically speaking), you simply can't upgrade human eyes, which can only perceive so much detail...). So if I was to make a purchase decision today, I'd look at black level, color accuracy, motion handling, availability of good calibration features (grayscale and CMS), and resolution would probably be an afterthought at this moment. Maybe this will change at some point when the standards and the entire industry has switched to 4K (which is when 1080p will practically not even be available anymore), but at this point all the other picture quality defining aspects outweigh the 4K resolution alone... I know that I am enjoying a better picture on my 1080p Panny VT50 than I would on the latest Sony 4K for example, which doesn't even offer calibration features. Anyway, just my 2-cents worth...
How do you know its a better expirience? I get you have a great plasma. But if like younyou all say it was so good then why did it die?

Everything is better in 4k. Everything.

I have never liked plasma televisions. Living in Colorado we have a short life span with plasmas here. Low oxygen doesnt help the tech.

My last example is the never perfected 720p sets. Why did you buy a 1080p set?
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post #24 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:49 AM
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I presume you are talking about Smart Evolution and the One Connect Box. It does appear that Samsung took measures to assure forward compatibility with new standards.
HDR will take a 10 bit panel to implement. Nothing a Smart Evolution box can do to help with that.
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post #25 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:50 AM
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I only bring that up because the F8500 should be a perfect match to the Sony in terms of color, if both sets were calibrated. Just sayin'.

I've been messing around with a UHD/4K TV for the past few weeks. Generally speaking, it's hard to find content, and harder still to see the benefit of that content. I found video games are great at 2560x1440 resolution, but overtaxed my video card at 2160p.
It is very hard to find good 4k content. I have a smaller f8500 and wanted a larger set. I bought the sony since it was slightly cheaper and the picture looked almost identical.

If I had a 64" f8500 I would not upgrade just to have 4k.
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post #26 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:51 AM
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I presume you are talking about Smart Evolution and the One Connect Box. It does appear that Samsung took measures to assure forward compatibility with new standards.
And again I ask why dont all these people own perfect 720p sets with perfect 720p HDR lighting, and such? Because 1080p came out. If there was a 4k plasma would this be a debate at all?
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HDR will take a 10 bit panel to implement. Nothing a Smart Evolution box can do to help with that.
Is the set compatible or not? Will I be able to view the material or not? Even if 10 bit panels hit how much 10 bit source material do you have ?

Seems to me that those 4k standards are the ones in 5 to 10 years that will be updated.

Also please explain how greater color graduation to produce better transition in color detail is going to stop a 4k resolution tv from being a 4k resolution tv?

Either way your buying a tv. The 4k set has all the stuff your best 1080p set has plus more. Why buy the 1080p set knowing it also doesnt support 10bit color or if it does nothing is being fed to it in 10 bit anyway.
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post #28 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 05:58 AM
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How do you know its a better expirience? I get you have a great plasma. But if like younyou all say it was so good then why did it die?

Everything is better in 4k. Everything.

I have never liked plasma televisions. Living in Colorado we have a short life span with plasmas here. Low oxygen doesnt help the tech.

My last example is the never perfected 720p sets. Why did you buy a 1080p set?
Plasmas became unprofitable due to a number of factors, but the main things that held the technology back are the cost of going big, the inability to make the leap to UHD/4K resolution at smaller sizes, the added shipping costs, and energy efficiency standards.

That said, plasma's still take the cake for dark room viewing of cinematic content. The total package of rich colors, wide viewing angles, deep blacks, and high motion resolution make it my choice for home theater-style viewing. For daytime use, LCD is great, and if it doesn't come at too much of a premium then it's nice to have UHD/4K as part of the package.

As for everything being better in 4K, that really does depend on your seating distance and screen size. But I do agree, as long as there is no performance penalty to 4K (as there is with video games) and you view from an optimal distance, then UHD/4K does look better than 1080p.
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Is the set compatible or not? Will I be able to view the material or not? Even if 10 bit panels hit how much 10 bit source material do you have ?

Seems to me that those 4k standards are the ones in 5 to 10 years that will be updated.

Also please explain how greater color graduation to produce better transition in color detail is going to stop a 4k resolution tv from being a 4k resolution tv?

Either way your buying a tv. The 4k set has all the stuff your best 1080p set has plus more. Why buy the 1080p set knowing it also doesnt support 10bit color or if it does nothing is being fed to it in 10 bit anyway.
There seems to be a big disconnect from people talking about upgrading to get 4k vs people upgrading b.c they need a new TV.

If you need a new TV is makes sense to buy 4k. If you have a great 1080p, you should wait for a more finalized standard.
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post #30 of 1679 Old 07-21-2014, 06:01 AM
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And again I ask why dont all these people own perfect 720p sets with perfect 720p HDR lighting, and such? Because 1080p came out. If there was a 4k plasma would this be a debate at all?
No it would not be a debate. And, when UHD OLEDs hit the market (price notwithstanding) it will address the one glaring issue (in a home theater context) with UHD/4K TVs today—they are based on LED-lit LCD technology that has yet to mature to the point where it performs as well—in many ways, not all—as OLED or plasma.
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