You are taste & luxury. You have money to burn. Your awesomeness ...
November 19, 2013 2:40 AM   Subscribe

... has no limits, and your awesomeness will not be limited by your TV. Not anymore. Not today. Not with your new 4K UHDTV (or 4k TV. Or Ultra High Def TV). Get it for your yacht. Enjoy being on top with a TV so expensive, Sears' POS system didn't have enough commas for the price. You earned it, so soak it in. Except your 4k $39999 UHDTV yacht TV, will have to come over to my house and watch my 8K Super UHDTV, which will be known as Super Hi-Vision. Super Hi-Vision. Also available in 'Full Dome' Super Hi Vision. You heard me. So f*ck your $40k 4k Ultra High Def TV, because in 2016 I'm getting the 8K Super Hi-Vision Full Dome moth3rf*cker. Things just got real.
posted by jdaura (82 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Samsung Smart-TVs went from 40 mm deep to 30 mm deep the day after we bought ours. It wouldn't have done wonders for the available space in our living room to get back the extra 10 mm, but on the other hand a full dome will seriously cramp our ability to have people over and do anything else than watch TV. Full dome projection is for the people who turn their garages into home theatres.
posted by Harald74 at 3:06 AM on November 19, 2013


I always thought a good way to combat piracy was to film in such a high resolution that the videos couldn't be shared without an immense drop in visual quality due to bandwidth/disk space limits. Of course most people probably don't care that much.

Then again, almost all programming is in 720p, so I doubt people are using these tvs to watch cable.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:08 AM on November 19, 2013


Then again, almost all programming is in 720p, so I doubt people are using these tvs to watch cable.

That's actually the only use for them. Don't we see 1080p HD usually setup wrong, with an analog channel improperly scaled, rather then the appropriate settings?

In another few years, I'm going to go with "I was into 480i before it was cool."
posted by mikelieman at 3:15 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, whatever makes you forget about the soul-crushing deadness inside you.
posted by JHarris at 3:23 AM on November 19, 2013 [56 favorites]


as i began reading this post, this track was playing on my headphones. it was quite fitting.

i immediately imagined this post being read in a really smarmy, tv announcer max headroom kind of voice.

it was 1000 times better.
posted by emptythought at 3:24 AM on November 19, 2013


I hate watching TV in my glasses. One of the consequences of not wearing glasses to watch TV is that I can't tell standard definition from any of the high-def formats. It's saving me all sorts of money.
posted by pipeski at 3:30 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was hoping it would be this track: http://youtu.be/glFVXpz_abQ
posted by maus at 3:30 AM on November 19, 2013


4k is "about like" a 35mm frame, most filmmaking shoots and edits on 2k. Probably the first real use of 16k will be for effects shots. The storage and bandwidth to actually use 16k would be insane, the demos are in the minutes. We are hitting thresholds of tech where it will just not make any sense to increase bits, no one without a specialized instrument will be able to tell the difference.

And Jobs old boat barely qualifies as a super yacht, at 260 ft it'd be a tender for some of the russian billionaires 400+ superyachts.
posted by sammyo at 3:37 AM on November 19, 2013


General 8K broadcasting is starting in Japan in 2016, with full implantation expected by 2020.

How....how does this work?
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:39 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


>no one without a specialized instrument will be able to tell the difference.

Quite
posted by kcds at 3:40 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I quit caring about TV size/def a while back. I'll just as happily watch a movie or show on my 13" macbook as on my 50" plasma. Movies look good enough on either, and I could give a fuck about sports, etc.
posted by signal at 3:59 AM on November 19, 2013


Sounds similar to what audiophiles put themselves through.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:01 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The idea that movies look good enough on a 13" macbook boggles my mind! It's like how a lot of old people can't tell the difference between an HD channel and a regular channel.

Quite

Eh, his premise is wrong. Lots of people would happily sit close enough to a 4K TV to make it worthwhile.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


signal, the thing about big TVs is less about quality and more about gathering people around. I think. Also status.
posted by lbebber at 4:02 AM on November 19, 2013


Oculus says that they are going to have 4K screens in the rift probably in the second consumer version.
posted by empath at 4:14 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


We are hitting thresholds of tech where it will just not make any sense to increase bits, no one without a specialized instrument will be able to tell the difference.

Eh, my disagreement here is twofold.

First of all, i've always taken issue with the old chestnut of "you can't tell the difference between 720 and 1080p on a TV under XYZ size. With identical quality source material i consistently can, as can many of the other people i've talked to. I've tested this in all kinds of ways from playing back high bitrate video at various resolutions to just running games at different resolutions. Every time i bring this up the response is along the lines of "Ok audiophile dude, go buy some more $10,000 speaker cables". I always really just wanna say have you actually tried it? or did you just read that online a few times and accept it as fact.

Second, i think increasing bits is exactly what we need to do. I'd be totally happy if we hit a wall at 4k and didn't go up from there for another 10 years or more. What we need to do is start ramming more bits in to peoples displays.

And seeing as how netflix/hulu/itunes type services are blasting the shit out of everything right now the #1 priority biggest thing we need is better internet connections to more people. hell, talk to anyone under 25. people don't even pirate content to a local drive anymore. they just hit one of the many streams-r-us emporiums and go stream the latest episode of the walking dead or whatever.

The biggest freaking problem with the quality of video content on home displays isn't resolution, that's been fine for a while. It's the bitrate and the shitty ass early 2000s encoding formats. Most streams, and broadcast HDTV of the non over the air variety(and even that) are encoded at such a low quality and that they would be thrown the fuck off of most torrent sites. Even the absolute worst 700mb 720p encode(or 1.2gb 1080p encode) of a 2hr movie will blast the crap out of anything you'll stream or see over the air. And yet, the actual bitrate and size of the info transferred is generally even larger.

So what we need here is twofold. First, good internet connections to pretty much everyones houses by default. i'm talking a minimum of 50mb. Second, stuff needs to start being streamed in more modern formats. This is going to kick off a lot of older hardware that has acceleration for crappy stuff, but fuck it. Bundle the ability to decode and stream this stuff straight into the new TVs.

Really though, i'd much rather watch a really high bitrate(like 20mbps+) well encoded stream of 720p than 4k at anything at all like what it's going to look like from most of the streaming services or any TV provider.

The only company i've heard of giving a shit about this is netflix with their super hd and newer revisions of that offering. It takes a lot of bandwidth on the end of whoever is providing it, which is why i hope to see it blasted out by FIOS type providers and comcast and such inside their sort of intranets between their offices and your house.

As a closing note on 4k in general, i just got a retina macbook pro. at 2880x1800 it's not actually 4k, but it's a big enough step up from 1080p(2mp>5mp) that it's a remarkable difference in quality if you play back 4k video on it. Even if it's horribly compressed youtube 4k.

I can step back pretty far away from the comparatively little 15in screen and still easily tell the difference, even if it's just in background details like blades of tall grass or animal fur. (for reference i was checking this with this video and others in that playlist). So yea, it's a tough sell on me with the whole "you actually can't tell the difference it's all in your head because math" argument. I'd also want to have a 4k tv simply as a computer display. i would rather have that TV and some manner of desktop than any other computer or device i own. I could use it for everything. It would be a combination giant display for video, multiple displays worth of space for multitasking, and anything else you could think of. It's like having a multi monitor setup you can merge in to one cohesive monitor whenever you feel like it. The MacBooks screens ability to emulate very high resolutions or even force the native resolution has spoiled me and made me really want this.
posted by emptythought at 4:14 AM on November 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sounds similar to what audiophiles put themselves through.

For VR, resolution is HUGE. you're going to see a big rush to up the refresh rate and resolution on small screens. I don't know if people will bother scaling it up once they get VR perfected though. I don't think a big screen can match a 360 degree, perfectly-3d panorama.
posted by empath at 4:15 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This post was so hard to read that I stopped using the internet.
posted by unliteral at 4:16 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I went outside and looked at a mother magpie teaching its young one how to find worms today.

Man, my back yard's resolution is awesome. Even with my glasses on.
posted by flabdablet at 4:23 AM on November 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Time to throw out those worthless Blu-rays and repurchase your entire movie collection again as SuperDiscs!
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:24 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I used to think I couldn't really tell the difference, especially when comparing performance inside a specific game. Planetside's visual performance was recently optimized. Putting it on a large, HD (or whatever you call them) monitor only brought out more minor details, like holy shit I can see everything was this really the game I've been playing all along (rivets, scratch marks, hex-cells on the armor of the super spandex science squad, explosion details instead of a WHOOSH YELLOW BALL, etc etc).
posted by Slackermagee at 4:33 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I sure hope we get the holodecks up and functioning before the world outside turns into a blasted hellscape.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:37 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


signal, the thing about big TVs is less about quality and more about gathering people around. I think. Also status.
posted by lbebber


Must be a cultural thing. In my social group, having a TV in a public area of your house is not really done, much less bragging about it.
posted by signal at 4:45 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES A NEW EVEN SHARPER TV TIME FOR EVERYONE TO REBUY THEIR WHOLE MOVIE COLLECTION YET AGAIN AGAIN
posted by JHarris at 4:47 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most streams, and broadcast HDTV of the non over the air variety(and even that) are encoded at such a low quality and that they would be thrown the fuck off of most torrent sites. Even the absolute worst 700mb 720p encode(or 1.2gb 1080p encode) of a 2hr movie will blast the crap out of anything you'll stream or see over the air. And yet, the actual bitrate and size of the info transferred is generally even larger.
A Bloodzeed stream looks better than Sky Go for the same broadcast.

Or so I've heard.
posted by fullerine at 4:49 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


You got your works in a drawer and your color's on track
You have to break away but you always come back
You make a hundred changes but you're always the same
You make me so excited and you make me so lame
You're just a tube full of gas and a box full of tin
But you show me your charms and I want to jump in
Oh if only your chassis was covered with skin
'Cause TV you're my everything

I really love my television
I love to sit by television
Can't live without my television
I can't turn off my television
Don't really know why television
I understand my television
I really love my television

TV is king
You're my everything
TV is king
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:56 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]



Hey, whatever makes you forget about the soul-crushing deadness inside you.


I can see a shimmering reflection of warm fulvous light shining off the tips of the tiny soul-hairs which cast their shadow; a shadow remarkably deep, showing a dark glistening emptiness in my deadness. I'm not sure you'd be able to see that level of detail on your TV.
posted by lalochezia at 5:26 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


precisely lalochezia. You feel me, 4K UHDTV is a joke. You wanna see that dark soul crushing stuff? You gotta go 8k.

But don't worry, you can come over and watch my 8k Full Dome Super Hi-Vision UHDTV, and you can see that soul crushing detail like it's in the room.
posted by jdaura at 5:34 AM on November 19, 2013


Yeah, "Chuck" is going to look so much better in some power of 2 larger resolution.

TV tech is so sad. All this talk about something most of us do alone, and usually with minimal pleasure.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:41 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So yea, it's a tough sell on me with the whole "you actually can't tell the difference it's all in your head because math" argument

I don't think it's a "can't actually tell the difference" argument so much as a "don't care about the difference" argument. I bought a 32" TV three years ago. Unfortunately, I've discovered that I barely turn it on. And it's not that I don't watch TV. It's that the iPad is the TV.
posted by escabeche at 5:42 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't the biggest problem with modern TVs (and film) the frame rate, and not the resolution?
posted by pipeski at 5:44 AM on November 19, 2013


a Wes Andersonian building cutout

Those who forget film history are doomed to repeat it.
posted by gimonca at 5:47 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


4k? 8k? Fucking Heretics, is what you are. You will all burn in the glory of the Emporer's like which will only be fully revealed in the blistering, purifying light that shall be the glorious sun of the 40k. For all your grim dark television watching needs.

Prohibited where the void is. Optional purity seals not really optional. By reading the fine print, your suspicious mind has alerted your local psyker of your innate, inherent propensity to becoming tainted by chaos. Remain where you are, an Inquisitor shall be with you shortly.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:59 AM on November 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


clvrmnky ; Eh, so many screens do that now. At least I sit 6 or 7 feet away from my tv when I watch the local news or something. It's my computer and phone screens that p0wn me.

these glowing rectangles everywhere are opiates for the masses, everybody nice and calm ... 'Ultra High' not high enough? Let's get you on some 'Super-Hi'. ohhhhhhhh coooooool look at that it's a new show where people are competitively singing, or cooking, sweeeeeet.

most of us have seen the cycle. it's awhile away, widespread propagation of these screens + devices + a tipping point of content that drives the market to the new tech as the old one phases out. It will come around, but it's a few years before those TVs are competitively priced, it will take a while to encode film. Wait, can you even turn film into UHDefSUPERHIGH HEVC? or whatever? Or do you need the 8 CCD time shifting magic camera that they just made light enough to be portable this year?

the tech is there but it's not even battle tested, let alone battle hardened.
posted by jdaura at 6:00 AM on November 19, 2013


Ghidorah: The irony being that 40K's 40K televisions are from Dark Age of Technology and nobody has the relevant part of the STC anymore. Well there are rumors about the Tech Priests of Mars having a few they use to watch engineering porn (which is a far more literal thing for them) but mostly they're back to using cathode ray tubes held aloft by servo skulls.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:16 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Surprised that no one mentioned the main consequence of this move to UltraHD.... the death of the movie theater.

I can't tell you how many times recently I've decided against seeing a movie in the theater, because I can get what is essentially the same audio/visual experience at home for a fraction of the cost, without having fuckwads all around me playing on their cellphones.
posted by sutt at 6:17 AM on November 19, 2013


Homer - Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

There are *some* issues that humanity could do with grappling with before 4k vs. 8k visual entertainment gets to the top the list. Having said that, quality is not a gimmick. Good quality stereo sound is almost always superior to any home surround sound set up. High fidelity wins over any number of low fidelity devices.
posted by asok at 6:19 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Must be a cultural thing. In my social group, having a TV in a public area of your house is not really done, much less bragging about it.

This is just a variation on a new trend. We're moving away from "I don't own a TV" to "I have a TV, but only use it for Netflix"...
posted by sutt at 6:20 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As somebody with poor eyesight, I find the whole thing kind of ridiculous. I'm still not entirely sure I can tell the difference between standard def broadcast TV and HD, at least on my 38" TV. 4K seems ridiculous to me. 8k sounds like a joke.

My desktop, which I use many hours a day, has a pair of 21" LCDs at 1680x1050. Considerably lower pixel density than the average smartphone or tablet now. But I have not yet once thought "if only I had more pixels!"
posted by Foosnark at 6:21 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Until I can have an actual legitimate full-size IMAX theatre in my house I will continue to not buy a new teevee every time this shit happens.
posted by elizardbits at 6:24 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oculus says that they are going to have 4K screens in the rift probably in the second consumer version.

Wait, really? They seem to be having enough trouble just getting a 1080p screen in the first version.
posted by kmz at 6:27 AM on November 19, 2013


Because they were a tiny start up with no money to buy displays at volume. When you're buying a few hundred for development kits, you buy whatever you can get on sale. That calculation changes when you can order 500k or a million. And they'll be piggy backing off of whatever apple and samsung do with phone displays.
posted by empath at 6:45 AM on November 19, 2013


Hahaha 4k compressed data rates aren't going to nuke people's bandwidth but dealing with 4k RAW datarates and filesizes is brutal I can't even imagine how much data the 8k and 16k RAW is going to take. Talk about needing multi petabyte arrays just to work on an 2 hour movie.
posted by vuron at 6:53 AM on November 19, 2013


"The greatest minds of my generation..." etc. How about all these smart people figure out a way for me to be able to watch any content I want anywhere at any time? I don't want to have to subscribe to Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, and Whateverthefuckvision just so that one of these services might have the film or TV show I want to watch. I would pay for simplicity and infinite choice. Instead, people are struggling to show me ever sharper images of my local newscaster's acne.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:54 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've got a 50" plasma and Blu-Ray player, and they were pretty impressive things at the time, ~5 years ago. I keep a pretty close eye on the industry, and have set the following conditions for buying a new one -

- 4k resolution
- glasses-free 3D
- At least one streaming service that offers full blu-ray color depth
- Plasma-like viewing angle and daytime viewability, LED-like power consumption
- Wireless HDMI

4k is here, 8k is around the corner - so wait for 8k. After 8k the challenge becomes softening the details enough so you're not shrieking in horror during close-ups of your favorite performer. Skin, hair and teeth are yucky under a magnifying glass. I don't see 16k taking off outside of specialized big-screen movie theater or outdoor advertising applications.

Glasses-free is close - Toshiba is sitting on the patents, hoping for a monopoly, without having the manufacturing or marketing chops to pull it off, and a few other companies are working on different tech with fewer limitations in viewing angle. After everyone has a 4K, glasses-free will be the next must-have tick-box to check on the spec sheet, just before 8K hits, forcing yet another upgrade. So wait for 8K.

Wireless HDMI is almost here, too... it's working OK with 1080p, and will improve dramatically once Apple realizes you won't need to ruin their Apple TV or Mac Mini designs with gauche cables when they adopt the standard and push it to handle increased resolutions and frame rates. So wait for 8K

Curved screens are to cure the viewing angle problem, and make the experience more immersive. Like an IMax screen for your livingroom. It's more successful at the latter than the former, and is a pain to wall-mount. Some of the new glasses-free 3D tech will improve viewing angles for non-3D dramatically. So wait for 8K.

Colors suck on Netflix, Amazon and VuDu. Just, horrible, pixelated, banded bullshit. It looks like a .gif from the early '90s at times, especially in dark scenes or high contrast scenes. The first service to step up and fix this, even if it means stepping down to 720p, gets ALL MY MONIES RITE NAOW. I will probably be made to wait until 8K.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:56 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I look at the picture quality on the OTA digital feed going into the 720p 32" set in my bedroom, and am just amazed compared to a CRT set of just a few years ago.

I have a 40" LCD in the living room (the "big tv"), and I also have a 42" EDTV (DVD resolution) plasma that I've been trying to give away for years, because the issues it has are very minor and surely fixable (I've even got the service manual).

When will people stop obsessing over pixel count and start to enjoy the content? Movies, music, whatever. I might want to go up to 46" or even maybe 50" in screen size eventually, but don't see a need or reason to go above 1080p. Eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns vs. quality of eyesight and so forth.
posted by mrbill at 7:03 AM on November 19, 2013


Pixel count can help enjoy the content. Lawrence of Arabia in good old 720x480 NTSC SD is a good movie. Lawrence of Arabia in 4k is an AMAZING movie. It's gonna do nothing for the latest Will Farrell piece of crap but for films where cinematography matters it's going to be great. And yeah, sports if you like that sort of thing (I do).

Besides, we were above 1080p for like 100 years, for as long as 35mm film (and maybe even 16mm film) existed and was in popular use. 4k is just getting us back to where we were in the 1920's, but y'know, in your living room.

Just glad I didn't waste any money on BluRays....
posted by davros42 at 7:16 AM on November 19, 2013


Just, horrible, pixelated, banded bullshit. It looks like a .gif from the early '90s

This! What ever happened to fractal compression?
posted by sammyo at 7:17 AM on November 19, 2013


The 4K bandwagon first started rolling with gusto during this year's CES show in January. Nearing the end of the year, 4K monitors have begun cropping up. Pricing for this nascent technology remains expensive, at around £2,500 a pop, and the consensus is that we're at least 12 months away, possibly 18, before such monitors become what we call affordable.

So is it sensible to pair a 4K monitor to the very best single-GPU cards that money can buy? Our examination shows that super-smooth framerates and high/ultra-quality image settings simply don't mix well.

The pixel demands of 4K are too much for these cards to contend with. We'd hazard that you'd need to scale either card up by at least 50 per cent, perhaps more, for them to be powerful enough to cope with the graphically noisome combination of IQ and pixel-load. It's very unlikely that we'll see such an architecture available any time soon - we could be at least a year off - so those looking to invest in a 4K-capable rig will need to go down the multi-GPU path... and all the potential performance pitfalls - frame pacing, etc. - that accompany such a setup.

But hey, let's be pragmatic, if you're well-heeled enough to afford or justify a £2,500 4K monitor, dropping less cash on two Titans or substantially less for a pair of R9 290Xs shouldn't be too much of a financial problem.

If we were building a powerful PC today with the express aim of playing games, we'd go for the Radeon R9 290X and accompany it with a 27in, 2,560x1,440-resolution monitor that's commonly available for the same price as the card. Heck, you could probably squeeze both in for the price of a Titan.
Needing four Titans (or, presumably, four $550 R290X cards) to run Sleeping Dogs at 60FPSx4K sounds rather unrealistic.
posted by ersatz at 7:24 AM on November 19, 2013


How about all these smart people figure out a way for me to be able to watch any content I want anywhere at any time?

That is not a technical issue. You could get the greatest technical minds in the world to solve this problem in 15 minutes. Getting the people who own the content to allow it to happen, though, there's the rub.
posted by hwyengr at 7:38 AM on November 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Man, Agents of Shield is going to look even cheaper in 4K. Impressive.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"the Samsung S9 Ultra HDTV provides a new form of fulfillment and pride in watching television."

You've got to be kidding...
posted by cosmac at 8:16 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


4K and 8K are basically a naked cash grab. Can't let prices drop now that every big-screen TV has hit "Full HD" - gotta keep the upgrade treadmill running! Never mind that 70-80% of customers wouldn't notice a difference from 720p, and 99.9% will never see an improvement over 1080p. Nobody'd be making $3000 TVs then, and after that? Fall of Western civilization.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is this something I would need to own a tv to understand? Or does my home imax dome count?
posted by jewzilla at 8:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


a Wes Andersonian building cutout

Those who forget film history are doomed to repeat it.


Jacques Tati would say, oui.
posted by DonnyMac at 8:29 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]




There's actually an amazing product that has glasses-free 3d, and still the highest resolution of anything in the market:

The shit that happens around tv screens, monitors, and tablets. Real Life®
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:58 AM on November 19, 2013


My 2006 Dell laptop has a 1920x1200 screen. Perfect for 2 pages of text, great for 1080 movies with two tiny black bars. Shame you can't get those any more.

Still, even with the relative bloat of Ubuntu 12.10, it chugs along reasonably well for my purposes, until I fire up Gimp or Inkscape and weep.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:01 AM on November 19, 2013


The neglected component in all this talk is couch quality.
posted by srboisvert at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm so grateful that several people wise to the simple but profound beauty of Real Life have lowered themselves to wallowing in front of a glowing rectangle with the rest of us entertainment addicts in order to share the good news.

It's easy to forget how much of our lives we waste engaging with the ideas of other humans as transcribed onto visual and aural mediums when we could be outside building character.
posted by gilrain at 9:59 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


OK, so we can continue to upgrade the resolution and picture quality of the TV.

When are we going to get around to improving the general quality and level of the shows on my TV? That's what I really want.
posted by nubs at 10:03 AM on November 19, 2013


My girlfriend is a smart, relatively technology savvy TV-watcher.

She had an shelled out more $$ for and HDTV and an HD cable box, and was very happy with her image quality. And so was I.

When I moved her stuff out of her house I realized that the connector between the 2 was analog....

Conclusion: I'm not sure but there probably is one.
posted by Riton at 10:15 AM on November 19, 2013


When are we going to get around to improving the general quality and level of the shows on my TV? That's what I really want.

This stopped being a valid complaint after the first term of the second Bush. If you can't find exceptional television content in this day and age, with complex and intellectual themes, innovative plot, fantastic characterization, exquisite acting and cinema-level production values, you don't have a television. Stop watching Duck Dynasty, there's other stuff on.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I moved her stuff out of her house I realized that the connector between the 2 was analog....

The connector that links my HD antenna to my HDTV is analog. It still pumps in a high-def signal. Maybe with a bit of degradation that I wouldn't see over HDMI, but the quality is still very much present. I'm not sure there's a conclusion to draw there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:20 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The connector that links my HD antenna to my HDTV is analog.

Connectors are neither analog nor digital. The ATSC signal picked up by your HD antenna is digital, and is transmitted to your TV digitally over a coaxial cable, where it's decoded and displayed.
posted by bradf at 10:31 AM on November 19, 2013


I saw Super Hi-Vision in action at the BBC in 2012. It's pretty amazing.

The screen was the size of a small cinema screen, maybe 18- 20 feet high, and there were chairs for about 400 people. There was a big area at the back being tended to by awesome BBC and NHK boffins. Most of them had lots of pens in their top pockets and some of the NHK ones had white coats too. Thick spectacles and bad haircuts abounded.

First, in a very BBC moment, they showed their initial test movie, a slow 360 degree pan from the top of Television Centre on a grey day. Nothing happened, just wind and cars, and leaves moving in the trees. You could see rain starting to fall a mile or so away. I felt like I'd wandered into the making of a low budget British Solaris.

Then there was a demo movie of a football match in a huge stadium in South America, and it really was incredible, like looking at a huge, moving Andreas Gursky print. You could see right across the stadium and watch snack sellers moving around the opposite stands. The players were tiny, but when you focused in on them they were perfectly - crystal - clear...you could see their facial expressions.

Then they explained that there were forty speakers set up all around and above us, and played a film of the space shuttle taking off. It started out with the view over the marshes, listening to birds singing, then you could hear the birds scattering....then the floor started shaking. It was so incredible that everyone was trying to film it on their phones, which was just about the most pointless thing I've ever seen attempted.

Anyway, this was in early summer, I think maybe May? and then they set it up again at New Broadcasting House to show the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and a film of the highlights. The problem is, though, that the cameras are so cumbersome (I guess?) that they can't move them much. So, although the resolution was really incredible, most of us drifted off to watch the regular version after a bit, because the filming and editing was so much better in the normal version that it was actually way more interesting to look at.

It'll be interesting to see how it works as a home experience where you can't have the colossal screen and sound system. Maybe we'll just all be watching it directly onto our retinas by then anyway.
posted by tardigrade at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2013


I'm still waiting for the streaming services to drop SD video. Because I am getting tired of telling my wife that yes, it is ABSOLUTELY worth paying $1 more to see the movie I am renting in HD because we have a 40" monitor and we sit about 10' away from it. If I a paying to watch a movie, I am not watching SD quality on an HD screen.

I am also sick of being burned by the damn cable companies. They force everyone to get the digital upgrade, and continue to broadcast SD video unless you pay to have it in HD. So they expect us to take a stream that is produced and distributed digitally and run it through a digital to analog converter so I can play it back on my digital TV. Unless I am willing to pay them a $10/TV ransom monthly. If they broadcast it in HD I should not have to pay extra to get it that way. (Protip: If your company is like our provider try running without the cable box. We get all the local channels in HD if we tune to 5.1 etc, even though they keep claiming we need the stupid converter. Then again all we pay for are the local channels, because Netflix+Amazon is cheaper than paying for a shit-ton of channels I never watch.)

They keep whining that users are hogging the bandwidth, but they broadcast the local network stations on three separate channels each - low channel SD, midrange channel HD, high-range channel HD... I have no idea why they do this but then again I am not a cable exec. Maybe if they cut out 2 of the 3 I'd be able to stream YouTube without having it choke every 30 seconds.

So really: You think either of these two businesses are going to offer you 4K or 8K if they can keeps squeezing money out of you for SD broadcasts? The answer is nope. Maybe 4K will finally kill off SD broadcasts. But not likely.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:46 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a How I Met Your Mother episode:

Lily: Why would I want to change anything? This place is great, except you don't have a TV.

Barney: [Points to wall] See that wall? [Turns on TV] 300 inch flatscreen! They only sell them in Japan but I know a guy. They ship it over in a tugboat like freakin' King Kong!

Lily: It hurts my eyes...

Barney: Yeah, that doesn't go away
posted by craven_morhead at 10:52 AM on November 19, 2013


elizardbits: "Until I can have an actual legitimate full-size IMAX theatre in my house I will continue to not buy a new teevee every time this shit happens."

Assuming they can afford one, anyone can own an IMAX Private Theatre.

But for $2 million minimum, it ain't for everyone.
posted by zarq at 11:04 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that Netflix is going to start streaming 4k HD sometime relatively soon. Granted a large percentage of their userbase aren't going to have the 15 Mbps minimum network connection necessary for that compressed 4k stream (I do but basically watching a 4k stream would nuke my bandwidth for the entire house) but that's just going to drive more users to demand high speed internet from their providers.

I just can't see shitty providers like Time Warner or AT&T U-verse really supporting 4k streaming video anytime soon and how many 4k movies will it take to bring you over your GB allowance for the month?
posted by vuron at 11:09 AM on November 19, 2013


If you're on Comcast's new extra-shitty budget plan, one.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:35 AM on November 19, 2013


I'm sure I'd notice the difference, just like I can tell the difference between Blue Ray and DVD or a european sports car and a domestic compact. But I just don't care enough about the difference (especially when the difference in cost is comparable to funding my retirement account or not).

tldr; DVD on a 50 inch HD tv is more than enough for me personally. YMMV.
posted by Crash at 11:56 AM on November 19, 2013


How about all these smart people figure out a way for me to be able to watch any content I want anywhere at any time?

I'd rather the smart people turn their attention to figuring out how to create more content that I actually want to watch.

I can't think of anything more depressing than 600 channels of complete shite in 8K Super Hi-Vision Full Dome.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:18 PM on November 19, 2013


Ironically, Woot is selling a 4k UHDTV today for $500. I'd never heard of it before (I know, I'm sending my gadget-geek card back in the mail), so had to look it up.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:30 PM on November 19, 2013


Technology influences the consumption of culture and is influenced by it. Once upon a time, listening to mono was just fine - your brain filled out the sound as necessary. Stereo came about, and our expectations shifted - but we also had to learn how to use stereo, since used wrongly, it can be distracting.

A big debate in film these days are frame rates and motion. On one side you have those who maintain that there's something special about 24/25 frames per second and the motion blur that happens. Others claim 24fps is just an artifact of technological development, and humans can quickly adapt, and have adapted to f.ex. 30fps. But the very fact that adaptation takes place means we associate 24fps motion blur as "cine-like" rather than "tv/video-like". But what if started out with 48fps to begin with and never had cinema grow up with setting the 'film look' at 24fps motion blur? The Cameron/Jackson camp thinks this is where we're headed, more 'real-life' like.

But the question arises, is the divide between 24fps and 48fps going to be like different art forms altogether, like silent film vs sound film, and b&w photography and color (even if with time one of the art forms declines or even dies), or will it be a simple progression like mono vs stereo, where nobody thinks of mono as a separate art form?

That question also applies in spades to 2D vs 3D - separate art forms or progression? Painting vs sculpture?

And so with some of the questions around resolution: separate art forms or progression? Already many claim that the hyper-close up of extreme detail is "digital-like" and unpleasant vs the pleasant blurring of traditional film. The argument here is that we don't actually want to see certain details (like skin) blown up with extreme detail on a movie screen - it's unnatural. So do we fork here into separate art forms, or is it again simple progression?

New art forms are born all the time, and doesn't necessarily spell doom for older forms even in closely related fields. We had cave drawings and oral story telling, and then we moved on to written material, but story telling never really went away, nor did murals not did theater nor did film, nor did video games (oops, forgot that's not art). Nonetheless popularity waxes and wanes, and there's also straightforward progress (with some aesthetic re-evaluations/re-births - see lo-fi production and nostalgia production).

Colors suck on Netflix, Amazon and VuDu. Just, horrible, pixelated, banded bullshit. It looks like a .gif from the early '90s at times, especially in dark scenes or high contrast scenes. The first service to step up and fix this, even if it means stepping down to 720p, gets ALL MY MONIES RITE NAOW. I will probably be made to wait until 8K.

Well, there's a million challenges along a million axis, and room for improvement. One day we'll have to tackle brightness and relative light levels. We'll look with horror at how the old people had to stare at screens that blinded them and made it impossible to look at the image with any subtlety. And so on. But the question remains - what is progress and what is a new art form or new medium... and that can take a long time to determine - we have just barely accepted that TV is a 100% legitimate and different art form than cinema and not simply 'inferior cinema'.

And so, not all technical progress is simply a question of technological development, but also a question of media re-definition and cultural adjustment.
posted by VikingSword at 12:37 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When are we going to get around to improving the general quality and level of the shows on my TV? That's what I really want.

Around 1999. I assume you're posting from the past?
posted by Justinian at 12:50 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm in Tokyo and have seen the 4K TVs on display in shops. The clarity is absolutely amazing. Totally hypnotic. I can only imagine what 8K is like.
posted by zardoz at 2:06 PM on November 19, 2013


When are we going to get around to improving the general quality and level of the shows on my TV? That's what I really want.

That's a problem that technology can only make worse.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:18 PM on November 19, 2013


Speaking just for my own taste, I don't know why one is "supposed" to sit so far from the screen. When I go to the movies, I sit about half-way back, and the screen fills up much more of my field of view than a 50" TV at 10 feet. But it's true that sitting closer than about 10 feet is often awkward, if only for the layout of the room. So I have a cheap 1080p projector that projects a 100" image about 10 feet away. It feels more like a movie, takes up no visual space in the room, and you can certainly see the difference between 1080p and 720p, let alone 480i, and even different bitrates of 1080p are quite discernible.

And's its not just an OCD thing: movies are visual art, with huge attention paid to the image and details. I like being able to see the stuff the director wanted me to see. 4K or 8K will just make that experience better, at least until the actual visual acuity limit is reached (and I'd only trust this limit with my own eyes (double-blinded, of course); there's too much going into apparent visual detail to accept simple math, particularly since the visual detail of moving images is a very different thing from being able to resolve individual pixels).

And for those times that you don't care about the visuals, why even bother with 480i when you can just listen to the sound, or read the screenplay, or just go read a book?
posted by chortly at 3:00 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So they started with Hi-definition then ultra-hi-definition and now there is super-hi-definition.

What happens after this?

ultra-super-hi-definition? super-duper-hi-definition? mega--ultra-super-hi-definition?


/good to see Calvin had a future in technology nomenclature.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 4:32 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nobody needs this! Have we gone mad?!
posted by mazola at 5:55 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Talking about what we "need" when posting to a web forum using a computer or smartphone seems like an odd choice.
posted by Justinian at 6:25 PM on November 19, 2013


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