News coming out of last week’s NAB2013 conference is that 3DTV is definitely subsiding. Some might say it’s dying, but I expect that it will hang around in some applications. Certainly the movie studios will keep cranking out 3D movies in order to sustain the logic of the theatre chains ongoing transition to digital projection.
In my mind the big news was the coming wave of UltraHD (aka 4K) which seems to have largely displaced 3D as the major entertainment industry trend. UltraHD is quite interesting to me. Of particular interest was the announcement of a 50” diagonal 4K display for a mere $1299. Filmmaker and entertainment industry blogger Andrew Robinson has a good take on this announcement.
In truth, I’m not all that interested in streaming movies at UHD resolution, although I’m sure that will happen. There’s clearly a symbiotic relationship between UHD video displays and HEVC compression. There’s already a significant move to master films at UHDTV resolution as a means of future-proofing.
I do wonder just how future-proof that might be? If 4K happens in just a short while it would seem that 8K, which could be the next logical leap at least according to NHK, would not be too far behind.
Back to my scope of interest. I think that UHD displays will be tremendously helpful in video conferencing. At present, in creating a multi-party view an MCU needs to down-sample all the streams to create the Brady Bunch style presentation. If the output stream is UHD then a “normal” HD (720p or 1080) can be viewed at 1:1 pixel resolution without consuming the entire display.
Consider the following illustration of the common frame sizes.
Looking around for availability I see that the display is not yet shipping. However, Amazon is listing Seiki Digital SE50UY04 50-Inch 4K 120Hz LED HDTV for pre-order. They suggest that MSRP is $1499 and the sell price will be $1355.
A bigger, better single display that doesn’t cost a fortune simply has to be an opportunity. I applaud this new development, and look forward to further competitive product offers from more recognized names.