Ultra HD Television Roundup
If you read any CES coverage, you know the big buzz was around Ultra HD, or “4K,” televisions. There are a few models out now, with even more due out in the next few months.
Here’s what’s here, and here’s what’s coming.
It’s worth noting that while the release dates (when there were any) are of course just an estimate.
Few (if any) manufacturers have as many Ultra HD TVs planned as Chinese newcomer Hisense. The XT900 series features 65-, 85-, and 110-inch models. These models have Google TV built-in, and have “precise local dimming,” though we’ve seen a lot of misuse of the term “local dimming” in the industry lately, so we’ll have to wait and see if this is true local dimming, or “area” dimming like what Samsung and others use. The XT880 series has 50-, 58-, and 65-inch models. No pricing yet, but Hisense claims the XT880 series will have “a price that won’t cause sticker shock.” We shall see.
Surprising many, Panasonic had no Ultra HD plasma or LCDs at CES this year. They did show off a 56-inch Ultra HD OLED, likely the same as Sony’s. I predict we’ll see a 84-inch Ultra HD plasma at or before CES next year.
Details were scarce for Sharp’s upcoming 60-inch Ultra HD display. One interesting feature is “ICC Purios” which “combines Ultra HD resolution and the ICC (integrated cognitive creation) image processor, which reproduces the “cognitive” process by which the human brain interprets light stimuli. Employing this unique process provides a similar sense of depth, texture and perspective to what people experience when looking directly at an object for a lifelike viewing experience where everything is in sharper focus.” Color us intrigued.
Sony already has an Ultra HD television on the market, an 84-inch model that has identical specs to LG’s model. Though no one’s talking, it’s likely LG’s panel with Sony’s own video processing inside. This year, they’re expanding the line with 55- and 65-inch models. Most interesting, these will have “Triluminos,” which is a new backlight technology that uses LEDs and quantum dots (yes, you read that correctly), to generate red, green, and blue light. We’ll be interested to see if this improves color fidelity.
Westinghouse, like Vizio, is a US based company that imports TVs from overseas manufacturers. They wowed at the show with a 110-inch 4K model, and claim to be coming out with reasonably priced 50-, 55-, and 65-inch models this year. They’re also one of the only companies talking price, with the 50-inch coming in at $2,499, $3,000 for the 55, and $3,995 for the 65. If these hold true, this will be very interesting.
Three Ultra HD models join Vizio’s lineup this year: XVT551d, XVT651d, and XVT701d. Those are 55-, 65-, and 70-inch models. All three are LED edge-lit, passive 3D, and have an “effective refresh rate of 240 Hz” which likely means 120 Hz with some version of a scanning backlight.
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