LG has officially launched its first Ultra Definition TV (Ultra HD TV) in the US – an 84in monster boasting roughly four times the picture resolution of a Full HD 1080p TV.
Formerly known as 4K Resolution, before beingrebranded to Ultra High-Definitionby the Consumer Electronics Association, the latest standard requires that at least one input on the set supports receiving video data at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 – providing four times the detail of a 1,920 x 1,080 HDTV set.
Proudly wearing the Ultra HD tag, LG’s 84in UDTV launched late last night ahead of planned sets from rival companies including Sony. Currently a US exclusive, the set is limited to a single retailer in California – the Video & Audio Centre in Lawndale – where consumers can try out the device for the first time.
Although Ultra HD sets are quick to impress, they do suffer from a lack of compatible content. While capable of upscaling Blu-ray, games console and other non-Ultra HD content to fill the screen, such tricks – commonly seen in the early days of HDTVs with upscaling DVD players providing a means of bridging the gap until Blu-ray prices dropped – fail to make the best use of the set.
For that, consumers need true Ultra HD content – and that is thin on the ground. Many broadcasters in the US are only just making the move to progressive HD from the lower-quality interlaced format, and with Ultra HD requiring four times the bandwidth a move to Ultra HD is potentially years away.
The final problem for LG’s launch is pricing: the set is being sold at an eye-watering $16,999.99 (around £10,553 excluding taxes) meaning that only the most well-heeled audiovisual fan will be able to even consider a purchase.
That price may change once there is competition in the market, with Sony’s rival Ultra HD TV expect to appear towards the end of the year.
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