Among some of the other things I’ve been hearing about from folks at CES was the current progress on the development of TV resolutions to match high-end film resolutions that are currently only viewable via projectors, such as 4K and 8K. 1080p might be on its way out as the flagship HD format in a few short years whenever 4k really starts to become widely available ……. or will it? 😉
As much as 1080p’s not even close to the best film resolution, I really think for home use we’ve really brushed up against the very edge of infinity here. 1080p’s a nice sharp picture and more importantly with such a high amount of fine detail in a screen we’re now brushing up against physical limitations in terms of seeing all the detail. As my folks have recently reminded me last time we went back and forth about 720p vs. 1080p, whenever they finally stop using tube TVs, quality won’t matter as much to them since a lot of the time they may be watching everything from a distance with or without their glasses. 😛
1080p seems to have a physical limit of 37-40″ before you can really start seeing all the extra quality from a moderate distance on a TV, which is why I got a good laugh out of 1080p laptops when they first came out. Some manufacturers were gutsy enough to advertise “Full HD laptops” with blippy little 16″ screens. Yeah. Sure. Maybe I’ll be able to see all the 1080p goodness on those with a good magnifying glass. 😛 Fortunately, the manufacturers realized their little oopsie, and backed off on that a bit, opting for a more conservative 1600×900 or 1366×768 and saving the 1080 stuff for jumbo-sized laptops, but even that’s pushing it a bit.
With these kinds of issues, how will size be compounded even more with 4K or 8K? What will be the minimum size then for it to be worth it? A 37″ TV can be carried by oneself if one is careful, but too far above 40″ and that TV becomes a team lift. Go much higher than that and who knows? Do we really want people’s living room TVs to start making rearranging the living room into a big ordeal? Perhaps at some point folks will just opt for a projector instead. 😉
The other thing to consider is storage. Blu-Ray in its current state is quite a crowded little disc. I heard some Blu-Ray fans hailing the format for its anti-scratch coating thinking that was pretty cool and stuff but let’s have a little reality check here – that anti-scratch coating is necessary in order for the format to be practical. It’s crazy just how little it takes to make a Blu-Ray disc not play correctly. A fleck of dust that floated onto the disc’s surface or the tiniest smudge of finger oil can cause a movie to skip. With that level of precision, there aren’t that many options for further expansion of discs without increasing the disc size, though I have heard of plans to add lots and lots of layers instead. I don’t know. Some of Blu-Ray’s little quirks sometimes make me wonder if the quality loss in exchange for a more mature technology that’s easier to play without the player screwing up might make upscaled DVD more worth it again… 😛
The good thing about these up-and-coming resolutions is that it’s great for filling out the high-end for the enthusiast market and folks with money to burn who might want a 70-something inch TV in their living room with the pixels to fill it with all kinds of nice detail, but when we get to 8K, we’re talking about an IMAX-quality screen in someone’s living room. How’s that going to work? Hmmmmmm……. 🙂
Technology’s always a good thing of course. It’d be nice for TVs like the big flat panel in Back To The Future Part 2 to be available for the home market by 2015, since we’re obviously not going to have flying cars, hoverboards, self-fitting self-drying clothes, or hydrated pizzas by then. :o) Practicality though, as my folks have been reminding me, will still be the word of the day, and it’d be great for consumers to have a lot of options to pick from to choose screens, resolutions, sizes, etc., for wherever they happen to want a screen in their lives. 🙂