That was my takeaway from Europe’s massive late summer consumer electronics and broadcast trade shows IFA and IBC.
“UHD” is already a bit of a murky term but it has always been about resolution. Originally, it only meant 8K but marketers have evolved it to encompass just about any resolution beyond 1080P including true 4K and 3840×2160. That’s about to change again and the definition is expanding this time to include not just more but better pixels.
Display makers seem to have recognized that while consumers will appreciate the benefits of 4K resolution, especially when checking out a new TV up close on the showroom floor, it is just not enough to deliver a truly blow-away visual experience.
Walking the halls at IFA 2014 in Berlin, I saw tons of UHD sets from display makers of all types from Samsung to Sony to Hisense. What I did not see were nearly any plain vanilla flat panel displays pushing UHD resolution as a defining feature. Instead, there was a tremendous amount of innovation and differentiation around form factor with curved sets, high dynamic range with dynamic backlighting, wide color gamut with Quantum Dots and higher frame rates.
Content providers and creators have gotten the message as well. Speaking at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam, Paul Grey, director of European research for DisplaySearch said, “Broadcasters know consumers can barely see the difference between HD and 4K if you do nothing more than change the resolution, and this is well based in solid trials methodology. It isn’t just a bit of prejudice. The higher numbers are good for marketing, but not much else.”
When we say “UHD” we increasingly mean “next generation TV” and that encompasses a whole range of new features that will change how we watch TV whether it’s wide color gamut, high dynamic range or even curved form factors.