At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas we took a look at LG’s range of Ultra HD – or 4K – TVs. 4K is touted at the successor to Full HD and offers four times the resolution of Blu-ray to produce stunning picture quality. See also: CES Unveiled in pictures
Full HD TVs have a resolution of 1920x1080, but Ultra HD sets boost this to 3840x2160. It equates to around 8 million pixels, which is four times the number delivered by Full HD, hence the 4K moniker.
In the 84LM9600, known as the 84LM960V in the UK, LG uses an 84in IPS panel. In the demo we saw, this produced stunning colours no matter at what angle you view the picture, and excellent contrast too.
As well as the 84in sets, LG unveiled 65 and 55in versions with the same Ultra HD resolution. Of course, all also support 3D content as well as 2D, and use polarising filters (passive 3D) allowing inexpensive, lightweight glasses to be used.
The technology also means two players can play a multiplayer game and see different views of the same game across the whole screen.
We were seriously impressed with the picture quality offered by all three TVs. The demo footage consisted of detailed landscape shots and cityscapes and in both cases, the images were clearly better than Full HD. Even from a normal viewing distance, textures such as rock faces, grass and leaves on tress were all sharp and well-defined and obviously more detailed than a ‘standard’ HD broadcast would offer.
Up close, it was almost impossible to see individual pixels and, as you might expect, the effect of all the extra detail had even more impact.
Unfortunately, although Ultra HD TV sets are likely to become more common over the next couple of years, there’s little chance of you being able to afford one right now. The only model currently on sale – the 84in – costs around £20,000, and there are no Ultra HD broadcasts or 4K content for you to watch.
The sets do a great job of upscaling Full HD content, and photos from your digital camera will also look great. However, there's no guarantee that 4K will become a stanard - either for broadcasts or movies on disc - so it's a bit of a risk buying one. Chances are, 4K probably will become an offical standard: Sony is launching a 4K content delivery service this summer and Netflix is working with Samsung to stream 4K content.
Sharp, though, was demoing an 8K screen, which has four times the resolution of 4K. Also known in Japan as Super Hi-Vision, 8K is even more impressive (as you might expect). The level of detail, which sadly we can't reproduce in this tiny picture (nor on your sub-8K display on which you're viewing it), is incredible. No matter how close you get, more detail appears before your eyes.