The big question is how much these smaller 4K TVs will cost. So far, everyone’s keeping pretty mum on pricing. That rarely suggests we’re looking at anything remotely affordable. LG was the one company to announce a price. Its 84-inch OLED 4K TV will retail for $12,000.
That’s a lot of money, and most people may not think 4K is worth the truckload of money they’ll pay for it. The truth is, as nice as these TVs are, you probably won’t see much difference. A 60-inch 4K won’t look dramatically better than the 1080p TV you have in your home right now unless you shove your nose into the screen. The average person’s eyes can’t see the difference when sitting 10 feet away from a 60-inch TV.
Even if you decide you simply must have the latest and greatest TV tech, and you’re willing to max out your credit card to get one, the content isn’t there. The 4K TVs on the market can up-sample the content. Sort of how your current Blu-ray player up-samples DVDs. But it’s not ideal and there are no actual content devices on the market yet. Sony currently has a device it loans to customers that have purchased its 4K TV to watch Sony Pictures movies. At CES the company announced that it would have a 4K solution in the summer that included a device that would connect to a Sony Pictures Entertainment distribution service. The service will play, you guessed it, Sony Pictures Entertainment movies.
Broadcast is an even bigger issue. Broadcast TV only recently switched to all digital signals in June 2009 and it’s not even good enough for the TVs we have now. Peter Vasay, part of THX’s video certification team, told Wired, “As far as infrastructure, we’re pretty far away from that. We’re only at 1080i now. We’re not at full HD over broadcast.”