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Cheaper and smaller Ultra HD on the way for Australia

While Ultra HD televisions are a truly luxury item at the moment, affordable sets are on the way.

While Ultra HD (UHD) televisions are a truly luxury item at the moment, affordable sets are on the way.

At $15,999, the LG is currently the cheapest Ultra HD TV in Australia. (Credit: LG)

With the news that Red is working on a sub-US$1500 Ultra HD player, it's seems that the technology formerly known as 4K is here to stay.

At the moment, only two UHD TVs are on sale in Australia — LG's 84-inch set for $16,000 and the Sony 84-inch Bravia for $25,000, which is the same price as the Sony 4K projector, the VPL-VW1000ES. However, two of the mid-range manufacturers are also working on Ultra HD sets, both with an eye on Australia.

Back in November, the US arm of Chinese company Hisense sent out a press release promising Ultra HD panels in 50-, 58- and 65-inch panels, all under the banner of the XT880 product. Hisense soon responded to local media outlets, saying that it anticipated that the XT880 range would be available in Australia by the end of January 2013.

Changhong, too, has confirmed to CNET Australia that it will show off Ultra HD panels at the Consumer Electronics Show next year, and will make the technology available to Australians soon after. Local Changhong reps said that a 65-inch Ultra HD television was definitely on the way and mooted the possibility of panels as "small" as 48-inches.

While pricing hasn't been discussed by either company, the two are noted for producing more affordable sets with fewer frills than the top-tier manufacturers.

So what are Australians willing to pay for this new TV tech? Back in 1997, a 42-inch Philips Plasma TV cost US$14,999 in the US (with home installation) — but that was a while ago and we're not as patient these days with waiting for new hardware to become a commodity. (Also, accounting for inflation, that TV was over US$21,500 in today's prices.) So, is sub-AUD$10, 000 the magic point where Ultra HD becomes "affordable". Let us know via the poll.