We always knew manufacturers wouldn't be content with televisions with four times the resolution of 1080p.. After all, once they've got your money, they need to invent some ways of getting you to part with more cash in a few years time. So with everyone going mad for 1080p at the moment, the industry is wondering about what the next step will be. The answer, it appears, is 4k. That is,
On our travels at CES this year we've seen a number of these TVs, and each of them makes cacky old 1080p look like utter rubbish. Okay, we're being daft, but these screens are technically capable of producing images of the same quality as those you would see at a cinema.
We visited Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, who all had TVs capable of displaying four times as much detail as 1080p. The Panasonic is so huge you could fit nine 50-inch screens in the same space. Frankly, the quality was amazing, and standing close to it can be scary, especially on aerial shots, where you can actually feel quite dizzy. Panasonic has some good reasons for developing the. Apparently, its has sold over 3,000 units now -- and at $80,000 (£40,000) each, that's not bad business.
Of course, producing the TVs isn't the only problem. The storage, editing and acquisition of 4k video is a pretty big challenge, too. That would mean that TV production would need to move over to new, incredibly expensive systems. Let's be honest -- transmitting video that is 4,000x2,000-or-so pixels in size is going to be a challenge. We'll need something with more storage than Blu-ray to squeeze a film on to a disc. But then, perhaps by the time we're buying 4k TVs, we'll have some sort of holographic disc storage.
Despite the challenges, all the manufacturers agree that this format has a future. It won't be a mainstream product for some considerable time, but imagine -- at some point, we'll all be watching stuff recorded at four times 1080p quality. -Ian Morris