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Episode 48: Are you ready for 4K TV?It's Always On's TV extravaganza. We unbox Samsung's new gigantic 85-inch 4K TV, torture test a CNET Editors' Choice-winning Panasonic TV, and Molly Wood visits Los Angeles to see how Sony Studios is gearing up for the latest 4K revolution.
-It's pretty. -This week on Always On, it's a television extravaganza. Woah! At Sony Pictures Studios, they are ready for the 4K revolution. -Right there. -Yeah. You got it? -Yeah, I got it. -Okay. -Welcome to Always On. I am Molly Wood and this is the show where we take tech into the real world. This week's show is all about TVs including the 4K revolution that's totally changing image quality. Now, here's the deal with 4K, your current 1080p HD TV has 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. 4K TV doubles both of those numbers. So, 3840 x 2160. And the end result is 4 times the total number of pixels. The numbers are big, the hype is huge. Here's a look at where 4K sits right now. If you thought you were done upgrading your television, you were wrong. Get ready for 4K TV, that means twice the number of horizontal and twice the number of vertical pixels for 4 times the overall number of pixels on the screen. The result? Better picture, better clarity, and better detail. At Sony Picture Studios here at L.A., they are ready for possibly even launching the 4K revolution. They're designing new cameras, shooting all new content, and remastering that big library of movies and TV. So, let's talk about 4K specifically. What does that mean for consumers? -What we're doing with ultra high def is expanding the range of colors that we can actually put on the screen. We're expanding a range of contrast so that the bright is bright, the highlights that reflect off of something can really be truly as much higher than the things around them as they would be in real life and increase a greater sense of immersion, more realism in looking at the picture. -To make that realism and immersion possible, Sony has built some new cameras that can shoot 4K and even 8K native content. 8K blasts all the way to 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution. So, we're gonna find out what we look like on 4K, they're rolling on us, and then what are some of the things that you can do with a digital image that comes out of a camera like this. -Well, one of the things we've done with this is when you decode the picture, you can decode it as a 4K picture or you can decode it as a 6K or 8K. And what that means you can do is you can reposition within the picture. You can zoom in. you can blow up parts of the picture and still have a full 4K image. -And the 4K operation goes on over at Colorworks, Sony's main hub for postproduction. Specialists work on scanning and color correcting 4K content and re-mastering older shows and movies into 4K. Today, they're restoring Lawrence of Arabia into 4K frame by frame. What's amazing to film nerds is that they're resurrecting these movies from the original 35 mm negative instead of a processed print. As a result, there's no image degradation because 35 mm was actually the 4K of its day. Here's the before image of Lawrence of Arabia. And for after, we got a change to visit Sony's viewing space. The difference won't be visible to you, but trust me, it's major. -So, if you can press in to see the detail, you'll see that there's a great deal more detail in the horses. You can see that the image holds up even when you blow it up and double it. -So, you could just zoom and zoom? I mean, even to the naked eye and even standing off frame, pops out like you said. -Right. -I mean, you can see the difference is phenomenal. The 4K TV story is even more than just the pixels. New 4K TVs can also display more colors than existing HD TV sets. All that translates into a new specification called ultra high definition or ultra HD. It also means ultra high prices at least for now. Prices are coming down, but expect to pay between 5,000 all the day up to 40,000 dollars for a 4K TV. So, what is the future of 4K? Consumers are just starting to learn about it. You guys are way ahead of the game. What's it gonna look like in 2 or 3 years? -I expect that it's going to be a little bit like we've seen with HD and I think that it's reasonable to expect that, you know, within the next 3 to 5 years that 4K displays are gonna be more and more common. -So, 4K is inevitable and you'll be there. Like HD before it, 4K is kind of a hard sell right now. Obviously, there's the price issue. There's also the fact that there is almost zero 4K content to actually watch and then there's the very technical fact that the current HDMI specification doesn't really support delivery of 4K content. So, if you buy a new 4K TV right now, you might have to get a new one or all new accessories when the HDMI 2 spec comes out. So, it's a little bit of a mess, but it's a really pretty mess. All right. Speaking of that, we're gonna take a quick break when we come back. We will unbox a very big, very beautiful 4K TV. Welcome back everybody! Coming up in a little bit on the show, we have our first ever TV torture test. We'll see if CNET editor's favorite TV can handle water, rage quitting, and dropping. Before that though, we're unboxing the biggest, best looking, most beautiful 4K TV we can find. It's also the most expensive and it's no small job. Time for our biggest unboxing yet by far, Samsung's 85-inch UHD S9 television. You know, the one that you saw? Yeah, it's right here. Okay. It's pretty big. All right. Bring it in here. I'm sure you would have no problem finding some living room space for this. Okay. Stop here. Woah! Oh! Okay. So, this box has the One Connect. So, this is what they call the jack pack which is basically a stand alone box that connects to the back of the TV and has all the inputs in it. Oh! Our 3D glasses. 4 sets. TV accessories. Oh! This is the smart touch control. So, it has-- Look at this, it's got like a little-- but this is your little navigation pad here. This is so exciting! You know how like I've been all excited about Samsung's like eco packaging. This is not that. Circle. Okay. Thanks! Okay. This is the panel where the One Connect box goes. So that's basically the heart, and soul, and brain of the TV. So, you've got one end that plugs in to the television. Okay. This guy, One Connect. Okay. And then this, all right, he starts to make your TV look uglier. Let's cover it up. So, that's about all the setup that I am gonna do. I am gonna call in the experts to finish off the rest while I do the specs. This 4K TV screen is a whopping 85 inches, which is why it comes with its very own easel stand so that you don't have to wall mount it and you can tilt it up or down. It features Samsung's new Smart Hub software with built-in voice and motion control, plus a built-in pop-up camera. It's powered by a quad core processor so you can actually do nice, fast web browsing on it. The display is ultra high definition 4K. So, it's 4096 x 2160p resolution that is compared to 1080p, which is 1920 x 1080. It's 4 times the resolution. And when you have 4K content, it looks amazing. Upscaling also reportedly looks amazing from either standard def or from Blu-ray. This TV has built-in Wi-Fi and 4 HDMI connections plus 3 USB ports. It comes with a powerful built-in sound system. It's built right into the easel frame. It's Dolby and DTS premium sound. It also includes a smart touch remote control and 4 pairs of 3D glasses. The TV has motion control and the feature lets me navigate through screens and pinch to zoom in pictures. Ooh, I did it! I have to admit though, I'm never gonna do that except to show off. Plus, my arms got tired. Now, in case you're worried about any of this technology going out of style since it's built-in to a really heavy easel, the S9 includes upgrades free for at least a year, if not more. Those may include software upgrades to accommodate future 4K hardware requirements or even processor updates. With the stand, the S9 weighs 189 pounds and the total cost is $39,999.99. For more information on the S9, go check out our editor's take at cnet.com. All right. Let's talk about picture quality for a little while. So, this is Blu-ray content. It's being upscaled to something close to 4K and it's like the fancy Blu-ray demo reel to make it look as good as possible. So, we're gonna watch a little bit of this and then we're gonna plug in some 4K content because now I know the big complaint about 4K is that there's not very much content available, but we're gonna at least look at it and see if we can see the difference. Okay. Look at this. You can see this detail kinda all of the way here at the bottom like you're gonna actually see pedestrians right here. A little 3D effect from how kind of weirdly real it looks. You can see individual cars on the road here. Look at this detail. I mean, I've heard people say that you can't see the difference between HD and 4K and I'm sorry, I'm here to tell you that I think that's Ludacris. And I'm sad to say that you will not be able to see the difference when you're watching this at home because you don't have a 4K display, but just take my word for it, this looks amazing. Trust me. All right, we've seen the 4K content. We've seen the upscaled Blu-ray content. Both of those looked amazing. Now, it's time to check out the upscaling on some web-based content. Now, we're streaming Always On because we don't wanna get sued over Ethernet. So, the video quality should be decent. Let's see how the upscaling can do. There's a little tension in the house. -[unk] -Get it out there! -Say goodbye. -Now, let's-- -That's a little noisy. I mean, granted, we can chuck some of that up to streaming, but I'm just saying we've got this thing. We wanna stream some content from YouTube. It's almost like a little bit of a drawback that it's so big. All that said, this particular television is not for anyone to actually buy. It costs $40,000 and they only made 250 of them. It's for rich people and Saudi Arabian princes. But the S9 series is accessible to mere mortals. There's a 65-inch version, a 55-inch version, and they're kind of just a look at the future of 4K TV. And make no mistake, in 5 or 10 years, you're all gonna have one. Time for our first ever TV torture test. I'm pretty excited about this one. We have our CNET editor's favorite. This is our best TV overall from Panasonic. And I brought in my good friend, Eric Franklin, to help me try to break it. So, we're gonna start with some video gaming and move on to some mishaps with wall mounting and then maybe a little decorating disaster. I hope you've been practicing your rage quit. -Yes. Perfectly honed at this point. A lot of losing lately. -Excellent. Let's do it. All right. It is time for the rage quit test of our Panasonic TV. I'm here with Kyle and Max from Game Spotter and of course Eric. We're gonna play a little Call of Duty until somebody loses their temper. -It's show time. -Woah! Oh! I killed a guy. Come on! Who shot me in the back? -Me. -It was you? You actually shot me in the back? -Yeah, it was me. -You can do that? -Yeah. -Wow. Uh! Cannot get my missile launcher. Dude, you broke it. Already! -I didn't even throw that hard. I really didn't throw that hard. He scared himself. You don't think you threw it that hard because look-- -I honestly didn't feel like I threw it that hard. -All right. Come here. Come and see what you've done. I like it this is what we brought him down for and now he's in trouble. -Wow. Did I do that? It's-- -Okay. As I'm looking at this, I see basically a spiderweb for every single hit point-- -Yeah. -like there's here, here, and here. 3 controllers hit the TV and every single one of those controllers caused a break. I find that to be disappointing. I think TV should be tougher than this. -So do I. -Should we try to turn it back on? -We should try at least. -I think so. Where's the remote? You have the remote. Try to turn it back on. Oh, you're like afraid of it. -I am pressing power and it's definitely not-- -That's kind of no surprise. I think we saw the screen pretty much blow. -Yeah. -from the impact. -Yeah. Yeah. We did. As soon as I-- As soon as I hit it-- -Well, I think now that the screen is pretty well destroyed. There's no need to bother with the water test, but we can still check some structural integrity by trying to wall mount this. -Yeah. I think so. -You know, I'm not very good at this handyman stuff. -Neither am I. -Really? -Okay. Wall mount this, baby. -Yup. -Okay. -All right. I'm thinking. Didn't it go higher? -You think? -Yeah. -All righty. -Yeah. -Okay. -Yeah. That one right there. -Yeah. You got it? -Yeah, I got it. -Okay. I'm just saying redecorating is hard. Okay, that was bad. Shelves fall on it. -Yeah. -We definitely have some more cracks. -Oh wow. Tons. -Yeah. Everywhere that the-- Ooh, look at the bezels come up over there. -Oh man! -Over here, the bezel's completely twisted. -Wow. This is only like, what, 4 feet-- 4-feet drop. -Yeah. It was about 4 feet. Should we try to lift it back up? -Sure. -[unk] the backward side. -Yeah. Let's turn it on. It's just-- -Ooh. -I mean, it is pretty heavy. -Yeah. Oh, the back looks intact. -Yeah. Okay. So, the back is fine. The bezel and the screen are shattered, destroyed. -Yeah. -I wanna-- I kinda wanna do a little research and see what the cost would be on fixing a TV like this, but I guess now we know. -You don't drop it? -Be careful with your TVs. -I guess so. -Yeah. They're fragile. It's a delicate flower. -It totally is. -And we killed it. I think it's safe to say that this is a fail for the TV. -Yeah. I think that's safe for sure. -And we've learned an important lesson here. -Which is don't drop your TVs. -Yeah. -And don't throw things at your TVs. -Probably not. -But it's a-- you know, I think it's good I think people have kids and when they're shopping for a TV they wanna know how much it can take and it turns out the answer is not very much. -Not at all, really. -You wanna play cards or something. -I have UNO. -I do wanna remind you that we didn't do all of that to that TV for nothing. Some lucky viewer is gonna get a chance to win it in our Always On Torture Test giveaway. So, check our blog, cnet.com/alwayson for details. Now, I think it's time to answer some of your mail. Hello Molly, I am Dejean from Canada and love your show. Personally, I think you are too gentle with the torture, but it is definitely fun watching it. I work as a shoe designer and I will like to get your opinion on which portable device I can use for drawing. Don't disappointed me. Just kidding like you always do. Actually, I do have a tablet recommendation for you and I think it's gonna surprise you. Apparently, the big tablet with the artist and graphic designer set is the Microsoft Surface RT or Pro because it's a pretty good price and it has a stylus. Plus, nobody else is buying it so the price keeps getting lower. I think you should pick one up and maybe I can get like a pair of custom-designed shoes in exchange. What do you think? Okay, maybe just a drawing. Please keep the feedback coming. E-mail me at email@example.com or find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. That's it for this week everybody. Be sure to tune in next week when we're taking a look at some high tech ways to get around, think an app that can direct you to parking spot. That's all coming up next week. Thanks for watching Always On. What? Why did I die? I was shooting crap out of that guy. -I keep rolling up on you. I'm sorry. -You shot me again? -Yes, I did. -I'll rage quit you. -Ooh, it wasn't me. It wasn't me. I'm just getting glazed. -Come on. Man, that was brutal. What the hell?! -I don't know. I keep rolling up on you. I'm not stalking you. I promise. -Whatever. Oh, I did beat.