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The Trouble With 4K TV

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the at-least-it's-not-3D dept.

Television 442

An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article about the difficulties in bringing so-called '4K resolution' video — 3840x2160 — to consumers. "Though 4K resolutions represent the next step in high-definition video, standards for the format have yet to emerge and no one’s really figured out how to distribute video, with its massive file footprint, efficiently and cost effectively. How exactly does one distribute files that can run to hundreds of gigabytes? ... Given that uncompressed 4K footage has a bit-rate of about 600MB/s, and even the fastest solid-state drives operate at only about 500MB/s, compression isn’t merely likely, it’s necessary. ... Kotsaftis says manufacturers will probably begin shipping and promoting larger TVs. 'In coming years, 50-inch or 55-inch screens will have become the sort of standard that 40-inch TVs are now. To exploit 4K, you need a larger form factor. You’re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens.' The same quality/convenience argument leads him to believe that physical media for 4K content will struggle to gain traction among consumers. '4K implies going back to physical media. Even over the Internet, it’s going to require massive files and, given the choice, most people would happily settle for a 720p or 1080p file anyway.'"

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442 comments

cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (5, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42538713)

cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it and that's on the broadcast side.

Maybe 1-2 channels but most cable systems are loaded with sd channels and old mpeg2 HD boxes.

Sat has moved to all mepg 4 HD but stills has lots of SD boxes out there as well.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (2)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year ago | (#42539077)

Yep - even if the set-top box customers are given is natively MPEG-4 AVC, the backend is frequently still MPEG-2 passed through a realtime transcoder. 4K resolution is going to be a big deal for theaters and exhibition halls of various stripes. At the smaller scale tech isn't ready for home yet by a long shot - AVC's successor HEVC is still in the drafting stages, never mind successful deployment - and the improvements won't have the impact that the DVD --> Blu-ray jump did for most customers. I predict 2K resolutions encoded with AVC or VC-1 will become an intermediate point for large-scale exhibition, much as MPEG-2 was used for early HD video.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#42539115)

4K ?

4K Q 2 !

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year ago | (#42539267)

Yep, I just realized 4K indicates 3840x2160, because apparently 2160p just doesn't sound cool.. Blech.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539379)

No, its because 4K sounds bigger than 2160p and way bigger than 1080p.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#42539405)

"4K resolution is going to be a big deal for theaters and exhibition halls of various stripes"

thats what I'm thinking. I think we won't see consumer 4k devices for another 20 years.

but its good we get a spec now, and start hammering out bugs, so by the time the rest of the compute world can handle the bandwith, we're ready.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | about a year ago | (#42539241)

I fail to see any point in your ramblnigs. 4K / 8K are clearly future techs intended to be delivered over equally future networks. Your argument is invalid. Get with the programme.

Re: cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539427)

His argument is indeed valid indeed. Know of any cable companies that actually provide true, full 1080p HD? Any answer you provide is incorrect, there are none. If they don't provide even that now, what makes you think they'll provide true 4k in the future.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539435)

That's right. They don't broadcast 1080p right now - the only 1080p content is on Blu-Ray discs.

Re:cable and sat don't have the bandwidth for it (2)

yincrash (854885) | about a year ago | (#42539633)

They would have to go to SDV [wikipedia.org]. It would be the only way. It would definitely be feasible, but might limit the number of different channels any one house could have on at the same time.

I have no problem.... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42538731)

... with going back to physical media.

I prefer it, in fact.... it's far easier to account for than bits stored on a disk drive I can't possibly see without an electron microscope.

The biggest grievance I have with 4k is that the devices are too bloody costly.

Re:I have no problem.... (2)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year ago | (#42538777)

Another nice thing about physical media is that you can lend it to your friends, pass it on to your children, etc... without running into digital rights management restrictions.

Although it may not matter - if nobody has a physical DVD player anymore in thirty years, passing on my DVD collection to the kids or offering to lend it to friends is meaningless.

Re:I have no problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538961)

Why do you think that physical media could not be DRM-ed? It would not be difficult, given the ubiquity (please excuse my triteness) of internet connectivity. I'll leave it to the sick, twisted side of your imagination to figure out how you could actually implement it.

Re:I have no problem.... (-1, Troll)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#42539203)

Another nice thing about physical media is that you can lend it to your friends, pass it on to your children, etc... without running into digital rights management restrictions.

I don't think you understand. Come back with thirty more IQ points and we'll try and explain it to you.

Re:I have no problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539341)

>Another nice thing about physical media is that you can lend it to your friends, pass it on to your children, etc... without running into digital rights management restrictions.

DIVX.

Need I say more?

Ehhh, why not:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Video_Express#Format

Re:I have no problem.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539467)

Physical media is a dodo, and I can't in good conscience endorse any return to them. Yes, DRM is an ongoing battle (which is one that we certainly WILL win), but the staggering benefits of freeing ourselves from the tyranny of destruction-prone media, and the parallel horrors of drm, are just so immensely valuable to us as a species that it's probably worth going out of our way to provoke an all-out shooting war to prove to the patentophiles & rights holders that in fact an abstract discovery (some music, theory of relativity, etc.) is fundamentally property of the whole species, and profiting on the back of these discoveries without clear and obvious, reasonable claim. outside of a reasonable exclusive-use timeframe WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

Profiteers, this is your only warning. The human race comes first. Climb down, or be deposed. There will be no prior warning.

We are legion.

Welcome back to 2005 (3, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | about a year ago | (#42538765)

The same thing happened when the first 1080P screens came out. The market will adapt, there's no problem here.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (4, Interesting)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#42538967)

the problem is that HD is still more than is needed, and a fair amount of programming is still made for SD (and most still broadcast in SD).

broadcast facilities dragged their feet with HD adoption - the single factor that made all facilities HD capable was the move away from hardware to software and masters-on-HDD.

so no... the market didn't adapt in 2005, it didn't adapt in 2010, it hasn't adapted now and it will be a long time before anything other than big budget movies or events like the olympics will get the 4k treatment.

also consider the optimum viewing distance of 2.5 screen heights. if Jobs were still here, he'd stop at 2k and call it "retina television". unless you're doing it well wrong, you're not going to get much benefit. even the jump from SD to HD was marginal - most of the gains were in compression quality (a macroblock is harder to see when it's 1/4 the size, and in h.264 it's impossible to see as it's filtered out by design).

but i suppose 4k will be interesting for perving on individual audience members at sporting events...

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (2, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year ago | (#42539317)

consider the optimum viewing distance of 2.5 screen heights

I keep seeing that pop up, and I don't know who came up with it, but they're wrong. If you have to turn your head to see the the action going on the corners, you're too close. If you don't have to turn your head, you're not too close. That point is closer than 2.5 screen heights.

if Jobs were still here, he'd stop at 2k and call it "retina television".

Doubtful, considering the iPad 2048x1536 is only 10" screen.

even the jump from SD to HD was marginal

Holy shit, and this is how you know that you have no idea what you're talking about. The difference of SD to HD was more significant by far than the change from black and white to color. It's huge! Do you have a 10" tv that you're watching from 7 ft away when making this comparison or something?

so no... the market didn't adapt in 2005, it didn't adapt in 2010, it hasn't adapted now and it will be a long time before anything other than big budget movies or events like the olympics will get the 4k treatment.

It probably will be a long time before anything gets the 4k treatment, but the market did adapt to HD, to the point that I haven't watched anything that is not HD in years.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (1)

Squapper (787068) | about a year ago | (#42538969)

O'rly? I'm perfectly happy with having an 38-inch TV, as my living room couldn't house a larger screen without it being too invasive. Why would i want 4k if it wouldn't create a noticable quality improvement unless i had a huge screen?

Sooner or later, the physical size of consumers living rooms will determine the upper limit for how highres a screen can be.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539185)

Larger homes fit larger TVs, but smaller homes fit smaller viewing distances. There can be room for smaller TVs with higher resolutions.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (2)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#42539297)

I have a 40 inch screen and it's very hard to see the difference between anamorphic DVDs upconverted to 1080P and Blu-ray. The digital surround sound improvement is actually more noticeable, even in 5.1.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (1)

deains (1726012) | about a year ago | (#42538977)

This time's a bit different though. Not only are we talking about double the resolution again (so an exponential increase), the frame rate has to go up too, else you get screen tearing. When HD first came out, it didn't stretch the current limits of hard drive technology, nor was it really a massive leap for PC monitors to meet the new resolution.
 
Yes the market will adapt, but the chances of it happening as fast as it did for 1080p are extremely low. 4K is going to be the next big thing for quite a while yet.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (5, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | about a year ago | (#42539221)

I'm calling bullshit. The summary talks about uncompressed video, glancing over the fact that even 1080p uncompressed requires a bitrate of 190 MBytes/s (at 24FPS) - faster than most HDD's can handle. Storage space required? 667Gb per HOUR, or a solid TB for a 90min film. Do you need a massive SSD to play 1080p files? Do you even need an SSD to edit and encode them? No, you don't.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncompressed_video#1080i_and_1080p_HDTV_RGB_.284:4:4.29_uncompressed [wikipedia.org]

Compression has always been essential, even for DVD. Uncompressed SD videos would still fill a dual-layer blu-ray (50GB) after about 30mins. Yes, we'll need better CODECS to handle 4k and yes a lot of work needs to be done, but the size of uncompressed video isn't and never has been the issue. At worst, it'll take a slightly newer disk format (I don't see why a 4-layer Blu-ray disk - which exists today, couldn't do the job) and better internet connections to stream.

Devices will be released THIS YEAR capable of outputting 4k - just look at Tegra 4, or nVidia's SHIELD, which has been demonstrated live supplying a 4K TV (Admittedly, probably up-scaled content, but obviously the technology is there today).

The real issue is content, in that nothing is really in 4K right now. The transportation and storage method is not.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (2)

neokushan (932374) | about a year ago | (#42539281)

Whelp, I've went and made a bit of an ass of myself. The actual bandwidth requirements for uncompressed 1080p (24FPS) is 95MB/s, not 190MB/s as I originally stated. The 190MB/s figure was for the RGB 4:4:4 format. The rest of my point still stands, though.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42539481)

The integrated graphics chips in Intel's Ivy Bridge processors is capable of displaying and decoding h.264 video in hardware. They've been on the market since late 2011. I'm not talking about expensive nVidia cards here, I'm saying the integrated graphics Intel has been selling for over a year already supports 4K (although they only actually enabled output/decoding in October 2012, anybody who had Ivy Bridge hardware benefitted).

The downside is that it requires two DisplayPort outputs, and few motherboards ship with more than one. We won't get the ability from an Intel iGPU to output 4K video over a single DisplayPort connection until Haswell, due to ship in June 2013.

High end current nVidia graphics cards such as the GTX 670 support 4K output over a single HDMI or DisplayPort connection, however the official word from nVidia is that they've never actually tried it due to the lack of a display to test with (what limited 4K hardware that's out there doesn't do 4K over a single HDMI or DisplayPort connection).

Really, it's just early days. Generally, midrange quad core chips of today should have no problems decoding 4K video.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539691)

My thoughts exactly - almost everything is lossy compressed these days. The article is stupid, Slashdot is stupid for posting it.

Re:Welcome back to 2005 (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#42539689)

To put numbers on that, a 1920x1080 screen already has 6 times as many pixels as a 720x480 DVD, whereas 4k is only a 4x increase from 1080.

Another 4x increase is almost nothing compared to the leap made from sound to video - when youtube launched in 2005 it was considered to really be pushing the envelope with its crappy little 320x240 video. (So recent!)

And don't forget.. (5, Informative)

Striikerr (798526) | about a year ago | (#42538791)

.. the cable companies would compress the signal as they presently do with "HDTV" to the point that it looks like crap. They have ruined the HDTV quality with this compression and I can only imagine how much they would ruin 4k TV content. The best HDTV experience I have ever had was pulling HDTV signals from the Over The Air broadcasts. The first time I saw this (after spending so much time watching compressed HDTV on Comcast) I couldn't believe how great it looked. If you don't believe me, give it a try. The OTA HDTV signals blow Comcast's HDTV signals out of the water with crispness and detail.
Hopefully the means of getting this type of signal dramatically improves so that compression is not needed and we can watch 4k the way it was meant to be..

Re:And don't forget.. (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42539229)

.. the cable companies would compress the signal as they presently do with "HDTV" to the point that it looks like crap

Pretty much this.

There is so much artifacting going on with Verizon "hdtv" that I may as well be watching sdtv DVD rips from Pirate Bay, and no, nothing is wrong with the signal. The signal itself is fine without dropouts. It's just crap.

--
BMO

Re:And don't forget.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539347)

I can attest to this...

my 'hd' cable box runs at 1080i not 1080p... most consumers don't know the difference but I sure as hell do!

Re:And don't forget.. (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year ago | (#42539563)

Not a chance ....

Commercially it makes more sense to have 200 highly compressed channels than 20 high bit rate channels - that will never change !

Eh... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#42538803)

I still have a 1 DVD out at a time along with Netflix streaming because it's better than $5 iTunes rentals for recent stuff (and I can rip DVDs for anything I want to keep), so staying with discs for a while longer is no big deal to me. It is a shame we can get the infrastructure's bandwidth up at a better pace, though.

Re:Eh... (1, Offtopic)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#42539005)

you rip rentals? that's pretty scummy, dude.

Re:Eh... (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#42539151)

I still have a 1 DVD out at a time along with Netflix streaming because it's better than $5 iTunes rentals for recent stuff (and I can rip DVDs for anything I want to keep),...

you rip rentals? that's pretty scummy, dude.

Well... Technically... As long as he has an active Netflix by/mail account, he's simply being efficient and saving them postage.

H2.65 to the rescue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538815)

H2.65 codec was finalized for 2013 release just in time for 4k resolution. Half the file size...

Re:H2.65 to the rescue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538909)

But even h264 would probably be fine. I mean, current HDTV is only using MPEG2.

Re:H2.65 to the rescue (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#42539021)

half the filesize of the JM reference h.264 encoder released aeons ago.

about 0.9x the size of an x264 encode with mbtree enabled.

Re:H2.65 to the rescue (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year ago | (#42539531)

Not sure how true that is, but 2 things are immediately obvious:

- not a lot of hardware would implementing that latest and greatest, so something like a standard cable STB will indeed see a substantial reduction .. .particularly for those still using old school MPEG-2 and would be seeing closer to 4x the efficiency and 4x the resolution (well, technically 4x the pixels not resolution)
- H.265 HEVC is just a baseline implementation and while many MPEG2/MPEG4 optimisations still apply, I don't think are included in the reference models and there will be additional HEVC specific optimisations over the next 5 years

Re:H2.65 to the rescue (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year ago | (#42539157)

...and dramatically higher encoding playback requirements unless you've got a new, dedicated piece of hardware to handle most of the computational overhead. Or sufficient patience... Believe me, I'm happy to see H.265, but it's going to be deployed at a trickle rather than a dramatic gush. There will be a lot of growing pains and deployment will be slow.

Re:H2.65 to the rescue (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year ago | (#42539437)

Yes dramatically higher - but manageable by, for example, todays smart phones so not really all that onerous. You'll just be up at 100% of a weak CPU rather than 10%- fine for a STB !

4,000 times worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538817)

A lot of hi-def production looks terrible now-a-days because it's too real, it looks like actors standing on a set, and I think this is only going to exacerbate the problem further. I wish things like this would get shit canned before all the money wasted on marketing, and tricking consumers into "needing" this crap.

Also... god help Netflix if this takes off, because their bandwidth usage is gonna be even more terrifying.

Re:4,000 times worse (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42539001)

A lot of hi-def production looks terrible now-a-days because it's too real, it looks like actors standing on a set

You know what else looks like actors standing on a set? Live theater.

Re:4,000 times worse (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42539667)

There's no creepy factor to live theater. It looks strange to watch stuff like that on a screen. Kind of like lens flare - artificially added because we expect it to be there in movies. It aids the suspension of disbelief.

Re:4,000 times worse (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#42539061)

don't blame the messenger - tell the people who make the shows!

if you get a crap makeup artist it'll look like a stage show.

if you get crap actors it will look like people standing around talking.

if you get a crap DoP, everyone will look boring.

maybe viewer discretion should be advised?

Solid state drives. (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#42538819)

Put movies on cartriges. By the time 4K is ready to become a standard it will make more sense to use solid state drives than optical. They should focus on making flash memory faster and distribute films on jump drives. Kingston has a 1TB key drive in the lab now.

Re:Solid state drives. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538959)

No, don't do that. Stop freakin' changing everything.

Sincerely,

Normal people.

Re:Solid state drives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539025)

You can't press FLASH memory for $0.10 no matter how hard you try.

Re:Solid state drives. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42539289)

SATA3 already supports 600MB/s. It's only a matter of time before SSD technology will saturate that (if it doesn't already on 'reads').

Here's a proposed solution to the problem. Create a custom SSD standard for the entertainment industry (follow me here..) using SATA3. When a user rents from Redbox or Netflix, a SSD cartridge comes preloaded with the movie in question and labeled on a digital ink window for easy visual identification of the title in question. This cartridge will only work in entertainment devices and will come encrypted. When the user returns the cartridge back to the rental place, it gets formatted and reused so that you will never waste expensive resources and never run out of that popular blockbuster hit. At worst, you just run out of SSD carts.

Now you may be wondering why the carts would be proprietary in the first place. 1. The MPAA doesn't want people rip-dumping them for pirated use. 2. Carts are expensive for now. 3. Having the user provide their own SSD cart could leave them standing in line for 10 to 20 minutes as the data is being written to the drive. My proposal solves all these issues and makes the MPAA happy too.

Re:Solid state drives. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42539537)

Thunderbolt goes a bit higher, so a RAID array over thunderbolt might do over 600MB/s...

There's a lot of professional video gear that supports thunderbolt. Probably because a lot of professional video gear targets Mac. That's actually kind of annoying, and the third-party Windows drivers for HFS+ have spotty support. I couldn't get them working with the CF cards recorded on a KiPro Mini, for example. I had to hunt down somebody on-site with a macbook to read the damned things.

I'll live with it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42538853)

I can live with upscaled DVDs / blu-rays. It'll be worth it having something that bad ass and it would mostly function as a second monitor if I could afford one.

Not noticing the difference on smaller screens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538875)

Since when has that stopped people?

People listen to multichannel audio mixed down to stereo all the time because practically nobody has a surround system.
People watch their DVDs connected to their 1080p display via composite and marvel at the improved picture.

So if a new format comes along that most people won't really be able to take any advantage of, I don't see any reason it won't do at least as well as multichannel audio and HD. It's all about cost and convenience. Features and quality are irrelevant.

uncompressed 4K (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42538899)

"Given that uncompressed 4K footage has a bit-rate of about 600MB/s, and even the fastest solid-state drives operate at only about 500MB/s, "

We compress it.

"In coming years, 50-inch or 55-inch screens will have become the sort of standard that 40-inch TVs are now. To exploit 4K, you need a larger form factor. You’re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens."

Thats a load of crap really. First of all, all "theres no benefit" arugments are based on how close you sit to the screen, how big the screen is and how good your eyes are. There is no real catch all solution to this. Secondly "won't notice enough of a difference" isn't good enough. We should always aim for no discernible difference. Why? Because we can.

Mis-guided claims.. (5, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year ago | (#42538917)

Much of the bandwidth/media etc claims are rubbish. 4k has (approximately) 4 time the pixels of standard full HD, so at most a given
format will increase by 4 times, HOWEVER, most lossy compression methods (for example AVC/MPEG4) on real footage scale better
than linear with pixel count, as detail becomes more repeated at higher resolutions, so a more likely estimate for such formats is
2 times, which is not crazy (blueray for example can already delivery that for many movies if needed). newer compression methods are
coming on line that can deliver close to double the compression for equivalent quality, meaning we end up back to normal HD data sizes.

Is it needed? thats a whole different story, with the size of living rooms/available and comfortable wall space for screen, etc it is pretty
marginal, but trying to use raw uncompressed bitrates as a scare tactic is rubbish.

Their raw figures are of course not even right as they seem to be assuming 444/12bit storage, which would be rather rare in real life, 422 10 bit
would be MUCH more common, and most workflows would actually use comrpessed storage (as they do now for HD.).

The real problem (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#42538935)

The real problem is that the resolution is exactly double that of 1920x1080. This means scaling up or down will work very well and people won't be able to tell the difference between this and 1080p. You know, because all the 720 TVs are actually 1366x768 which means images have to be smeared to shit, making 1080 TV look so much better (even with OTA 720 shows). And yes, I'm claiming industry-wide effort to make 1080 appear visibly better than 720. Or perhaps the 1080 sets will start to be 1152 to make 4K look better than regular HD even with 1080 content.

Re:The real problem (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42539271)

Or perhaps the 1080 sets will start to be 1152 to make 4K look better than regular HD even with 1080 content.

I'd like to be able to buy the 1600x1200 monitors I bought for many years before 1080 HDTV became popular and forced a lower resolution for PC users.

Re:The real problem (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42539445)

This means scaling up or down will work very well and people won't be able to tell the difference between this and 1080p.

I don't think pixels work the way you think they do.

That aside, you may not realise that most 1080p TVs, by default, scale up the image by about 5%, and yet that somehow doesn't look "smeared to shit." For any natural image source the difference is marginal at worst, and probably likewise for any digitally originated images, since broadcasters deliberately keep them soft for a variety of reasons.

And yes, I'm claiming industry-wide effort to make 1080 appear visibly better than 720.

You do know that it's also actually better than 720p too, right? The clue is in the numbers.

Re:The real problem (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year ago | (#42539631)

Cool story, bro !

Ever thought the unusual resolution was just because of lead-time on panel development and a lot of the lower cost manufacturers just got caught off-caught with HDTV and churns out PC resolution panels as a stop gap measure.

Or that 1080i naturally looks better 720p on some content anyway - even ignoring rescaling.

Internet speed does make a difference (4, Insightful)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year ago | (#42538955)

“Even over the Internet, it’s going to require massive files” While this is true, the speed of the Internet connection makes a huge difference. Unfortunately for the US population, the market is divided among a couple of companies and the slow speeds are offered at bank-robbery prices (e.g. 25/3Mbps for $50). Many countries in Europe get a faster and cheaper connection (e.g. 75/50Mbps for $10) and that changes how people watch TV. With TVs that can play MPEGs directly off some network connected HDD and a laptop that can download any torrents to that HDD, the experience of watching a show is often:
1. Find a torrent on a laptop and click on it to start downloading.
2. Wait a couple of minutes.
3. Navigate TV to the specific file on HDD and start watching.

It is amazing how much the experience changes for the better with faster connection speeds and more reasonable laws on downloading/uploading the content.

Re:Internet speed does make a difference (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#42539377)

Not sure if you're trolling or just uninformed. So maybe I'm feeding.

Torrent files don't download sequentially, from start to finish. Clients that follow spec will randomly select a piece to download, possibly influenced by availability or speed of peers with pieces. The larger the file gets, the lower the odds are that you're not missing an early piece. For a movie that has 1000 pieces, the odds of having ALL of the first 250 pieces at any point before you hit the 95% downloaded point are astronomically low.

(and i haven't seen a bt client yet that you can prefer sequential download with)

It's easy to see why they wrote it that way. If one seed starts with 10 peers, and all of them download in order, then the peers won't have many pieces available from each other. (they'll all have piece 1, then all have piece 2, etc) OTOH if the seed hands out a different piece to all 10 peers, when those complete, now each peer has a choice of 9 other pieces to get from other peers, in addition to the seed, and data starts flowing around between peers instead of just between peers and the seed. And that's what makes bt fast.

Another sales ploy (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about a year ago | (#42538987)

As failure rates of electronics decrease, sets last longer and longer. This seems like just another sales ploy to force us all to buy new TV sets. 3D hasn't been widely received with popularity, so maybe the proles will buy into needing even higher definition!

Form factor will be an issue for 4K adoption (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#42538999)

In coming years, 50-inch or 55-inch screens will have become the sort of standard that 40-inch TVs are now. To exploit 4K, you need a larger form factor. Youâ(TM)re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens.' The same quality/convenience argument leads him to believe that physical media for 4K content will struggle to gain traction among consumers.

I don't get how this person has the foresight to note all these things, but totally gloss over the fact that for many (I may even say most) living rooms, any TV above 46"-47" is simply too large. I will never have a 4K TV in my living room because there is simply nowhere to put a TV that is 55"... it doesn't matter if the manufacturer is selling it, heck it doesn't matter if it is FREE, I have nowhere to put the damn thing. 46" is already way bigger than needed.

4K is so 2007. 8K is already here. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539011)

4K is so 2007, I have seen 8K broadcast streets (all equipment needed to acquire, store, transmit, compress, scale, playback and display) for years as shown at the international broadcasting conference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision_television

Before anyone comes up with, "but the eyes cannot resolve that kind of details", YOU ARE WRONG!
8K is not even a little comparable to HDTV.

I have also seen 4K being displayed, often scanned from 35mm prints, I doesn't have much impact beyond 2K. But this may be due that this is not captured on a digital camera and the grain (effective resolution) of 35 mm is worse than pixels at 4K. The 8K footage I've seen was captured on a 8K digital camera.

Also 300 fps video is freaking amazing, this was a demo from the BBC, your eyes can track fast moving objects and therefor focus on it razer sharp like when you track a moving object in the real-world. Finally we can actually watch Hollywood action sequences which as 24 fps is just a blurry mess of motion blur, or a vomit inducing slideshow.

A station wagon full of Betamax tapes. (4, Funny)

An dochasac (591582) | about a year ago | (#42539019)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of Betamax tapes. Analog of course.

The benefit of 4K TV (4, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#42539083)

If they do crank these out, 4K computer monitors should come down in price. I don't care what happens to the TV market as long as that happens.

Personally (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#42539089)

I have absolutely no issue with physical media. Sure, streaming is convenient. But I can tell you, that physical media saved me from absolute boredom during severe snowstorms, where my only power source was an extension cord, an inverter, and my laptop. For flying, physical media (whether thumb drive or DVD) is a necessity. And for driving, I do not want to be bound by a physical internet connection to enjoy a TV show/movie that I have purchased. I still get DVD's by mail form Netflix, because my monthly subscription pays for itself every time I watch a movie that I would have otherwise seen in theater (theater movie night for 2 runs about $30). Sure, it's not hip or cool. But I still get to watch what I want to.

is this slashdot ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539091)

all the comments here hating on it, gtf off my slashdot you fkin hipsters and get back to reddit or digg where you came from, you have no idea what a geek or nerd is
with some of the atitudes iam reading here we would still be stuck with giant 27" glass boxes and nintendos

real geeks and nerds lap up tech like this, to 8k, 16k and beyond i say !, cant wait for the economies of scale to kick in and get those prices down

The MPAA must be downright giddy (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42539101)

The MPAA must be downright giddy about it. It's the first technical detail I've heard in years that could actually hinder piracy.

4k Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539107)

I'm just pleased that manufactures are finally discovering resolutions higher than 1080p (1920x1080). I understand economies of scale and whatnot peg PC display resolutions to HD video resolutions, but FFS "high def" 1080p was a state of the art res a good 20 years ago. If anything, there's been a steady backslide. in '06 I picked up a not-fancy-all-fancy consumer line dell laptop with a 15" 1920x1200 display. Fantastic, sharp, high res little thing. Now dell doesn't sell anything like that. (Maybe they do on high-end or business line computers, but certainly noting near that on the current consumer line)

So can we now get some reasonably priced 3840x2160 monitors? Please? Pretty please?

Re:4k Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539191)

I wouldn't be shocked if that's the resolution on Apple's next 27" but done in Retina style.

Who cares, this is not the important point! (5, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about a year ago | (#42539127)

The important point is that at last, there'll be computer screens with non-stupid resolutions again! They took my 1920x1200 away, and though I would prefer 3840x2400, I can live with 3840x2160.

At least resolutions are going up again.

Re:Who cares, this is not the important point! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42539553)

2560x1440 is cheaply available (I paid $750 for my Dell U2711 over a year ago), and I'll take it over 1920x1200 any day.

Bigger problem. Visually irrelevant (4, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | about a year ago | (#42539137)

Remember when Blu Ray came out and a number of people were claiming they couldn't see much difference.

Well this time it will actually be true for almost everyone.

Most people don't even have their TV's close enough to visually discern 1080p.

This kind of TV resolution is irrelevant in a normal home setup.

what about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539177)

ssd raid and lto6 tapes ftw

Compression, of course. Even for 4K 3D (sic!) (3, Interesting)

Moskit (32486) | about a year ago | (#42539189)

Pity that submitter/editor did not research further into the topic.

There are already standards (JPEG2000 DCI) that allow to compress 4K stream from about 5Gbit/s to 250 Mbit/s, which is much more manageable. There is at least one commercial vendor (intoPIX) that makes such hardware de/compressors.

If you want to stretch your imagination - start thinking about 3D movies in 4K, which is quite an obvious step. This is 12 Gbit/s uncompressed, but 500 Mbit/s in normal transmission.

Oh, by the way - 8K is already being worked on. And 8K 3D (48Gbit/s uncompressed)...

Who Wants This? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year ago | (#42539197)

If 2K is good enough for theaters (and it is), who is it that wants 4K for their living room?

Re:Who Wants This? (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about a year ago | (#42539311)

I want it on my monitor. Who watches TV anymore anyway?

OK, not a very good point, but basically, I can absolutely use more pixels. youtube videos will still be crappy, but when I write, code or draw, I'll see much more :). I don't think that the fact that those pixels require such large files is very relevant compared to the fact that economies of scale will yield much larger and better screens.

I am still bitter about the whole fullHD scam -- for a scam it was: moitor resolutions went down. and in the 21st century, reversing the direction of progress takes quite a bit of effort.

Re:Who Wants This? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42539587)

Except it's not. I saw Skyfall in theatres last night. I sat in roughly the middle. The theater I went to uses 2K projectors in all except their premium hall. For photographic imagery, it was OK. For text, I could see the pixelation. For high-contrast text (such as the end-credits), I could see the screendoor effect between pixels...

I think there's a strong case for 4K projection in movie theatres. Heck, stuff shot and displayed in IMAX looks much better than even 4K. That should be roughly 16K equivalent resolution?

Who cares about uncompressed size? (1)

sirwired (27582) | about a year ago | (#42539235)

The only people that are going to care about uncompressed size are those that make movies and movie theaters (I'm assuming theaters use uncompressed files, but I honestly don't know.) And a move-maker or theater won't have any problem with it; a simple drive array is just fine to cope with the bandwidth demands.

Just as few (any?) consumers ever get their hands on uncompressed 1080p, so it will be with 4K.

Unless I did the math wrong, it's only triple the size... hardly an insurmountable problem; not even an order of magnitude.

I'm working at CES this year. (4, Interesting)

zerofoo (262795) | about a year ago | (#42539261)

I'm working the Samsung booth at CES this year and I worked it last year. When I saw the engineers (last year) assembling the 4k demo sets, I asked where the content was coming from. The answer was a half-rack of servers behind the wall filled with powerful machines and lots of disks. Clearly not practical for consumers.

This year, the 4k sets are being driven by slightly smaller computers, presumably with compression. Samsung is demoing their compression technology (HEVC) VS h.264. I'm sure the manufacturers know that with the sorry state of networks, 4K video is not possible without more advanced compression algorithms to reduce data rates.

Re:I'm working at CES this year. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539475)

Maybe this will finally pit some consumer electronics companies against the US cable barons.

As high-bandwidth Internet traffic becomes more important to the tech industry, more and more of it will turn against the fuedal data lords.

content content content (1, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#42539277)

Watching TV just ain't right since they did away with interesting programs. I really don't give a rat's ass about resolution since movie channels repeat everything I've seen and channels like History and Discovery no longer show history or real science/engineering programs. That's my Gripe Of The Month.

HEVC (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#42539295)

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) did a study to evaluate the subjective video quality of HEVC at resolutions higher than HDTV. The study was done with three videos with resolutions of 3840Ã--1744 at 24 fps, 3840Ã--2048 at 30 fps, and 3840Ã--2160 at 30 fps. The five second video sequences showed people on a street, traffic, and a scene from the open source computer animated movie Sintel. The video sequences were encoded at five different bitrates using the HM-6.1.1 HEVC encoder and the JM-18.3 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC encoder. The subjective bit rate reductions were determined based on subjective assessment using mean opinion score values. The study compared HEVC MP with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC HP and showed that for HEVC MP the average bitrate reduction based on PSNR was 44.4% while the average bitrate reduction based on subjective video quality was 66.5%.

High Efficiency Video Coding [wikipedia.org]

Re:HEVC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539523)

The JM Reference encoder is awful in every way. Comparing new enoders to anything but x264 is pretty much just fudging numbers. (In the worst case the size of files x264 produces is about 50% from reference encoder at the same PSNR, Much much more for other sources)

Do larger images compress better? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#42539373)

Do 4 times the pixels need 4 times the bandwidth? I would think larger blocks of solid colors, simple gradients, etc. would compress much at a much higher ratio than smaller ones. Or do they still encode the same size of pixel blocks as the old standards?

As for digital artifacts, I find that applying a very light noise filter (artificial 'film grain') conceals obvious banding, blockyness, etc. improving perceived (but not actual) quality.

No need to upgrade then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539391)

To exploit 4K, you need a larger form factor. You’re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens.

Then there is no reason to upgrade to 4K. Does there not come a point where you no longer really need to upgrade but what you have is simply good enough? I think television has reached that point.

HEVC is almost here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539393)

High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265) is about to become the next video compression standard. It was developed for high resolution video such as 4K.

Where have I heard this before? (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#42539415)

So a repeat of the argument against HDTV. It took the media companies 10 years to catch up, and the same will happen again. Early adopters get what they deserve.

The future of TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539519)

In the future there will be TVs so HD that you will be able to see human cells.
Just kidding. Eventually they will get to a realistic limit.

Just to reiterate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539601)

No amount of additional pixels or sound quality can make up for bad writing, bad acting, or having M Night Shyamalan as a director.

HTPC (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | about a year ago | (#42539649)

I have my PC connected to a 57" plasma 1080p HDTV. I love Steam, and I tried to play games on the TV using steam before big picture. I could not read the text unless I was 5' away, and that was primarily because it was massively pixelated.

This format would help deliver sharper text for my HTPC. I would love it.

Other areas that will be affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539671)

While I look forward to 4k, the size increase of the media isn't just going to affect how TV works, it's going to inevitably affect home monitors that graphic artists use, which in turn is going to force image hosting sites to really ramp up the maximum allowed GET/POST file sizes, which in our current internet, is going to result in servers that are a walk in the part to DDoS/abuse by filling HD's, overflowing buffers easier, increasing IDS/IPS load to parse terrabyes of data from single attacks etc. It's going to be brutal until we start getting much better tools in our admin toolkit to deal with the increase in bandwidth that will accompany 4k TV and content.

Let's go back in time... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42539687)

Though 1080p resolutions represent the next step in high-definition video, standards for the format have yet to emerge and no one’s really figured out how to distribute video, with its massive file footprint, efficiently and cost effectively. How exactly does one distribute files that can run to hundreds of megabytes? ... Given that uncompressed 1080p footage has a bit-rate of about 75MB/s, and even the fastest hard drives operate at only about 35MB/s, compression isn’t merely likely, it’s necessary. ... Kotsaftis says manufacturers will probably begin shipping and promoting larger TVs. 'In coming years, 32-inch or 36-inch screens will have become the sort of standard that 28-inch TVs are now. To exploit 1080p, you need a larger form factor. You’re just not going to notice enough of a difference on smaller screens.' The same quality/convenience argument leads him to believe that physical media for 1080p content will struggle to gain traction among consumers. '1080p implies going back to physical media. Even over the Internet, it’s going to require massive files and, given the choice, most people would happily settle for a 480p file anyway.'"

TLDR; old man doesn't like change.

Okay, that's just me being a little bit facetious. But honestly, this part:

Given that uncompressed 4K footage has a bit-rate of about 600MB/s, and even the fastest solid-state drives operate at only about 500MB/s, compression isn’t merely likely, it’s necessary.

...is just stupid. Why would anyone think uncompressed was ever even under consideration?

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