Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goodbye cable, Hello 4K?

It was ironic that on my way to last night’s SMPTE meeting at Channel 5 Boston, I dropped off my cable TV box at a Verizon store. I am now officially cordless - no more cable TV for me! The only way I can see Channel 5's programming is on their website!

The meeting was a presentation from Sony talking about 4K; specifically 4K TVs and projection. The message was; 4K is here, and NHK in Japan is working on 8K.

They had a 65” 4K TV ($5K for 4K), the $650 “hockey-puck” 4K home video server (which only works with Sony content and a Sony 4K TV) and a 4K Projector (and it was not one of the big “Cinema” projectors, but one of their “home or business” units.)

Up close the picture on both was very impressive. I’m still not convinced that you need 4K in the home unless you have a really large display, and/or sit very close to the display. It would make no sense to replace my 42” HD screen with a 42” 4K one. And, of course, given the lack of 4K material, buying a 4K display is more about what you'll be able to watch in a year or two. But assuming the material is out there, and you want an 80” screen? (and you're willing to fill your room up...)

Of course, where are you going to get the content? Several people made jokes about whether Comcast supported 4K, and Sony’s only video content player works only with Sony’s movies. And Sony isn’t sure if 4K Bluray will be released or not; we were told it was a business decision, not a technology one.

Actually, what was most interesting was the projected sales of 4K sets, which showed where the projected largest market for 4K is: China. Evidently the Chinese skipped HD and are now jumping into 4K.

And the cable box? Well, I hardly watch broadcast TV these days, and when you add up the monthly rental price for the box ($12 per month) plus the HD package, it didn't seem worth it when the only shows I watched this past month were two episodes of Saturday Night Live.

So I decided to get rid of it and see how things go.

And Verizon charged me $10 to “return” the cable box. Ouch!

No comments: