2160p: The Dawn of a New Format?

Posted By Elizabeth Kiehner on January 10, 2013 07:04 am | Permalink
By Elizabeth Kiehner

LAS VEGAS - Here at the CES show, there was no shortage of dazzling monitors and displays, but as a cord-cutter who consumes a vast inventory of media on my computer and tablet devices, I wonder who is purchasing these screens?  Last year China saw a 25 percent increase in sales of 3D-TVs that require glasses, currently making them the largest market for 3D in the world.  

This year, 4K TVs were the big trend at CES but there is still very little native 4K content out there. Ultra-D 4K glasses-free 3D technology by Stream TV Networks aims to change that through their technology which uses a clever algorithm to up-res existing 1080p content. In fact, Ultra-D claims to accept any source content and make it look great on a 4K TV, or a laptop or tablet with Retina display.  As of right now, there is in fact very little content that takes advantage of the Retina display, even through device manufactures are pushing this as a reason to upgrade... but perhaps that is about to change. 

At the convention Panasonic also debuted their own prototype 4K OLED screen, while Sony rolled out their own 4K screens in more accessible price ranges than the previously announced 84-inch TV with a $25,000 price-tag and the limitations of pre-loaded content. In addition to the TV systems, Sony plans to remaster Blu-ray materials into a 4K friendly format, which would exponentially increase the amount of available content.

Those who buy into Stream TV won't have to wait for remastered Blu-ray content from Sony. Later this year Stream TV Networks will release their SeeCube 4K Box, which will play available Blu-ray, sync up with your iTunes library, Xbox, iPad or iPhone. For content owners and distributors, they will release a SeeCube server promising to be the fastest way to distribute additional 2160p content. With major brands and new industry players both looking to create, format and distribute 2160p content to the home viewer, the question now is will 2160p become the new norm? Will consumers appreciate the vivid, enhanced media experience here in the US, the way they have embraced Blu-ray, or will this be another big hit in China?

Elizabeth Kiehner is principal/executive producer at New York City's Thornberg & Forester (http://www.thornbergandforester.com), a design and digital production studio.