CES 2013 Wrap-Up: Ultra HD Everywhere

January 17, 2013

It’s time to look back at my hopes and dreams for this year’s just concluded International CES and see what came to fruition.

“A new TV display technology such as OLED or crystal LED that actually ships before the next CES.”

Well, almost every TV vendor showed off their new Ultra HD TV wares. Sony seemed to gain the most attention with its OLED 4K TV. Ultra HD sets were also announced by Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and Samsung among others. Our friends at Engadget put together a comprehensive review of all things Ultra HD at CES. There were also some demos of 3D without glasses.

The folks at THX also put together a good piece on what you need to enjoy Ultra HD.

“An affordable 4K HDTV”

Vizio introduced their XVT Series TVs that are designed to be “affordable”. At this point, we’ll have to take VIZIO’s word for it as pricing and a release date haven’t been shared yet.  The lack of pricing and release dates for Ultra HD was a common theme from TV manufacturers.

“A streaming box and service that exceeds the audio and video quality of Blu-ray”

Some news here. Sony stated that they will launch a 4K video streaming service to support their new Ultra HD sets. Netflix and Samsung showed a prototype of 4K video streaming also.  Netflix recently made a higher bit rate version of its 1080P video streams called “Super HD” to select customers. No signs of a 4K streaming box. However, Broadcom did announce its BCM7445 chip capable of handling 4K video. It supports H.265 (also known as MPEG5 or HEVC) which only requires half the bandwidth of the popular H.264 standard. Perhaps the next Playstation will be the trailblazer once again and be the first box to handle 4K.

“An audio or video technology with content that actually takes advantage of it”

A miss here. While Sony did announce that they will create Blu-rays from 4K masters, the Blu-rays themselves will still output at 1080P. Disappointing. Except for the aforementioned 4K streaming options, all of the other 4K content announcements seemed to focused on upscaling.

A Smart TV without a crowded user interface

Signs point to “No”.  Exhibit A here.

An appearance by the TiVo Mini

Yes, ZatzNotFunny has it covered. Set to launch this spring, the Mini, a TiVo extender for other rooms, will require a monthly fee. From the demo I saw, it does appear to have a snappy interface.

That’s a wrap. Did you see or read about anything at CES that impressed you?




Tags: 4K, CES, Netflix, Samsung, Sony, THX, TiVo, Ultra HD, VIZIO

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