4K Peeks Out with Sony’s Restoration of ‘Lawrence’

3D hasn’t caught on in the home in a big way, has it? Sales
results were nothing like HD, which any but the blind could
see was vastly superior to standard def TVs — and even they
could hear HD’s much-improved 5.1 surround sound. As a result
of its quick acceptance by consumers, HD has caused broadband
services to up their bandwidth. A new TV technology called 4K
could have the same impact, although its commercialization at
affordable prices is a few years away.

4K images have four times as much detail and resolution as HD
and Blu-ray. 4K shows 4,096 pixels on each horizontal line and
2,160 pixels on each vertical line for a total of 8.8 million
pixels. The current HD TV broadcasts and Blu-ray discs have
2.2 million pixels per frame.

The Olympics are often used to debut new technologies. 3D was
first used widely at the Beijing Olympics. With Panasonic as a
main backer, some of the Olympics in London were broadcast in
4K to special 4K TV sets located around the area.

There’s a long, torturous and expensive road from there to
widespread consumer acceptance, however.

The Sunday edition of the New York Times had a lengthy report
and examples of the advantages of 4K at:


It told how Sony, always a backer of new TV technology, is
restoring the 50 year-old “Lawrence of Arabia,” making it into
a 4K version. Such an epic film with its scope and scenery
could not even be made today, it said.

The Times says, “The 8.8 million pixels in 4K are enough to
reproduce all the visual information in a frame of 35 mm film
— every detail of the image, the full dynamic range of bright
to dark, the entire spectrum of colors, even the sheen of
‘grain’ that distinguishes film from video.”

Sony had a nationwide limited theatrical release of “Lawrence”
that started October 4. A Blu-ray disc of the 4K restoration
is due out November 13, although the price was not given. It’s
a Blu-ray that has been mastered from the same 4K restoration
as the theatrical release. Technicians had to “down-res” the
data files to Blu-ray’s HD format because there are no 4K
disc-players or TVs on the market.

Now, let’s say 4K takes off like HD. Broadband service
providers will need to markedly upgrade their bandwidth and
hope that new compression schemes come to market quickly.

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