by Charles Hall
When setmakers, CE retailers and broadband services ask what’s holding back sales of UHD (4K) TVs, they should go look in a mirror.
There are four major and widespread fallacies about UHD (4K) that are seriously holding back sales of UHD (4K) TV sets. The industry has only itself to blame. We base this on having watched hundreds of hours of videos from multiple devices and services that were in many different resolutions during the last three months on two different UHD TVs (Samsung and LG) and making upwards of a hundred visits to retailers and trade show booths to watch every brand of UHD TV and asking hundreds of questions. Three visitors to my home have confirmed my findings; one was knowledgeable about this industry but had never watched a UHD TV except at trade shows and two were novices about the matter.
Fallacy 1. There’s no point in buying a UHD set until there’s more UHD content. A UHD set with good upconversion technology makes an immediate and easily seen improvement in most every video, whether pay TV, local broadcasts, Blu-ray or from an OTT service. In some cases the upconversion of 1080p to UHD that a UHD TV does is better than the upconversion that Netflix has done to 4K with older movies, “Ghostbusters” being a prime example. I have a perfectly good and wonderful HD TV sitting in a back room but could never go back. I would not ever think of watching a football game at someone else’s house on an old-fashioned 1080p HD set.
Fallacy 2. You can’t see an improvement on a UHD set unless it’s 60 or 70 inches or larger. To that we say “Bull!” after watching on 55-inch Samsung and LG UHD sets. About 85% of what I watch is noticeably better including some, but not all, old black and whites.
Fallacy 3. To sell UHD TVs, stores have to show made-for-UHD videos on the TVs in their showroom. Stores and the setmakers that set up their displays are causing “oohs” and “ahs,” but seriously reducing sales of UHD sets by showing those special made-for-UHD videos but not what customers will see when they get the set home. Instead, they should be demonstrating with local pay TV channels, especially the ones that upconvert well; OTT services, both Netflix’s UHD shows and YouTube; and Blu-ray and DVD discs such as “Stargate” that upconvert well. Then customers could immediately see how much better the content that is currently coming into their homes would look. Stores should take their made-for-UHD videos out and burn them. Sales would go up.
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