Sony X9000A 4K TV: a more home-sized Ultra High Definition TV

David Phelan goggles at Sony's box

As you’ll know by now, 4K or Ultra High Definition as some
manufacturers call it, is the coming thing in TV. It means resolution that’s
four times current Full HD. So instead of 1920 x 1080 pixels, it manages 3840 x
2160 – that’s over 8 million pixels in total.

It is picture quality that has to be seen to be fully appreciated, and has a level of realism that the screen makes you feel you’re simply looking through a window. More so if there’s landscape on screen, less so if you’re watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Anyway, this is technology you can buy today. There are several models in the shops, one from Sony, one from LG. Both cost well over £20,000.

In other words, it’s very pricey and that size is way too big for most living rooms.

Sony is the first company to solve this problem, which it’s done by introducing smaller screen sizes. Its 55in and 65in X9000A 4K TVs – on display at the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas – will be available by the summer, at considerably lower prices. Though they still won’t be cheap.

After all, this is amazing tech that is instantly recognisable as being leagues ahead of everything we have at the moment. Blockbuster movies are shot in 4K, so they’ll look particularly impressive on these screens.

Because that’s the other problem with 4K: there’s no content available. As Steve Withers, Assistant Editor at avforums.com explains: “While 35mm film doesn't actually have a pixel structure because it's a photo-chemical process, its resolution is equivalent to about 5K. That means all those films shot on 35mm over the last 100 years will look fantastic when converted to the new 4K format and most film restoration is now being done at 4K resolution. People seem to think that only films shot on 4K digital cameras will look good in 4K but there is in fact a vast back catalogue of films just waiting to be rediscovered when 4K goes mainstream.”

So it exists, but there’s no easy way to deliver it. Blu-ray and DVD have much lower resolutions and capacities that are too small, so they won’t do.

Sony seems to have addressed this issue, too. At the launch of the X9000A TVs, Sony announced that it would provide customers with access to seven 4K movies on “the world’s first 4K Ultra HD delivery solution complete with pre-loaded native 4K entertainment” according to the company.

This uses the 4K Ultra HD Video Player, which might mean supplying customers with a server or some kind of download system (though you’d better make sure you don’t have a download cap on your broadband).

On the other hand, there’s always upscaling. That’s where lower-resolution images are made to look better. This is often pretty dodgy, but the chip in the 84in Sony TV is astonishingly good. In behind-closed-doors demonstrations, Sony’s engineers showed upscaled pictures which were almost indistinguishable from native 4K content. Expect the 55in and 65in models to have upscalers to match.

This quality of upscaling is essential as nearly everything you’ll watch will be at lower resolution. Sony’s image processing has been consistently masterful over the years, so expectations are high.

Sound on the Sony TVs should also be much richer than on most flatscreens thanks to the large side-mounted speakers (though they do require a bit more living room space).

The truth is that in 10 years’ time we may well all be watching 4K TV just as often as we now see HD content. But we’re not there yet. Still, if you’d like to see the highest-resolution picture available, these TVs will be worth saving up for.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power