CES 2014: 4K and 3D

There has been a lot of 4K news at CES, no surprise there. Computer monitors make sense and a 4K computer monitor should excite anyone who uses desktop monitors. 

TVs are a different story. When talking TVs, the important thing to remember is that you don't sit nearly as close to them. When you sit farther back, even the most perfect human eye can only differentiate a certain level of detail. Read more here. Here's the quick version; this diagram shows you the screen size versus viewing distance chart and shows at which range a given resolution is actually valuable.


You'll be surprised to see, that most of us could actually have a 720p TV and not be able to tell the difference from 1080p. So why bother with 4K (1080p is 1920x1080 pixels, 4K is approximately 2x that in both directions - 3840x2160, or 2160p)? It is a marketing gimmick in many ways. Realistically there has been no convincing argument why we all need it.

This brings us to Vizio. Vizio is doing two interesting things.

  1. Kill 3D TVs. I've been saying this for ages, 3D as it exists today, is pointless. Lots of extra hardware, increased cost, decreased convenience, for a negligible (if any) enhancement to entertainment value.
  2. Reasonably priced 4K TVs. If 4K has a chance of taking off, it is because Vizio is taking their pricing very seriously. Their prices are almost low enough to fall within the "well I don't need it, but for just a few bucks more why not?" range. That's where 3D was eventually too, so we'll see if it takes off.

I'm not sold on 4K TVs, and never have been on 3D in the home. One thing is abundantly clear, the television manufacturers are desperately looking for the next big thing.