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Author Topic: Why 4K matters.  (Read 1890 times)
Kolor-Pikker
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« on: August 26, 2013, 04:06:58 AM »
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Starting this thread because I noticed a factual error in the article, the "Deliver and timing" segment has this written:
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If you have a Macbook Pro Retina, recall that these laptops have a screen resolution of  3840X2400. Ultra HD 4K is 3840 x 2160. What a coincidence!
...When actually the 13" MBPr has a resolution of 2560x1600 and the 15" is 2880x1800.

The only 4K monitor on the market as of right now is the Asus PQ321, and it costs a smooth $3,500. I do agree however, that Apple is going to be quick to release some 4K displays, seeing as how they mention that their new Mac Pro can run three 4K monitors; strange of them to claim that, if they didnt have any.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 04:50:00 AM »
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Interesting article, thanks Michael!

Starting this thread because I noticed a factual error in the article, the "Deliver and timing" segment has this written:...When actually the 13" MBPr has a resolution of 2560x1600 and the 15" is 2880x1800.

The only 4K monitor on the market as of right now is the Asus PQ321, and it costs a smooth $3,500. I do agree however, that Apple is going to be quick to release some 4K displays, seeing as how they mention that their new Mac Pro can run three 4K monitors; strange of them to claim that, if they didnt have any.

In fact the Asus uses a Sharp part that can also be bought in a Sharp screen: http://www.sharp-world.com/products/professional-monitors/products/pn-k321/index.html

That one costs 320,000 Yen in Japan right now (roughly 3,300 US$) and is in stock. I have seen it and it is real nice!

TV wise, the Sony 55 inch 4K can be had for 350,000 Yen. Extremely nice also.

But the Chinese company Seki already sells a basic 4K screen for less than 1,300 US$ in the US market.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
hjulenissen
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 06:32:47 AM »
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Some comments:
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There are also those that say that unless you're watching a really large screen you won't be able to see the difference. I'll simply reply to that with the observation that I've seen enough 4K demos at trade shows and conferences that this is nonsense.
I can't help but think that some factor of this might be non-ideal equipment/content. This does not make your observation any less (or more) accurate, but it might explain the apparent descrepancy between theory and practice: while 720p might be theoretically "sufficient" for a given display size/viewer distance, once you factor in Bayer camera sensor, multiple passes of scaling/sharpening, suboptimal lossy coding, display pixel shape, etc, simply moving to higher resolution for every component might "shift" those suboptimal characteristics into higher frequencies (that are less visible).

Perhaps (many of) the same quality gains could be had at 720p if every manufacturer followed "best practice", but perhaps those same manufacturers have more to gain by branding improved equipment/content as "UltraHD"?
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Delivery of 4K content is also an issue. There simply isn't the bandwidth available for 4K on current cable or satellite systems. Not unless you want to cut the number of channels available by 75%. Broadcast bandwidth is an expensive commodity.
One might expect/hope progress in video codecs to continue for some time (improved per-pixel quality per unit of bandwidth). This means that one can either increase the number of channels, or the quality (e.g. resolution) of each channel, for a fixed total bandwidth.

It seems that market mechanisms favours increasing the number of (silly) channels, rather than increasing the quality over some minimum quality. They will happily sell "HD" channels, but at the same time constrain bandwidth so that the effective quality is comparable to SD.

I have been subscribing to a realtime webbased streaming solution (from HBO), but the quality and robustness is far from my traditional fibre-based cable box. It does give me "Game of Thrones" episodes within 24h instead of 1 year, which just shows that content is king, I guess.

It seems to me that the pirates have found the solution: P2P. If Sony/Apple & friends did P2P (using each customers PC/PVR as a proxy), then distribution of very large files seems to go effortless and inexpensive, exploiting unused bandwidth/storage for each user. It might even work for "semi-realtime" playback of sports and news. The actual payload could be encrypted or whatever is needed in order for the content providers to demand my money.

I think that other aspects of the "ultra-HD" spec are just as interesting as spatial resolution: 120fps, ITU BT 2020 color space, 12 bits per primary. It remains to be seens how much of those specs will be actually utilized in shipping equipment and media. With todays tvs offering very large DR (bragging about even more), one might hope for a system that allows capturing and delivering content to suit.

-h
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 06:44:42 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
michael
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 06:49:12 AM »
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If one uses SwitchResX the Retina Display on the Macbook Pro Retina can be driven to 3840X2400. Works fine, just can't read the menu text without a magnifier.

Michael
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 08:48:39 AM by michael » Logged
michael
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 06:51:55 AM »
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Have you watched 720P broadcast lately? Except for certain sports (football) I find other types of programming unwatchable.

Michael
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JanneAavasalo
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 08:40:10 AM »
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4K in itself doesn't mean much to me, don't shoot video and don't even own a TV...

...but what I am pleased about is the push this is probably going to give the monitor manufacturers to move away from the poor "standard" of FullHD. This will hopefully bring the 4K and lesser resolution (but still higher than we have now) monitors to "mainstream" and we'll have more to choose from and at lower prices.
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BJL
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 10:07:42 AM »
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4K in itself doesn't mean much to me ... but ... This will hopefully bring the 4K and lesser resolution (but still higher than we have now) monitors to "mainstream" and we'll have more to choose from and at lower prices.
Agreed!  For still images, about 4,000 pixels in the long dimension (so about 12MP) is roughly a match for the resolution of (good, young) eyes for typical careful viewing, from a distance comparable to the diagonal dimension.

Of course for "verticals" it would be nice to have screens 4000 pixels _high_, but maybe a rotating stand is an easier goal. Or a "4K" hand-holdable device.
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NancyP
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 10:50:17 AM »
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My only experience with ultra-HD monitors is with radiology monitors, which "look like 1x film" (grain size of radiographic film is larger, as are the sheet sizes). Having started my medical career when CT images were brain-only and about 144 pixels per slice, I am duly impressed. I never thought that film would be dispensable for straight (non-computed) imaging, but I was o so wrong.
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Isaac
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 11:52:34 AM »
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Thanks for writing about 4K, it was all interesting to me because I know so little about 4K.
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greyscale
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 12:57:51 PM »
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Micheal, U may find this of interest.

http://hdguru.com/sony-to-slash-its-ultra-hdtv-prices/

Also, just found this on Utube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZqhA3iIH
 Be Warned, the video is about 1hr in length.

John Donlan
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 04:21:55 PM by greyscale » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 08:14:14 PM »
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Have you watched 720P broadcast lately? Except for certain sports (football) I find other types of programming unwatchable.

Michael
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Because of the 'low' resolution?  Or because of the highly compressed signals sent through by cable/satellite companies?  I'm assuming you're referring to North American football.  Are the U.S. networks still producing football in 720?
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2013, 02:31:37 AM »
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I actually find that one my 46" tv, even live studio SD (576i50) broadcasts from our national broadcaster with sensible bitrates, good studio lighting, etc looks reasonable. In comparision, "HD" content filmed with poor cameras, poor processing, low bitrates etc is just annoying.

Bluray is (of course) significantly better.

Many shows etc appears to be transcoded from (US) 480i60 to 576i50, and looks quite poor. For some reason, animations in "NASA"-type programs are the absolutely worst. Vector-oriented graphics showing some space vehicle or animated planet trajectory seems to be scaled using nearest neighbor, and frame-rate converted absolutely horrible. I don't understand how this is let through (I assumed that tv broadcasters used some hw/sw package for transcoding that put considerable resources into optimizing the output).

-h
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davidgp
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2013, 05:10:19 AM »
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<pre>
Then there's that little SD card slot. While Blockbuster and other video stores are going out of business, and DVDs and Blu-Ray discs seem like last year's news, imagine being able to buy or rent movies on a SD card. The retail price of an 8GB SD card is now under $10. At wholesale they are probably just a couple of bucks. Now add the fact that an SD card is so small and light that it will fit in a regular mail envelope, and here we have other delivery mechanism. As I wrote keep this in mind, because I'll have more to say about this shortly.
</pre>

I don't see this... iTunes Store and Netflix show us that you can deliver HD content via HD, eating away sales of DVD's and BlueRay discs (who in earth would want to watch a movie in a DVD?... they always force you to watch some stupid menu... without letting you go directly to the movie... waste of time). When the 4k tvs are mainstream, it will also be streaming or download in 4k... shipping video content in physical form like bluerays or SD cards fells so last decade...
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2013, 05:21:33 AM »
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I don't see this... iTunes Store and Netflix show us that you can deliver HD content via HD, eating away sales of DVD's and BlueRay discs (who in earth would want to watch a movie in a DVD?... they always force you to watch some stupid menu... without letting you go directly to the movie... waste of time). When the 4k tvs are mainstream, it will also be streaming or download in 4k... shipping video content in physical form like bluerays or SD cards fells so last decade...
Bluray seems to be worse than DVD in terms of pushing irrelevant visual crap on the customer (The FBI still have no jurisdiction where I live, and I have no interest in knowing that Disney are releasing "Pocahontas 3" this summer).

On the fair side, HBO Nordic offers web streaming that is also cluttered by a messy web design. I.e. more button clicks/mouse moves/waiting time before you can get your "fix".

I don't see flash cards as a viable distribution mechanism for the masses. For die-hard video nerds, perhaps, but then the big studios never seems to care all that much about videophiles. The people at large have embraced web-based distribution of music and film, I don't see that changing anytime soon.

-h
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2013, 10:10:07 AM »
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If one uses SwitchResX the Retina Display on the Macbook Pro Retina can be driven to 3840X2400. Works fine, just can't read the menu text without a magnifier.

However, the OP is correct in that the native resolution of the 15" retina display is 2880x1800.
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