This afternoon, I finally had a chance to walk the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
And that meant that I finally got a chance to see the product that tech enthusiasts have been hyperventilating about for years — the super-high definition “4K” TV.
I saw a lot of them, in fact.
I even saw some curved ones, which send tech nuts into veritable paroxysms of excitement.
And I’m here to bring you some bad news.
These new innovations do not live up to the hype.
True, 4K TVs are not worse than normal HD TVs, the way the supposedly ground-shaking TVs of a few years ago — 3D TVs — were. That “innovation” was just a mass-hallucination by everyone in the industry, and it threatened to make watching TV unpleasant. Fortunately, 3D died a quick death.
Also true, 4K TVs do, in fact, look sharper than regular HD TVs. But they do not offer anywhere near the same leap in sharpness and enjoyment that the jump from regular-def to high-def did. So don’t prepare to be astounded.
As I was getting my first look at 4K TVs today, I asked myself how much the 4K vs. HD feature would be worth to me.
I concluded that, if both TVs were the same price, I’d take the 4K. (Why not? It’s sharper.)
I concluded that, if the 4K were maybe 10% or 20% more than the HD, I might even shell out that much extra for the 4K.
But there is no way that I would pay the 2X premium that 4K TVs are now commanding.
A 65-inch Samsung 4K TV sells for $US3,200 on Amazon.
A 65-inch Samsung HD TV sells for less than half has much, $US1,427.
If you want to shell out 2X for a new 4K, be my guest. I won’t be joining you. I also certainly won’t be upgrading either of my HD TVs to 4K. Those TVs are only a few years old, and I’m expecting to get at least another decade out of them.
And that brings us to the other supposedly awe-inspiring TV innovation of late — the curved screen.
I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think this innovation might actually make the TV worse. It certainly offers no advantage that I can see. Maybe the one person in the room who occupies the one seat that puts the person’s head at the exact focal point of the curve will have a microscopically superior viewing experience, but everyone else in the room will be worse off.
So if and when I ever get around to buying a new 4K TV, I’m not going to be getting one with a curved screen.
Sorry to dash your hopes and excitement.
4K TVs are indeed sharper (and, therefore, better) than regular HD, but they’re not 2X better. And I don’t know why anyone would want the curved screen.