I’ve been in this industry for more than 30 years. Who remembers CGA, EGA, VGA and XGA? Or 240 lines, 480 lines? What about SXGA & WXGA? Now you see where I’m going. Before dots per inch it was lines per inch. It’s been a long transformation and screen resolution has been steadily and incrementally improving for several decades now.
When I first heard about 4K resolution only about 18 months ago, I thought ok, the technologists and marketers are finally running out of innovation and this is just another 3D bust. (Remember the buzz about 3D? No? Neither do I.)
But then I saw a 4K screen. Does everyone understand what 4K is?
I won’t even go into the technical explanation. For a non-technical person, simply envision four HD TV’s (the kind you’ve been seeing in Best Buy and Sam’s Club for the last 10 years) adjacent to one another in a 2×2 video wall two high by two wide forming one big image. Now take away the black bezels that separate the screens and you essentially have one big 4K TV screen. Right, it’s four times the resolution of an HD screen packed into a single screen.
But getting back to “Then I saw a 4K screen…” You see virtually everything! Yes HD looks great from your couch but 4K looks good from less than three feet away. It looks life like from a short distance. It can be like looking at real person one on one through a window. You want to walk around to the back of the TV to see if someone is there. That’s how life like it really is! Kind of eerie in fact!
I thought to myself these are so good it will take some time for the price to come down. But within 12 months they have come down to under than $2000.
Movies shot in 4K are probably the driving force for the quick arrival and affordability of 4K TV’s. When Hollywood innovates, the entertainment industry is affected and in turn the consumer electronics world is affected.
And then who? The pro AV world of course! What it means to the Pro AV world – All of our devices that finally became HD compatible now have reason to be replaced with “4K compatible” ones. Extron, Crestron, all the box manufacturers not to mention the projector manufacturers have a new generation of compatibility to build around.
The most obvious one is cameras. The camera manufacturers are surprisingly slow coming out with a boat load of 4K cameras. Whatever happened to cameras? Can you say “cell phone”?
With the new 4K resolution revolution, we are seeing and will continue to see innovation in digital signage, the fashion world, advertising, etc. I think you will start seeing more interactive screens and things like virtual digital assistants like concierges, receptionists, etc., the stuff of science fiction and the Jetsons of yesteryear.
What’s the next wave? 8K? Yes, it’s already out there so stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted.