January 18, 2015
Unlike last year when smart wearables and augmented reality (AR) devices were the name of the game at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015), this time around it was 4K devices that stole the show. There was an entire gamut of 4K gadgetry on display, amid all that many top-notch players, including rivals, such as Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and others announced a partnership called the UHD Alliance, which plans to set global standards for 4K content, terminology, and delivery.
What is 4K?
4K, or its moniker Ultra High Definition (UHD), is the next most interesting step up when it comes to HD video resolution. As per the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 4K videos are the ones that display at least 8 million active pixels (4K x 2K) in a frame, with a lower resolution boundary of 3,840 x 2,160. Other variations of 4K digital content do exist, but the 3,840 x 2,160 resolution is currently considered the standard UHD. In simple terms, 4K content offers twice the number of pixels offered by the current HD standard 1080p (1,920 x 1,080).
Best 4K Devices at CES 2015
4K rivalry has come a long way with Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Sharp – all vying for proving their mettle as the best tech and innovation player. When it comes to the best CES 2015 4K UHD TVs for home viewing purposes, the LG 77EG9700 curved screen, Panasonic TC-50CX600U, Samsung’s JS Series and Sony’s X9 and X8 devices took the overall 4K experience to an entirely different level.
As a travel, photography and videography enthusiast, I find myself more interested in the 4k content development. Sony pulled the wraps of its 4K Action Cam, a cute tiny POV camera, pegged to compete with those rugged and action-packed GoPro devices. The Sony 4K Action Cam comes equipped with a unique digital image stabilization engine that could be tuned to alleviate motor vibration and drone shake.
For some serious photography aficionados, Panasonic rolled out its new range of cameras and 4k camcorders at CES 2015. The Panasonic Lumix SZ, Lumix TS, Lumix ZS devices were definitely head turners, and it’s safe to say that the new crop of Japanese firm’s burgeoning arsenal of 4K devices looked just as intimidating as its existing ones. Speaking of existing devices, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4AGC deserves a special mention as the world’s first mirror less digital single lens 4k resolution camera. Not many devices played 4K card like the way DMC-GH4AGC, which earned its name over perfection and precision.
Is 4K Technology Really a “Game Changer”?
While all the hardware players take care of standardization process, the top global content providers Netflix, Disney, Fox, DirecTV and Warner Bros will be the sole content drivers in the UHD alliance with an agenda of making the technology mainstream.
As per The Verge, H.S. Kim, a Samsung displays executive, was quoted as saying, “This is a game changer,” during announcement of the South Korean giant’s intention to join the UHD Alliance at the CES 2015. It is going to be interesting to see when and how this Avengers-style alliance turns fruitful.
Early Adopters Are the Key To 4K’s Success
Since time immemorial, the success and failure of a new technology breakthrough depends upon its ability to entice the early adopters, which in the 4K case should be content generators – photographers and videographers. As the momentum continues to pile amid the 4K ecosystem, the technology will only see widespread acceptance once photographers and videographers start making the switch from their conventional platforms.
At present, the delivery method, development and consumption of 4K videos is a tad difficult but the ice is expected to melt over the coming months, and the announcement of UHD alliance only supports the case of 4K video cameras, 4K home viewing devices and compatible media.
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