Eyes On — Pixels Versus Colors for New TVs
Samsung shows off it's (soon to come?) OLED TV.
CREDIT: Sean Captain
BERLIN There are two new abbreviations in TV — OLED, or organic light-emitting diodes, and 4K LCD, with four times as many pixels as HDTVs.
The longer wait has been for OLED, and Samsung showed off its first TV with the technology today (Aug. 30) in Berlin — the ES9500. OLED, a technology that lights the pixels directly instead of with a backlight as in LCD screens, has been kicking around for more than decade. Samsung first put it into a 24-inch prototype in 2004. Now the screen reaches 55 inches and will reach the market sometime, at some price probably very high. The company didn't provide those details.
[SEE ALSO: What is OLED Television?]
For causal viewing in a bright room, a people may not get much out of OLED. But with the right lighting, they will see far more contrast, which provides detail, and 20 percent more color. It could also be good for fans of sports or action movies. The OLED pixels turn on and off 1,000 times per second, allowing the screen to show super smooth movement.
Among the features is also a curiosity — the ability to show two programs the same screen, using 3D glasses. Instead of showing one program from two angles, as in 3D. The set shows two completely different videos — one only viewable through one pair of glasses and one only through the other. Each pair also has it's own headphones. It's perfect for antisocial people who want to watch TV together without actually watching TV together.
Sony's super-high resolution
While Samsung goes for color, Sony goes for resolution. Here at IFA, it showed off an 84-inch "4K" TV, the BRAVIA KD-84X9005. The screen has a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels, four times the 1920 by 1080 pixels of the best HDTVs today. You may have seen it in the many movie theaters that have Sony's 4K digital projectors. Sony in fact projected a recording it made of the Berlin Philharmonic that appeared very detailed but not discernably four times as much.
You won't see 4K at home for a while. No one is broadcasting anything close to that, nor is it on Blu-rays. The KD-84X9005 will scale up regular HD by making guesses about where extra detail should go — just as some DVD players scale the video up to HD. We didn't see it in action, however, so it's not clear if the technology really makes a difference. There are two cases where it might come in handy, however. With 3D, which divides the resolution in half, one half for each eye, 4K still offers Hd resoltuon for each eye . It would also work for photos. Twelve-megapixel pictures — not at all uncommon today — have a resolution way beyond 4K, at 4272 by 2848 pixels. Sony doesn’t say when the TV comes out (or what it will cost), but it does say that some of its features, such as photo-management apps, will be out by March 2013.
[SEE ALSO: The Megapixel Myth]
In short, don't rush out to buy either TV type now. Unless you're a one percenter, it's probably not an option anyway. But the exotic quickly becomes the norm in technology. And you can look forward to a sharper, more-colorful future in the next few years.