Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tiny 4K Displays Are Coming....

Sharp recently announced a 5.5-inch 4K display for mobiles, making virtual reality finally feel real.
We can only imagine Sharp's small ultra-high resolution IGZO displays will wind up in smartphones eventually as the size fits with increasingly popular "phablet" devices like the iPhone 6 Plus. Apparently Sharp is being reported as one of the companies supplying Apple with displays, and there's a clear market appeal to the 4K display claim.

Sharp’s latest offering has a 3850×2160 resolution, a total of 806 pixels per inch. That’s roughly twice the resolution of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3.

From looking at the quality while you are holding the device, you’d only be able to resolve about half the resolution a 5.5-inch 4K display would provide, says Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies. In most cases, the additional sharpness wouldn't even matter to most people. Not to mention the fact that there is literally zero 4K content out there to even view right now.

4K displays on smartphones aren't all a big joke though, there are some cool things about it. If there are 4K displays out there then that will drive content creators to make more 4K stuff for us to enjoy. So... it kind of works out.

Is it really worth it though? Think about all the battery power it would take to keep all of those darn pixels lit up. Maybe I'm just complaining for no reason, but these are the things that cross my mind.

Most people in the world have yet to try out a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift or the HTV Vive. These things have been in the works for years upon years, and though there have been some promising demos and things like that, they still have such a long way to go. BUT, a 5.5 inch 4K display would really help them along quite a bit.

Most virtual reality headsets just magnify the display, which means you can see all of the pixels. At that point, it doesn't even look that cool. To make things worse, you have to have two images to create the illusion, so now you can see pixels AND it ends up being blurry. What's the point? So, having a super high resolution display would take care of this problem, for the most part, and make the experience more enjoyable all around as you would have a much smoother picture.

If you are looking forward to virtual reality being a real, easily accessible thing, then there is a lot to be excited about here. Let's be honest, no one really cares about a 4K smartphone display (yet). It will drain your battery super fast, and you probably won't even be able to see the difference at all. But the point here is that those new battery draining, pointless screens are probably what is going to make virtual reality a realistic thing for us in the near future. So there is a pretty big "cool factor" either way.

Content originally published here

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Actually Affordable 4K TV Series from Vizio

Until now 4K HDTVs have seemed like a luxury only fit for celebrities. The price points were extremely high and most people could have bought a car before buying a 4K TV. However, Vizio has just confirmed pricing on the M series of HDTVs and let me tell you that they are some of the cheapest 4K TVs on the market today.

In addition to that, Vizio also threw out some details on the high-end Reference series of TVs that debuted at CES 2014 without official pricing or availability. Whenever they do arrive, though, Vizio has stated that they will be the first TVs with Dolby Vision HDR.

The official prices of the M series are nearly exactly the same as the unofficial prices that were leaked about 2 months ago. The biggest exception in the released pricing over the rumored prices comes with the 50" model. This model will sell for $799 instead of the leaked price of $899. The full list is as follows:

  • M80-C3: 80" to be released in late 2015 for $3,999
  • M75-C1: 75" to be released in late 2015 for $2,999
  • M70-C3: 70" to be released in April-May for $2,199
  • M65-C1: 65" to be released in April-May for $1,699
  • M60-C3: 60" available now for $1,499
  • M55-C2: 55" available now for $999
  • M50-C1: 50" to be released in April-May for $799
  • M49-C1: 49" to be released in April-May for $769
  • M43-C1: 43" available now for $599
All of these 2015 M series TVs will come with the same kind of direct local dimming backlights that the 2014 versions had. This allows the TVs to have extremely impressive black level performance and all sizes have the same 32 zones of backlight dimming except for the 43" model with has 28 zones.

The 60" models and up have a 240Hz effective refresh rate with the smaller models coming with a 120Hz effective refresh rate and, since there are no native 240Hz 4K TVs, Vizio has confirmed that the "effective" title indicates that the smaller sets have 60Hz panels while the larger ones have 120Hz panels. Backlight scanning is responsible for the double Hz numbers, which means it's the same type of "fake" refresh rate that Vizio and LG have been employing for years now.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the M series will have 5 HDMI ports that will be capable of accepting 4K sources. However, only one of these ports will be HDMI 2.0 compatible and able to accept 4K sources at 60FPS. Three out of the five ports will offer HDCP 2.2 copy protection and the sets will be able to stream 4K from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and will also come with an UltraFlix app.

This is definitely some interesting and exciting news from Vizio. 4K is the future of HDTV technology and, like all technology, adoption speed depends on pricing. It took people a long time to adopt to HDTVs when they first came out because they were so expensive. With Vizio able to slash prices on 4K TVs so quickly it definitely shows promise for the sets to be widely adopted at a much quicker rate than HDTVs.

Content originally published here