4K televisions are the cutting edge of TV design. They’re so cutting edge, in fact, that they really don’t have any use for anybody beyond professionals, for reasons we’ll get into. But that doesn’t mean we can’t drool over them, especially when TCL has cut the price on a 4K TV from several thousand dollars to one lonely grand.
Yep, TCL, a Chinese electronics company and the sixth-largest television producer in the world, has apparently figured out a way to get the costs of 4K TVs down to a grand or so. It’s incredibly exciting to filmmakers with 4K cameras, who will be all over this thing, but for just watching TV, you’re better off not bothering.
Why? Two reasons. The first is that Sony is trying to bring back the bad old days of tightly controlled media and video stores; to even get a 4K player is $699. None of the streaming video services out there have access to 4K content, cable networks don’t broadcast it, and if you did start streaming it, your ISP would likely throw a massive hissy fit. 1080p will probably do you for now.
The second is that you need to be professionally trained to tell the difference between a standard DVD and a Blu-Ray on a screen smaller than five feet, and smaller than three feet it’s pretty much impossible. And 4K is four times the resolution, not to mention streaming is going smaller and more portable with tablets.
Don’t get us wrong, 4K has lots of uses; public displays, professional filmmaking, fun stuff like that. But if you want crisp images and to be able to actually use your screen, you can get a 60-inch plasma for $100 less. Until 4K gets real content and offers the same options as 1080p, we suspect a lot of 4K TVs will stay on the shelves.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.