We're still waiting for UHD Blu-ray, so make the most of the 4K home-brew scene
While we wait patiently for the Blu-ray Disc Association to put the finishing touches to a next-generation disc standard that will bring 4K content to our living rooms (due in Summer 2015), it's often said by wizened CE journos that there's a shortage of 4K content. And this could be an issue for TV manufacturers. After all, having finally worked out how to cram a few million more pixels into an LCD screen, they're now hoping to flog them to wary punters tired of backing the wrong technological horse in the AV Stakes.
Others will argue that the shortage of 4K content is wildly exaggerated. After all, there's 4K Netflix. And, yes, there certainly is 4K Netflix, currently flaunting the political drama House of Cards and re-runs of Breaking Bad. While these TV series will please the US drama cognoscenti, it's not exactly a lineup that will gather the entire family around the gogglebox on a Saturday night.
Others still will counter that what 4K needs is over-the-air ultra-hi-res broadcasts of Hollywood blockbusters and Premier League football. The same twin towers of telly that helped sell HD, and tried, but failed, to sell 3D. And I'm sure Sky will eventually answer these prayers, but not without extensive trials and a hardware overhaul.
But wait! There is an alternative to non-existent 4K discs, sparse streaming content and a utopian satellite TV future. And it's to make your own.
Consider YouTube. This, I've discovered, is the ideal place to find 4K demo material, as people and companies have been filming and uploading their own. In fact, when faced with family and friends demanding I explain exactly what makes my resident 4K screen so exciting, and worthy of blocking all natural light into my living room by virtue of its hulking 65in chassis, I don't queue up Kevin Spacey's political shenanigans on Netflix, I head straight to YouTube and let them bathe in the warm glow of the home-brewed footage that's been uploaded by ordinary people from their smartphones and cameras. In terms of content, some of it is admittedly rather bland – nothing more than outdoor footage shot on an LG G3 handset – but it provides a perfect example of the immediate benefits of 4K. It says 'Look, this is just like the amateur, uninspired material you record when you're on holiday – only it looks waaaaay better.'
So any TV manufacturer worrying that consumers aren't getting the idea about 4K needs to play up this DIY revolution. Remember the Top Up TV ads that highlighted a TV's CI slot with the phrase 'It's what the slot's for'? 4K is what your digital camera is for. And it's ready now.
On another note, I've recently had to re-evaluate my feelings when it comes to the various motion-smoothing technologies buried within modern flatscreen TVs. I used to think they were some of the most hideous ideas since the script for Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow was signed off, but I'm beginning to be swayed. Why? Because I left my TV's frame interpolation 'On' one afternoon, forgot about it and went out. Later that night I received a text from Mrs C saying 'This TV's AMAZING!'. Of course, I returned home thinking she was marvelling at the heightened detail, but realised it was the sumptuous smoothness (actually very free from artefacts) that was floating her boat. I guess, like the final Police Academy film, some people like it. I still switched if off, though.
Want the latest issue of Home Cinema Choice? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!
Want to see your home cinema system featured in the pages of HCC? Click here for more info.
Love home cinema? Sign up to our emails for the latest news and special offers!
Home Cinema Choice is proud to be a member of EISA.
Visit www.eisa.eu for more info.