Ultra High Definition TV, Hardware Ready Today

While wandering through Selfridges, the department store in London, we came across this Samsung 85 inch S9 series LED Ultra High Definition TV. The large frame is a sound bar. It looks amazing; Samsung also offer a 3D version.

As you get closer to the display or you concentrate on one section of it you can see more and more detail, it's almost like looking at a fractal. The demo content was very clear and sharp and really showed off the contrast and brightness of the display. When the demo reset its loop, we could see that it was playing an mp4 file. One wonders what the bit rate of the compressed video was; it probably must be compressed to some degree in order to read off storage and transfer to the decoders fast enough.

Some (smaller) UHDTVs were showing a Hollywood superhero movie - presumably not 4K. Some of the TVs had very bad compression artefacts while others showing exactly the same input had very few. Quite likely this was a set up problem rather than a product problem.

Some of the TVs had motion artifacts, probably caused by built in motion processing. When the camera moved around the static actors, the motion looked very unnatural and there was an odd halo around the actors heads. This was especially noticeable when scenes had a large depth of field and both foreground and background were in focus. Maybe it was just that movie, but if you had paid for an expensive TV, you would have been disappointed.

Back to the Samsung TV, it seems that if you have good content with good quality compression it looks amazing. You can't see this demo without feeling very impressed. Samsung says "Future UHD, Ready Today" but we still have a lot of work to do in order to actually start producing and broadcasting 4K content.