Tech Biz

Ultra HD: LG and Samsung Launch Competing 55 and 65-inch 4K TVs

The Korean electronics giants are pushing premium, ultra-high-def sets this summer.

In the market for a new TV with plenty of money to burn? You might want to look at South Korean electronics powerhouses LG and Samsung, both of which are releasing 55 and 65-inch 4K Ultra HD televisions this summer. But what makes Ultra HD so special?

“A standard high-definition TV has a 1080p resolution, meaning more than 2 million pixels per frame. The new wave of 4K TVs have more than 8.8 million pixels, providing greater accuracy of detail; clearer, sharper pictures; and greater contrast and color than regular HD,” explained CNN.

But where does the “4K” moniker come from? According to Tech Radar, “4K denotes a very specific display resolution of 4096 x 2160. This is the resolution of all 4K recordings, though many people use 4K to refer to any display resolution that has roughly 4000 horizontal pixels.” The new wave of “4K” TVs doesn’t quite contain 4000 horizontal pixels, but they still look better than anything else on the market.

Earlier this month, Samsung began shipping its F9000 series 4K TVs in South Korea. The ridiculously high resolution sets are slated to ship to the U.S. in August, with pre-orders starting on July 21. The 55-inch model will retail for $5500, with the 65-inch model costing $7500. Both sets boast LCD panels with an almost technically 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

“Both of the models run on Samsung’s Quadmatic Picture Engine, which utilizes a four-step process for delivering images, which is comprised of noise minimization, upscaling to 4K, image enhancement of less-than-4K content, and signal analysis,” wrote SlashGear.

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Samsung’s fancy new sets will be able to upscale media from standard-definition all the way up to the current 1080p standard. An included “Evolution Kit” promises that both TVs will remain compatible with future 4K standards.

LG beat its Korean neighbor and rival to the chase by offering 55 and 65-inch 4K TVs to U.S. consumers starting yesterday. The high-end sets will retail for $5999 and $7999 respectively, just slightly more than the Samsung offerings. LG’s ultra-high-definition TVs will include a fancy new feature to better justify the lofty price tag: a powered 4.1 channel “sliding speaker” bar that can appear and disappear at the push of a button. LG also bundles the new sets with its “Magic Remote” that can accept voice commands.

“The [LG] TVs feature a picture resolution of 3840 x 2160, as well as the Tru-Ultra HD engine that upscales content via a four-step process,” said SlashGear. “In addition, the LA9700 utilized an H.265 HEVC (high-efficiency video coding) decoder, which will make the sets compatible with new 4K standards that may be implemented in the future for streaming and broadcast.”

Currently, the 55 and 65-inch LG 4K TVs are only available at the company’s Santa Monica retail outlet. However, for the impatient aristocrat, a behemoth 84-inch 4K television set from LG is currently available for order online – for only $20,000. It is billed as “The Ultimate Elite TV” and having “just about every feature known to man.”

For those who plan on purchasing a 4K TV, you will need an Ultra HD player to get the most out of your investment. Sony began shipping its 4K Ultra HD Media Player on July 3 for a wallet-draining $700. It comes pre-loaded with 10 full-length ultra HD movies that include The Amazing Spider Man and Taxi Driver. It packs 2TB of internal storage, which will be necessary considering the lack of UHD discs. Streaming rentals will start at $7.99, with purchases beginning at $29.99.