Heard of the term “UHDTV” or “4K” lately? Don’t let the technical jargon overwhelm you. Old TVs have SD or Standard Definition resolution. Most common LCD/LED TVs ship with Full HD resolution. Televisions being introduced starting this year (on the high-end for now) will ship with UHD resolution.
WHY? Because it provides either a larger or more detailed picture, but color accuracy still depends on the manufacturer.
WHY JUST NOW? Increasing the resolution accompanies an increase in demand for processing power as well as energy consumption, not including all the bells and whistles companies normally add to TV sets (like gesture controls, etc.) to differentiate them from the competition or category. Also, the costs of producing the panels themselves have not yet stabilized, but companies are now studying alternatives to bring them to the masses by 2020 (remember when HDTVs became the norm in 2006? Me neither), so prices are really high.
CONTENT DELIVERY IS ALSO A PROBLEM. Are you ready to watch in horror as your HD movie, which looked pristine on your HDTV, suddenly looked jarringly pixelated on your new UHDTV? Just as HD movies consume gigabytes-upon-gigabytes of storage, UHD resolution demands even greater at 4 times more pixels. Willing to download a 30GB movie yet? Yeah, I know.
In any case, it’s coming, and unlike the marketing gimmick that is 3D, it’s probably here to stay. Maybe one of the reasons 3D failed to gain traction is that it required people to wear glasses, and the marketing department failed to assume the ordinary lazy person trying the watch a movie instead.