CEDIA Expo Report: Sony 84″ 4K TV

The CEDIA Expo is the go-to location for people who cater to the rich and famous. If you want the best of the best, you hire a CEDIA member to build you an enviable home theater.

Sony knows this, and they were one of two vendors showing 4K technology at CEDIA Expo. (JVC was the other.) Sony had a more enticing, including both projector and direct displays. In fact Sony’s direct-view display was the 84″ LCD TV we geeked out over when Engadget showed it. It didn’t have the external speakers but was the exact same panel that was shown in Berlin at the IFA show.

If you’re not sure what 4K TV is or why you should care, read all about it here. It’s the technology of the future, although it’s probably not ready for you yet.

Sony also showed a demo reel in a darkened room comparing upscaled 1080p HD to 4K. The projected image was about 3 meters wide, big enough to cover the entire field of view.

So what did I think? 4K is awesome for projection. The demo reel really made the point. There was no sign of pixelation, no blurriness, just an image that seemed as detailed as reality. The HD footage was good, and it’s not like you really had a sense that you were missing anything, but the 4k image was as real as it could be. Sony also showed some still images that were simply stunning, like looking out a giant window.

On the other hand, when it came to the TV… I know it sounds strange but 84″ is just too small for you to tell the difference. If you got 2 feet away from the TV you could see that HD content is a little blurry on an 84″ TV while 4K is crystal clear. I think 4K will work well with screen sizes over 100″ but 84″ is still really passable for most HD content.

Remember too, there’s no source for 4K content yet. There’s no disc big enough to store it, no internet pipe wide enough to send it, and no consumer devices capable of recording it. The only method of delivery is hard drives or long downloads. It’s well-suited to movie theaters that get the content once and show it over and over again.

Right now, 4K is a great toy, something to talk about, but at well north of $20,000 for the TV, it’s not practical at all. Of course, that’s what people said about HDTV in 2002, so give it a few years!