My first time seeing a 4K TV

It was September, 2012. Seems like a million years ago. I was at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis. Back then it was still a show for installers of high-end audio and video systems. (It’s since morphed a couple of times and today is more about smart homes.) I had seen 4K projectors before, but this was the first time I’d actually seen a real actual TV.

For a price slightly over $20,000 you got an 84″ TV. Or you would, since this was a prototype at that time.

What did I think? Read for yourself. 

Bottom line? I wasn’t really impressed back then, and it set the stage for 6 years, and counting, of waiting for a flood of 4K content that has yet to come. DIRECTV’s three live channels are great, but no other content provider has stepped up in the traditional pay-TV space. There’s streaming, but unless you have a pristine, uncongested internet connection it just looks like HD.

Back then I said 84″ was too small for 4K, and that’s still mostly true. The one thing I’ll say now that I didn’t say then is that regular HD does look kind of horsey when you scale it up to that size so you almost need a 4K panel just to make the HD stuff look ok. There’s also 4K gaming which is beginning to gain steam, and of course 4K computer monitors which actually make sense.

Since 2012, 4K TVs have gotten thinner, cheaper, and added HDR features that make them look better. No one has implemented the 2×2 matrix option of that early TV — if it had worked it would have let you connect 4 HD sources and watch them all in virtual 42″ screens. That would have been the ultimate picture-in-picture, but it seems like no one would have bought that option anyway. It’s probably for the best that it never materialized.


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.