What has been clear at CES 2015 is that 4K Ultra High Definition is going mainstream with all the brands. Everyone seems to be introducing more 4K sets than 1080p HD and are making 4K that much more affordable. Everyone always tries to out-do each other at CES, and Sharp’s one-upmanship is not based on another unique approach to 4K technology. Instead they want to leap-frog everyone else by bringing in 8K technology.
4K technology is essentially 4 times the resolution of 1080p HD, which is already a big step up in clarity. Sharp takes that even further by using subpixels, 66 million of them, which is 42 million more than you get in a 4K set. At CES they unveiled a giant 80-inch Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV—that’s what they named it. This isn’t totally surprising from Sharp because last year they introduced an HD set that was a pseudo-4K TV by adding a lot more subpixels. That way you could buy an HD TV with premium resolution that starts to approach 4K standards.
Although the verdict isn’t out yet, I am not sure why Sharp has taken this route. 4K Ultra High Definition already provides a phenomenal picture that is a big step up from HD. So much so, that I am not sure you will see much more difference with their higher 8K-like resolution. The other issue is that there is virtually no content available that will likely be shot in 8K. In fact the biggest challenge for 4K TVs is getting more 4K content, although that is happening slowly but surely.
Although I question Sharp’s rationale for moving to an 8K-like screen, the positive thing is that it their picture resolution is undoubtedly superb. Sharp has made other improvements like adding an increased colour palette to their display for a much richer picture. Their screen has a full-array backlight with local dimming that will also improve the contrast and black levels making a much sharper picture, no pun intended. They have also introduced a new technology call High Dynamic Range, which will create even better contrast between the whites and the blacks. All this together means that Sharp’s picture quality keeps getting better.
Although their new Beyond 4K lineup won’t be available until some time later this year, and we don’t know the price yet, the picture I am sure will be excellent. I am just not sure it will be able to out-perform the 4K lines of their competitors, and at what price. Time will tell, so stay tuned later this year.
4K Technology Sets
Although Sharp’s CES 2015 flagship product is this Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV, they haven’t ignored the 4K market and like their rivals have launched their lines of 4K sets as well. Their 4K lines are labeled UB30, UE30, and UH30, that progressively get better in terms of technology and features. All are Smart TVs, all do upscaling so you can take advantage of any content, and all have local dimming capabilities. They have sets ranging from 43” to 80,” depending on which series, so you can see Sharp is also serious about the 4K market as well.
Sharp has never really followed the pack with their approach, which I like because everyone bringing different innovations to the market gives us as consumers more choice. Their introduction of Beyond 4K is an interesting twist, that will provide yet another good option.