Toshiba plans three 4K TVs next year

Companies are pushing the new technology to stores, but a key issue is the lack of a content delivery system

Toshiba's plans to put on sale worldwide next year its second generation of TVs that boast the ability to display images that exceed today's high-definition sets.

The TVs have four times the resolution of HD: 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels versus 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels; and the technology is collectively called "4K" because of the almost 4,000-pixel horizontal resolution.

Toshiba's three upcoming 4K models will be available in the spring of 2013, Masahiko Fukakushi, president and CEO of Toshibas digital products division, said at a Tokyo news conference on Thursday. (See video of the prototype TVs on YouTube.)

One of the three TVs will be an 84-inch model, one will be in the 60-inch range and the third in the 50-inch range. Pricing will also be announced closer to launch but will be competitive with other companies, Fukakushi said.

Toshiba's first generation 4K TV, a 55-inch model, is currently on sale in Japan at 750,000 yen (US$9,650). Earlier Thursday, Sony said it will sell an 84-inch 4K television in Japan from November 23 for 1.68 million yen.

But while Toshiba and its rivals are rushing to put 4K TVs on the market, a rather important question remains unanswered : where will consumers get 4K content?

At present only the movie industry has started the shift to 4K, with several major hit movies already filmed at the resolution. But there's no consumer-level delivery method to get that content to homes with 4K televisions.

TV broadcasters have only recently spent billions of dollars upgrading to high definition and a further upgrade to 4K would mean most of their new equipment will have to be scrapped so that's unlikely. The Blu-ray Disc format hasn't been extended to 4K either.

A possibility exists with Internet-based delivery, but the extra resolution in 4K content means file sizes are huge and transmission of a single movie could take many hours.

So, for now, TV makers are relying on up-conversion. It's a trick that involves running high-definition content through a software algorithm to create a higher-resolution version. The quality isn't the same as if the original 4K content was viewed, but it's better than HD, said Toshiba.

With delivery of 4K content possibly years away, up conversion could be important. Toshiba has been working on custom chips to handle the work, something that it expects will give its TVs an edge over those from competitors.

Prototypes of Toshiba's 4K TVs are expected to be on show at next week's Ceatec exhibition in Makuhari, just outside of Tokyo. Ceatec opens on Tuesday.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?