Morpheus on… The Truth About 4k

…it’s a waste of time, effort and money.

A quick history lesson…

The movies began in earnest around 1900 and TV, around 1950 (there had been experimental services in the Thirties, but following the Second World Argument, the boom in American consumerism gave birth to what we have today).

However, while Fifties movies were high-definition, colour, wide-screen, with 6-channel stereo – Fifties TV was NOT. It was low-definition, black and white, rounded, flickery and MONO.

But over the sixty years since, it has CAUGHT UP.

And while Fifties seventeen-inch tellies cost a month’s wages (being hand-wired in the West, one component at a time) today’s fifty-five inch flat-screens (made by machines, in the Orient) can be had for only a WEEK’S wages. And they are hi-definition, colour, wide-screen, with 6-channel stereo.

Oh yes, thanks to smart interface chips, a 1080-line TV picture is now sharper than VistaVision (the Fifties equivalent of 70mm). And a 2k picture likewise.

But what of the future?

Well, technology always moves forward, but in the case of TV – this is not necessarily a good thing.

You see, after the minor annoyance of the standards war between 16:9/1080-line (TV) and 2:1/2k (cinema and computers) they decided the Next Big Thing would be 2:1/4k. This would (universally) give FOUR times the definition (two times vertical and horizontal resolution).

Trouble is, it also requires four times the DATA-TRANSFER. Broadband is becoming OBESEband.

But the real problems come when VIEWING it…

In the cinema, colour 3D was available in the Fifties (Natural Vision; it used Polaroid lenses to separate the two images) and continues today. But while it works fine for a couple of hours, the parallax-versus-focus issue (and the need to wear glasses) would guarantee TV audiences would retire with HEADACHES every night, after watching SIX hours of it – which is why TV has ABANDONED 3D.

But it is EMBRACING 4k – which is a MISTAKE.

First, it is no great shakes in the CINEMA. You have to sit in the front three rows to appreciate the difference and (here’s one of Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secrets) the digital SFX are mostly done in 2k, with only the live characters shot in 4k. Thus with the actors representing the focal point, the audience does not notice the relatively low-res backgrounds.

It has to be that way – or the list of video artists in the end credits would be longer than the damn MOVIE. And the WAGE-bill…

And in the HOME, the situation worsens.

Here’s another secret; with 1080/2k, the optimum distance from viewer-eyeball to screen is twice the screen’s WIDTH (not the diagonal). So if you have a 55″ screen (the largest commonly-made size – bigger screens’ prices go up exponentially) that is EIGHT FEET. Which is fine.

But change that screen to a 4k and you would need to HALVE the distance to notice the difference. And the screen would appear twice as LARGE.

Picture the scene; a guy in a La-Z-Boy recliner, his feet UNDER the suspended screen, his eyes and head constantly twitching around. A SINGLE man, of course.

Oh, the viewing experience would be AMAZING. But he’d go to bed TIRED every night – with a POUNDING HEADACHE!

And the curved TV (which from eight feet away is also pointless) would have cost him the same as the recliner – both around a month’s wages.

Finally, consider the programme makers; in the Fifties and early Sixties, close-ups generally cropped faces an inch above the chin and just above the eyebrows. But then, when higher definition colour arrived, the actors’ faces looked like big, pink BLOBS – so cameramen BACKED OFF aways.

Now imagine 4k definition close-ups. NO actor will look good like THAT.

So here’s the thing; you can get a 55″ 1080/2k LED flat-screen, with 6-channel stereo system, for a week’s wages. Then you can sit eight feet across the room from it (with your LADY). And if you have perfect 20:10 vision (20:20 is what opticians try to palm you OFF with – along with the most expensive “designer” frames in the shop) you will be able to read 8-point print right off the screen.

And that’s all you NEED.


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