Is HD Dead?

On the latest episode of AVWeek (Episode 87) we had a story talking about a new 4K display from Seiki. Here is the kicker; it has a list price of $1,499. Let’s just round it up and say a $1500 4K TV. What is so remarkable about this is just a few months ago Sony and Samsung were rolling out their 4K displays in the neighborhood of $20,000. That is a swing of over $18,000. Pretty significant.

Granted, Seiki is not Sony or Samsung. They are, however, giving the public the latest resolution technology, UHD/4K, at a price that has historically signaled mass adoption. Fifteen years ago there were plasma displays that were selling between $15,000 and $20,000. The adoption rate was low and people complained because there was no content. Sound familiar? It wasn’t until the HD displays began to get under $2,000 that the adoption rate went through the roof. Now, a vast majority of American homes have at least one HD display.

Fast forward to this week’s story about a sub-$2,000 4K display and you see why I ask the question. Is HD dead, or at least on the way out? The difference between the early days of Hd and 4K is that there is already a stash of 4K content… on YouTube. No, you can’t stream in 4K yet, but you can download it and watch it on your devices, including 4K displays. In addition, movies are starting to be shot in 4K and there is talk of older movies being put into the 4K format. Can you say “Star Wars” in 4K?

For those who think that 4K might be the next 3D, it isn’t. It’s an upgrade in resolution and quality. 3D is more about experience than quality and resolution of the picture. To answer my own question, no, HD is not dead. However, it is on the way out. The only question is how long will it be before we look at HD movies the way we look at VHS tapes now?

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