Jan 28 2013, 4:00am CST | by Mark Raby
In just 18 months, Japan will be the first country in the world to broadcast live TV programming in the newest and greatest standard of consumer display technology - 4K. It's like high definition, but on steroids.
Back in the days of black-and-white TV, people knew that some day there would be color TV. When that transformation happened, viewers were still plagued with unclear pictures and bulky TV sets. Then came the revolution of all media revolutions - high definition. At that point, no one was dreaming about better quality TV pictures anymore.
And yet, what happened? There was the advent of the 3D TV. Sadly, that didn't quite pan out and to this day there is very little interest in 3D TV. That could lead a lot of people into thinking that we've taken TV as far as it can go. Oh, but those people would be so wrong.
To those not already in the know, 4K TV is about four times as powerful as today's HDTV standard. That means that as crisp and clear as your picture might look now, there is already a technological standard that could make it look much, much better.
It's also called "ultra high-definition" (UHD), a term that the Consumer Electronics Association has put its seal of approval on.
In fact, ultra high-definition TV sets are already available for purchase. The problem is that there isn't any content. Well, there is some but it is very limited. Japan wants to be sure that the technology doesn't get ahead of the content (that's part of what caused 3D to fail), so it is already preparing to make sure that residents will be able to watch coverage of the 2014 World Cup in 4K.
As an example of how quickly this technology is advancing - media companies in Japan had previously set a 2016 deadline but they had to push it up drastically because of the unexpected fast adoption and production of 4K TV sets.
With more than 10 years as a professional writer, Mark Raby has an undeniable pulse on the latest trends. From the quiet rumors to the breaking news of the day, his eagle eye is always focused on the newest scoop and figuring out how and why the big newsmakers are noteworthy and relevant. He is based in New York City.
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