Prototypes from Japanese consumer electronics companies Sony and Panasonic show how combining two competing TV technologies can create an unrivaled viewing experience.
A 56-inch, 4K OLED television set is displayed at the Panasonic booth during the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 8, 2013. Reuters/Steve Marcus
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may only be at its halfway point but for many visitors, the star of the show is already clear. Amid much speculation that the technology was still in its infancy and was still proving too difficult to mass produce, Sony redefined the televisual viewing experience with the unveiling of a 56-inch 4K OLED TV. And although the company was quick to stress that it was still just a prototype, Sony was equally clear that it would only be a matter of time before the TV did reach the production stage. Boasting a 3,840×2,160 resolution (four times that of existing high definition) and a depth, accuracy and crispness of color and contrast never before seen on a large screen, the TV raises the bar to a new height despite already being set rather high by the launch of 4K or ultra-high definition TVs at the 2012 event.
However, within a period of 24 hours, Panasonic also unveiled its own prototype 56-inch 4K OLED TV which boasts the same dazzling resolution and responsiveness as Sony's and was developed in part through using 3D printing technology. The other thing the two displays have in common is that as well as being mere prototypes, the TVs are both destined for production.
Samsung and LG also launched OLED TVs at this year's event, however unlike Panasonic and Sony's offerings, they're merely high definition, not ultra-high definition and, as such will be available to buy later this year.
Ultra-high definition appears set to become the new standard in television. The first TVs to offer this depth of resolution have been on the market since November 2012, retailing for $20,000 and although there is very little native content currently available for them, a number of broadcasters, including YouTube, have pledged to start streaming ‘4K' content before the end of the decade.