Sony has been talking the 4K resolution game for a while, but they may finally be ready to put something on the shelves this holiday season, if word on the street is to be believed. The alleged new model stretches out to a massive 80 inches, and supposedly will be the flagship of the XBR LED line, and run in the neighborhood of $30,000, according to rumors.
While Sony is sure to make some movies available in 4K, there isn’t yet any home media format that can transport it. Testing has been ongoing with a 3D-style extension to the Blu-ray format, with a ride-alone stream (likely fed from an installation file from a separate disc to a hard or flash drive) to add the additional pixels to the image, but nothing has really been seen outside the lab.
The big, immediate benefit of 4k will likely be achieving polarized 3D in the home without the compromises of existing passive 3D TVs from Sharp, LG and Vizio, which can only achieve 560p to each eye and have motion and interlacing artifacts that many users find distracting. A 4K TV could use this same technology to deliver a 1080p image that could very well equal the quality of shutter glasses, yet work just fine with the glasses you nicked from the movie theater.
If it does drop at $30,000, this is only meant for the ultra-rich and for commercial installations, but 65-inch models may approach the sub-$5000 market in a few years. While I wouldn’t hold my breath for a huge number of 4K choices on home video, for the movies that are shot and distributed that way, like The Hobbit, I’m pretty excited about the possibilities.