The Next Big Thing: Ultra HD TVs

5:39 PM, May 28, 2013   |    comments
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Undated -- If you think you've got the latest and greatest TV out there, wait till you see what's coming: Ultra-HD televisions. They promise the best picture ever on huge screens. But with mega-price tags that start at $20,000, we know people won't be rushing out to buy one anytime soon. So Consumer Reports had to get a look at the first wave of Ultra-HD TVs.

The 84-inch Ultra-HD television from LG is the biggest flat-screen TV that Consumer Reports has ever had in its test labs. It dwarfs the 65-inch set next to it. But a huge screen isn't all that Ultra-HD sets have to offer. Jim Willcox with Consumer Reports said, "Ultra-HD TVs are a new breed of high-resolution TV that promise even more detail and sharper images than conventional 1080p sets."

Consumer Reports testers looked at the LG as well as the first
Ultra-HD sets from Sony and Samsung. When the sets are showing U-HD content, the picture is indeed breathtaking, with crisp images and more detail than testers have ever seen.
However, there isn't much U-HD content. But these sets can take regular HD content that's been up-converted. And, not surprising, that looks great.

Testers also used test patterns to assess these new Ultra-HD sets and found some drawbacks. All three had problems common to most LCDs, such as motion blur and black levels that aren't quite black. But the biggest problem is not technical. Willcox said, "The TVs that we've seen so far cost around 20-25 thousand dollars, and that's going to be prohibitively expensive for most people."

So while U-HD looks great, and the huge screens are impressive, Consumer Reports says this technology is far from ready for primetime.

If you don't have the money to spend on a new a TV, Consumer Reports recommends a 65-inch plasma TV from Panasonic - the Viera TC-P65VT50. They say it delivers excellent image detail and color as well as deep black levels. At $3,300, it's not exactly cheap, unless, of course, you're comparing it to the cost of an Ultra-HD TV!

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

WFMY News 2/Consumer Reports

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