As you may have noticed in your local department store, TVs are getting bigger and bigger. 4K is rapidly becoming the image standard, relegating that 1080p 3D TV your brother was bragging about to the technological scrap heap. Yesterday’s technology breakthrough is today’s technology has been. With 4K barely in the door, the industry is already talking about 8K.
I’m starting to feel like Ray Milland’s beleaguered scientist at the end of X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES. Cursed with vision so acute he can now see to the end of the universe, Milland makes a last-ditch attempt to regain his sanity by plucking out his eyes. I don’t suggest anyone go that far, but the incredibly brilliant picture we are getting with new TV tech is a double-edged sword. Yes, movies and television shows look better than ever, but the picture is so good, one can’t help but be distracted by the minutiae not previously visible. I should really be paying attention to the story, not counting the leading lady’s pores or being distracted by how phony the green screen background looks. I pity fans of old movies: yes, black and white looks great in 4K, but those wrinkly cycloramas, previously a soft blur, now look as phony as the background in your daughter’s grade school play.
Sports fans are probably in heaven. I have no interest in this particular pursuit, but 4K sports telecasts catch even my attention for a few minutes. Children are certainly enraptured by cartoons in this format, but they all loved them back when everyone still had 4:3 Cathode Ray Tube sets.
The tech companies will continue to push bigger and better sets on us, but when will people start to lose interest and just go with the lower resolution versions? We haven’t reached that point yet, but I’ll bet it’s only a few years away.