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Sony turned off by CEA's 'Ultra HD' TV label

Respectfully, honoured American trade body, we prefer '4K'

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Sony has metaphorically given the US trade body the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) the finger, saying it will continue to brand its 3840 x 2160 TVs ‘4K’, thank you very much.

The Japanese giant briefly said this afternoon: “We laud the CEA’s efforts to come up with a common language to describe the next generation [of] high-definition technology.”

But “Sony will continue to use the 4K moniker for its products and will market its future products as 4K ultra high-definition (4K UHD)... to ensure clarity for consumers and delineate between today’s and tomorrow’s technology”.

Last month, the CEA said it would begin recommending that telly makers’ better-than-1080p sets “will be called ‘Ultra High-Definition’ or ‘Ultra HD’, connoting its superiority over conventional HDTV”. The decision, unanimously agreed by the CEA’s “Board of Industry Leaders”, followed a report drawn up by a CEA body called the 4K Working Group, which has since had to rename itself the Ultra HD Working Group.

However, most of the 8.3 megapixel TVs announced to date have been branded ‘4K’ or ‘4K x 2K’, though that clearly represents rather a lot of rounding of the pixel dimensions, and the TV industry, from hardware through to content, has been chucking the term ‘4K’ around for years.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), which defined a 3840 x 2160 format in 2007 - and a 7680 × 4320 version too, for that matter - dubbed its standard UHDTV, but appends either ‘4K’ or ‘8K’ to it to indicate which of the two sizes it happens to be talking about. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has also standardised UHDTV 4K and UHDTV 8K.

You’d have thought the industry would have learned from the HD roll-out, with its plethora of terms, including ‘720p’, ‘1080i’, ‘1080p’, ‘HD TV’, ‘HD Ready’, ‘Full HD’, leaving ordinary punters unsure as to what they were getting exactly.

Some folk will surely assume Ultra HD means ‘a little better than HD’, though not necessarily boasting four times the number of pixels in a 1920 x 1080 image. Then again, does ‘4K’ really suggest a significant improvement over HD either?

Suggests for a better moniker that ‘Full Ultra HD 4K UHD Ready’ in the comments, please. ®

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