With the failure of 3D, the consumer electronics industry and Hollywood studios are eager to push 4k Ultra High Definition (UHD) as the next great technological breakthrough that home theater fans just can’t live without. After months of speculation about whether UHD would be best delivered by disc or by streaming, the Blu-ray Disc Association has confirmed that it’s currently looking into adding a UHD extension to the Blu-ray spec. With that in mind, how eager are you to upgrade your home theater to 4k? Have you stopped buying regular Blu-ray discs in anticipation, or have you already written off the UHD format as irrelevant to your needs?
I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I always (at least in theory, to the best of my ability to afford) strive for the best and want to have the latest and greatest equipment in my home theater. I was an early adopter to both the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats when they debuted in 2006, and I’m very curious to see what kind of improvement 4k could offer me. I find most of my old DVD collection unwatchable on my projection screen, and have done my best to purge most of those discs for Blu-ray upgrades. I kind of regret how much money I wasted on DVD back in the day, and I’d hate to keep buying Blu-ray now if I’m likely to feel that way about it too in the future.
On the other hand, 1080p has established itself as a very nice sweet spot for most home theater needs, even on projection screens like mine. Except on the very largest of screens, 4k may not provide much discernable difference. (But didn’t some people say that about Blu-ray back in the day?) Many of today’s movies that are either photographed digitally or use a Digital Intermediate are permanently locked to 2k resolution and will never benefit from 4k.
Perhaps most problematic, upgrading a home theater to UHD will require a complete top-to-bottom overhaul at every part of the signal chain, from disc player source to display, including every single intermediary device (switchers, splitters, video processors, A/V receiver, etc.) and HDMI cable in between. That just won’t be practical or affordable for me to achieve anytime soon.
I suppose I have to take a wait-and-see approach to this. I’m open to the idea of UHD, but I haven’t stopped buying Blu-rays yet. How about you?