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The 4K TV sets are out, but content needs to follow


The 4K TV sets are out, but content needs to follow

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Enjoying a much sharper picture on your TV screen at home – it could soon be possible thanks to the new 4K TV sets, which manufacturers claim offer a picture quality four times better than traditional televisions.

Italian public broadcaster RAI recently offered a rare example of a show shot in 4K, with its own 4K production of Giacomo Puccini’s legendary opera La Bohème.

“This strange acronym means that 4K TV, or Ultra HD, has a resolution four times higher than conventional full HD TVs. We go from two million to eight million pixels – a considerably higher resolution that allows two things: first, to get a clearer image and secondly, to have a larger screen, keeping the same viewing distance, without any discomfort. So you can have an even larger screen – and there’s already a tendency to make them larger and larger – while keeping the sofa at the same distance,” says high tech analyst Gianfranco Giardina.

However, having the screen is not enough – the content needs to follow. And so far, very little is being shot in 4K, although the practice is slowly taking off, with companies like US-based streaming service Netflix recently revealing it will be producing all of its original shows in 4K.

“That’s the problem. As we have said, it would be very effective if all broadcasts, content and also offline content – like blue-ray discs and DVDs for example – were in 4K. But that’s not the reality, yet. For now, content is in standard definition, or at most in full HD, with a resolution that only provides a quarter of the quality of a 4K TV set. We’re going to have to wait. We’re betting on the future. As very often when it comes to technological innovation, there’s not always a perfect synchronization between the introduction of new technology, in this case TV sets, and the availability of appropriate content to use them,” says Gianfranco Giardina.

The main problem until now has been the prohibitive cost of 4K cameras. However, manufacturers, aware of the market potential, are increasingly proposing material at more attractive prices.

New camera offers 360 degree view of the world

Its designers have dubbed it the world’s first full HD 360 degree camera.

Equipped with three fish-eye lenses and three microphones, Giroptic offers HD video and real-time streaming. The videos shot with the camera can be viewed on any type of screen – TV, computer or tablet.

“It’s a small embedded camera, which allows you to shoot at 360 degrees, so you can shoot everything that is happening around you, but also above and even beneath,” says Giroptic’s Marian Le Calvez.

The Giroptic is due out later this month. Ricoh has already launched its own 360 degree camera, equipped with two lenses. Retail prices for both start at around 350 euros.

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