Soon, LG will start selling a TV that shows four times more pixels than any other television. 1920×1080? Garbage. How does 3840×2160 grab you?
Never mind that the new LG “4K” TV will cost $22,000 when it launches, or that you almost certainly don’t have a wall in your home where the massive 84″ television will fit and make sense. We get it; LG’s new 4K top-of-the-line beast is for rich people, and nobody else.
But more to the point, the new LG TV is for rich people who think more is better, and don’t notice that they aren’t actually getting anything for all the money they waste on the new 4K standard-bearer. Perception, as always, is reality.
Yep, that’s the story.
This post on the latest iPad (and Macbook) computers’ “Retina Display” tells it all. You can pack as many pixels as you like onto a screen, but if there’s no programming that displays that many pixels, the technology is wasted. Not “sort of wasted”; completely wasted.
I’m not interested in calling out LG for being good at marketing, or for marketing to people who are clamoring for something that LG can say, honestly, that “they” are delivering—even if the practical end of the issue is that “the other guys” aren’t. The point here is that business change is only business change if “change” happens.
A quick technical recap of the Retina Display piece will bring this into perspective:
High-definition movies in the form of Blu-Ray discs are formatted at what’s called “1080p”, which is shorthand for 1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels top-to-bottom. It’s today’s standard, and the next standard—which might well be 4K, or the 2160p that 3840×2160 represents—hasn’t yet emerged.
You can only get 1080p by watching Blu-Ray discs. Cable and satellite providers send broadcasts out at 720p (1280×720—even smaller devices like the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus display this much information) and 1080i. The “i” means that while your television shows you 1920×1080 pixels, they’re put onto the screen in a staggered manner; the resolution is the same as 1080p, but flicker is introduced.
In the latest generation of TV’s, like LG’s new 84 inch flagship, “i” versus “p” probably doesn’t matter; the screen is refreshed so quickly that most people won’t be able to pick up the flicker, even if they try. But packing more pixels onto a screen won’t ever matter, because 1920×1080 is as much information as is available to display, period.
So you don’t need LG’s new 4K television; put that $22K back in your pocket.
On the other hand, LG’s 4K television being introduced without having a practical purpose gives me a chance to talk about business change management. There’s a tremendous amount of noise bouncing around; LG’s 4K sleight-of-hand is just one of several similarly silly stories (say that three times fast!) that broke yesterday. How do you keep track of it all and avoid the pitfalls?