CEATEC 2013: 4K, 4K Everywhere, But Will Consumers Buy In?

It’s hard to swivel your head in any direction at this year’s CEATEC show in Tokyo and not see the number 4 and the letter K. The 4K boom that CE manufacturers have been hoping for has yet to arrive, but, with Christmas just months away, that hasn’t stopped them from ramping up their efforts, unveiling dozens of 4K product offerings.

Intel’s NUC box may be small, but it packs plenty of 4K punch.

Intel’s NUC box may be small, but it packs plenty of 4K punch.

The demand for 4K sets remains minimal because of sky-high costs, an infant 4K-production and -transmission infrastructure, and a serious lack of content — especially of the live-sports variety. Nonetheless, manufacturers of consumer-electronics and pro production equipment are pushing the format hard at CEATEC, with no shortage of 4K toys at the show.

In addition to Sony, which was early to the 4K game, and Panasonic, whose booth bears a “4K World” theme (CLICK HERE and HERE for SVG’s coverage), the show floor is laden with 4K displays, cameras, tablets, and much more.

Toshiba
It turned out to be awfully bad timing for Toshiba to show off its latest 4K TV offerings at CEATEC. Earlier in the week, the company announced that it will lay off half its television division in a cost-cutting move.

Shown in a pro-editing demo, Toshiba’s prototype 40- and 50-in. 4K monitors can serve as either professional or consumer displays.

Shown in a pro-editing demo, Toshiba’s prototype 40- and 50-in. 4K monitors can serve as either professional or consumer displays.

Despite the discouraging news, Toshiba is soldiering on, showcasing a pair of prototype 40- and 50-in. 4K LCD displays. Though not providing pricing or availability info, the company says the two new models will be aimed at both consumer and professional markets. The displays, shown in a professional-editing demonstration, can double as both pro-grade reference monitors and consumer televisions.

In addition, Toshiba’s booth features an army of its 58-, 65-, and 84-in. REGZA Z8X 4K sets on display — all of which are available now.

Mitsubishi Electric
With the buzz around 4K reaching a fever pitch, Mitsubishi has brought back its LaserVue technology with a prototype 65-in. 4K television set that it hopes will be a cut above the rest. LaserVue technology, which the company abandoned last year because of its cost, features a red-laser light source in the backlight that works with blue and green LEDs to create more-vivid colors and a sharper image.

Mitsubishi’s LaserVue technology has found second life, thanks to the 4K boom.

Mitsubishi’s LaserVue technology has found second life, thanks to the 4K boom.

Mitsubishi previously produced expensive non-4K 50-in. and 39-in. Real LaserVue sets but halted its efforts last year after consumer interest proved minimal.

Sharp
Although much of the attention at Sharp’s booth was paid to the gorgeous IGZO/MEMS displays, the company did have a flock of 4K television sets on hand, including an impressive 70-in. Aquos LED display.

Intel
Intel joined the 4K game, exhibiting its Haswell NUC (Next Unit Computing) D54250WYK kit, which is capable of delivering 4K video from a tiny, 4- x 4-in. over-the-top box. The Intel NUC features the fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Quick Sync Video for fast video encoding, and Display Port 1.2 for driving 4K displays.

NHK and ASTRODESIGN
Of course, if 4K isn’t enough for you, there’s always NHK’s 8K, 22.2-multichannel-surround-sound Super Hi Vision demo. The company is showing off Super Hi-Vision content both projected in a theater-style setting (with the 22.2-channel audio) and on an LCD display in a living-room setting.

Over at the Content Experience Zone, ASTRODESIGN, which has worked closely with NHK on its 8K productions, has a variety of 8K production tools on display, including the AH-4410-A 4K camera system.