So-sharpe TV screen ahead of its time

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 10:19 23/11/2012
LG 3D 84-inch Television

MIGHTY VISTA: LG's new 84-inch television goes on sale in New Zealand this month for $25,000.

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The next leap forward in television technology is set to hit New Zealand's shores, though broadcasters have some catching up to do to make it useful.

South Korean manufacturer LG said it would begin selling an ultra-high definition television in New Zealand this month, priced at $25,000.

With a 3840-by-2160 8-megapixel screen, the 3-D capable 84-inch television will offer four times the clarity of today's "full HD" TVs.

However, as no broadcasters yet transmit programming in that resolution, buyers may have a job seeking out content to show off the TV to its full effect.

Sky Television spokeswoman Kirsty Way said the pay-television firm had eight channels that provided HD programming. Ninety per cent of its channels still only show programmes in standard definition (720 x 576 pixels).

Televison New Zealand spokeswoman Megan Richards said the proportion of its programming that was in HD varied through the year depending on what it bought, but in a recent week 75 to 80 per cent of its programming was in standard definition.

"However, we do upscale all of our content to 1080i HD on playout, which means even the old 'SD' programmes look their absolute best on-air, especially on HD platforms such as Freeview HD," she said.

Shortland Street, New Zealand's Got Talent and Nothing Trivial are all filmed and broadcast in HD, as were a high percentage of TVNZ's new season shows such as Once Upon a Time, Desperate Housewives and Criminal Minds, she said.

The Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union last year announced that, after three years of discussions, an agreement had been reached on the technical standards for a more advanced form of ultra high-definition television (UHDTV) that would boast 33 million pixels. That is a screen resolution on a par with hi-tech IMAX movie theatres.

But is expected to be several years before televisions based on the standard hit the mainstream.

UHDTV is expected to eventually become a major driver behind the uptake of ultrafast broadband. That may be the only economic means of delivering programming to viewers in such high quality because of the bandwidth limitations of satellite and other conventional broadcasting technologies.

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- The Dominion Post

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