You may have upgraded to an HD TV years ago or you might have bought one just recently. Despite its name, though, 'Full HD' isn't the best quality that TVs can offer. At CES, it was hard to move without seeing a 4K TV, and here we offer a selection of pictures of some that could well go on sale in the UK this year.
Of course, there's no substitute for seeing 4K footage with your own two eyes: neither these images, nor the screen on which you're reading this can hope to replicate the stunning quality these huge TVs produce, so you'll have to take our word for it - or head to your nearest John Lewis and drool over the 85in Samsung 4K model (below).
Samsung calls this floor-standing surround a 'gallery' stand and it has built-in speakers. There's no room for your DVR or Blu-ray player, though, so you'll have to find somewhere else to put them.
If a puny 85in TV isn't big enough for you, how about the 95in or even 110in versions of the same TV? The 110in version (below) dwarves onlookers, but you'll need a vast living room (or a dedicated cinema room) to fit it in.
A more realistic option for UK homes is the wall-mountable 60in version, which has a much smaller 'gallery' surround with built-in speakers.
Sony's range includes the already-on-sale XBR-84X900A, and will be joined by 55in and 65in models this summer.
LG is focusing on OLED TVs, but also has a strong 4K line-up. It announced 'more affordable' 55in and 65in models to go along with its existing 84in 4K TV, which is launced late last year. LG says it has already sold 25 in the UK, mainly to overpaid sportsmen.
LG's 4K models aren't quite as slim as its OLED TVs, but they're still svelte:
Sharp clearly wasn't too impressed with 4K, and instead showed off an 85in 8K screen. 8K has four times the resolution of 4K, making it 16 times more detailed than Full HD. Again, 8K footage has to be seen to be believed. We watched the demo footake supplied by NHK (Japan's main broadcaster) and it was as good as real life. We were encouraged to get as close as possible to the screen, and only when your face is pressed up against the TV was it just about possible to see individual pixels.
Don't expect any 8K TVs to go on sale in the UK anytime soon, though, Everything points to 4K becoming the next HD standard, although there are no guarantees.
Panasonic announced 32 new TV models at CES, but none go beyond Full HD. However, it did show a prototye of its 56in 4K OLED display. Quality was utterly amazing, but you're not going to be able to buy one for a good while. Given the price of Full HD OLED sets is slated to be around £10,000, 4K OLED sets are likely to be at least double that, if not more.
There's no doubt that the average TV size is increasing, and 4K models make sense only on larger screens where the extra detail will be apparent. Johnathan Marsh, head of buying for electricals and home technology at John Lewis, agreed: “TVs always spark excitement at CES and this year hasn’t been a disappointment. The arrival of Samsung’s 85-inch Ultra HD TV shows that home entertainment technology is set to become even slimmer with larger screens in 2013. Big screen technology has improved dramatically and as larger TVs become more affordable, they are fast becoming the norm for consumers who want a more immersive entertainment experience at home. John Lewis figures support this trend, showing that 64 per cent of TV sales have been screen sizes of 40” plus since August 2012, and we predict further growth in this area."