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Beware the 4K con

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Buyers of an Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV should be certain they are purchasing a genuine 4K set in order to guarantee the best entertainment experience.

This is the advice of Samsung South Africa, which is cautioning consumers against some of the so-called branded televisions on the market that are not true UHD. According to the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM), Measurement Specifications are likely to be revised so as to prevent low resolution TVs from being sold as 4K UHD TVs to unsuspecting consumers.

“Customers should always check the exact resolution of any television that claims to be UHD quality,” says Matthew Thackrah, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics SA. “A true 4K TV will have 3 840 x 2160 pixels with exceptional screen quality, whereas a fake one will only offer 3K resolution at 25% less (2 880 x 2 160). The latter also use the RGBW method – which stands for Red, Green, Black and White – that replaces some of the RGB (Red, Green and Black) sub-pixels with white sub-pixels to cut back on production costs. It also, unfortunately, cuts back on the quality.”

Thackrah says the original Measurement Specifications as outlined by the ICDM are being purposefully misinterpreted by manufacturers selling RGBW panels as UHD TVs. The colour is compromised and users therefore do not fully experience true UHD resolution. Many consumers have been caught out by the fake UHD TV moniker, not realising how the combination of RGBW technology and low 3K resolution will impact their viewing.

“It is essential to examine the credentials of any manufacturer claiming to sell a UHD TV and to make sure that resolution is true 4K,” says Thackrah. “Check that the TV has an aspect ratio of at least 16:9, a colour bit depth of 8 bits and a high frame rate of around 24p to 60p. Many units don’t have clear information about the display or the core technology, so ask the right questions and make sure you get the right answers before you make a purchase.”

Samsung has invested considerable research and development into its UHD TV range, including the premium SUHD TVs that have incredible depth, colour and captivating visual quality. Generally, fake UHD TVs do not come with as much feature variety as the genuine article and rarely give consumers the connected lifestyle and dynamic experience that come standard with the real thing.

Thackrah advises consumers that, before spending money on a new UHD TV, they need to check the specifications and be sure that it is a worthwhile investment and not a cheap fake. He says the fact that the ICDM is considering amending the Measurement Specifications going forward should provide customers with an additional layer of protection in the future.

“The picture quality of a fake UHD TV is nowhere near the deep blacks and vivid colours of true 4K,” concludes Thackrah. “It probably won’t turn on with your mobile device, tell you the weather and the time, provide a variety of connectivity options and allow for complete user control from anywhere in the home. A Samsung SUHD TV is something you can truly be proud to have in your home and we urge people not to compromise on quality.”

Spotting the difference between real and pseudo 4K / UHD TVs

  • Take a close-up photo of a white portion of your TV screen
  • Zoom in the photo as far as it will go:
    • If you see perfect vertical and horizontal lines of red, green and blue, repeated in this order throughout, your TV is a genuine 4K UHD TV.
    • However, if you see any lines of white mixed in with the red, green and blue lines, your TV delivers pseudo UHD TV.

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Future of TV in 4 letters

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Television technology has come a long way, transforming not just the way we consume our entertainment, but also the formats in which media is broadcasted or streamed. Today, TVs can do a lot more than just display our favourite shows, says DEAN DAFFUE, GTM manager at LG Electronics SA.

Today, consumers demand TVs that are not just slim, but so thin that they are like paintings on walls. TVs have become an element of décor that can seamlessly integrate into the design of a home, and render the clearest, sharpest images, with the deepest blacks and crispest whites without compromising on resolution. Home cinema is not just about the picture anymore. Consumers are eyeing TVs that would be able to learn usage patterns and automatically suggest entertainment based on individual preferences. The switch from LCD to LED transformed TV design, allowing for lighter, thinner and easily wall-mountable frames, housing even more sophisticated display tech. The picture quality also dramatically improved with new contrast ratios rendering more vivid colours, deeper blacks and crisper whites. But they were still more functional than aesthetic.

As larger segments of the population embraced internet connectivity and streaming content, the TV became smarter, integrating content-streaming apps for a more seamless viewing experience. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) upgraded their infrastructures to accommodate the growth in streaming services, TV manufacturers also upgraded their TVs’ ability to tap into different types of content.

In the future, TVs with built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to learn usage patterns and automatically switch modes based on user preference, and even take instructions from multiple users as TVs become increasingly connected to digital home assistant systems.

Six years on, and we see the evolution that continues to lead in the OLED TV market, LG is racking up awards and accolades for its innovative OLED TVs. This pioneering effort in the design and manufacturing of OLED TVs has culminated in complete dominance of the OLED market, leaving the pinnacle challenge of innovation in display technology, redefining the TV viewing experience, and its place in your home. Great efforts have been made on OLED technology being affordable and accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a better-quality television experience than before. No TV is a greater testament to this than last year’s award-winning LG SIGNATURE W7 – also known as wallpaper.

As South Africans are continuously looking for ‘an experience that amazes’, OLED TVs are considered by industry experts to offer the most advanced display technology. As each pixel on the display can be individually switched on and off, OLED offers enhanced picture quality without image degradation. This results in the highest quality image rendering with the purest blacks. With its myriad advantages, OLED panels have become the most desired display technology today and it has become a leading force in making this technology even more ubiquitous and accessible.

With support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, LG OLED TV is the first of its kind to offer a premium cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It also features Active HDR technology, which optimises HDR picture quality scene-by-scene, rendering brighter scenes and greater shadow detail for a life-like viewing experience.

Despite the market dominance, the development of newer, more innovative technologies does not stop. This year a staggering number of innovative display technologies were unveiled, such as future display technology like roll-able OLED screens and large format curved displays that will become the future of wall art.

AI is also set to make an appearance. There is a unique and personalised AI services built on the deep learning-based DeepThinQ technology, in cooperation with other AI service providers such as Google, giving AI TVs the ability to automatically adjust the settings to Game Mode, or Sports Mode based on whether a user is currently playing Xbox or watching a football match. Ultimately, AI TV will provide care and comfort to users’ mind and body by learning more about its users’ viewing habits.

What does this all mean for consumers? With continued innovation and development of display technologies, as well as advanced design, AI, premium audio integration and support for the latest resolutions, colour and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards, the TV will no longer be a display, but a complete home viewing experience. This is what new ranges of OLED TVs will bring to fruition in the coming months, making it the ideal time to upgrade your TV to the ultimate home entertainment experience.

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Game of screens

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When it comes to the ultimate home entertainment experience, what you watch is just as important as how you watch it. With streaming services like Netflix keeping people glued to their screens people are paying a lot more attention to the overall home viewing experience.

Flat panel TV screens have long been favoured as the most cost-efficient and appropriate option for everyday home entertainment. However, more and more people are investing in projectors and fully kitted-out home theatre systems to enhance the experience, as proven by the 28% global market growth of home-used projectors over the past five years. However, choosing between the myriad of options on the market today can be challenging.

Money matters

When it comes to affordability, TVs are certainly becoming more accessible than ever. Where plasma screens were once the talk of the town, and features like HD quality and larger screen size only added more zeroes to the price, today’s LED and OLED models are far more accessible and affordable for everyone – despite offering even more technologically advanced features, which is the biggest reason why people generally opt for TVs.

However, projectors have become more affordable too, and are just as easy to use. The cutting-edge models available now are a far cry from the clunky ones with poor display quality of the previous tech era. For instance, the full HD Epson TW-600 series offers everything you would expect from high-end projectors – three-times brighter, crystal clear display thanks to 3LCD technology, built-in Wi-Fi, 11 years of lamp life and a great warranty offer – at a much more attractive price point compared to other projectors on the market. Unlike TVs, however, the projectors offer an immersive, real-life experience that TVs simply can’t match.

Screen size and quality

While the cost is almost always the first factor that people consider when purchasing a home entertainment system, factors like quality and screen size are often a close second and third.

On the one hand, LED TVs are great all-rounders for sport, movies, normal TV and gaming, and offer pretty much all the average person needs in terms of a home viewing experience that ranges from adequate to impressive. There are a variety of LED TV models currently on the market that offer great resolutions and good contrast ratios, but TV screens are still limited in terms of size, which impacts the overall viewing experience.

Projectors offer all the benefits of an LED TV with the added benefit of a huge, movie-theatre like screen to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Projectors are also capable of projecting high definition content onto a surface of anywhere from 30 inches right up to 300 inches, allowing you to choose your screen size depending on your requirements.

In terms of quality, 3LCD technology, as offered by world-leading technology brand Epson, is the most popular projector technology available on the market making up more than 69% of all projectors sold worldwide. This technology offers a clearer, crisper image, showing more detail while allowing for smoother motion on-screen and more vibrant, differentiated colours.

Choosing the best screen option for your dream home theatre setup is a decision that’s best made after careful consideration of the options that are currently available. And while the average flat panel TV screen display has certainly improved over the years in terms of technology and affordability, projection technology is cutting edge, and these nifty devices are now more accessible and desirable than ever.

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