LG (opens in new tab) has today launched in Korea the world's first 84in Ultra Definition 3D TV – and it's planning to roll out the model, which offers four times the resolution of current Full HD TVs, in global markets from next month.
Those sales will follow the TV's European debut at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics show, which opens to the public in Berlin at the end of next week.
But it won't be alone with bigger, better-resolution TVs: so far we've heard of plans by both Sony and Toshiba to show similar screens at IFA.
Launching the new TV in Seoul, the president and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company, Havis Kwon, said the company was putting down its marker in what it clearly expects to be a growing market sector.
'The 4K display market is still in its infancy but it was important for LG to claim a stake in this space,” he said, adding that 'LG’s UD 3D TV represents a whole new level of home viewing experience because it offers every advanced technology we currently have to offer.'
The new model offers 8m pixels per frame, its 3840x2160-pixel resolution being four times that of standard Full HD TV panels. It uses the company's Triple XD Engine, along with Resolution Upscaler Plus to render images from lower-resolution sources to the new screen.
Cinema 3D is backed up with 3D Depth Control and 3D Sound Zooming, along with 2D-to-3D conversion and Dual Play for gaming, allowing two players to see different images on the same screen.
The TV has also has a full suite of Smart TV features, is controlled by LG's latest Magic Remote, and has a 2.2-channel sound system using two 10W speakers and a pair of 15W woofers.
It's due to go on sale in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America starting in September.
This 'general release' model follows a limited run of the ultra-premium version (above) of the technology, which was launched in Korea a month ago . Designed to sell for just a month, and in an edition of just 84 models, the LG 84LM9600 was listed at just under £14,000.
Meanwhile Toshiba, which currently has the only 4K ultra-high-definition TV available on the market, the £7000 55in 55ZL2 (above), is set to announce an 84in version of the same technology at IFA ahead of sales expected to begin between April and September of next year.
The 55ZL2 was first announced in Europe at last year's IFA, and sales began here earlier this year; Japanese reports say Toshiba's 84in model is expected to sell for around ¥1m, or about £8000.
And Sony, which already has a 4K home cinema projector in its range – the £16,790 VPL-VW1000ES (above) – is expected to launch its first super-sized 4K TV at IFA as part of the company's strategy to turn around its long-term loss-making TV division.
It seems the big TV names, having discovered that 3D is no longer the way to encourage consumers to spend more on TVs in a global market all about tumbling LCD screen prices, are now going for the 'bigger and better' approach with their latest premium sets.
Speaking to the Korea JoongAng Daily at the launch of the LG set, company vice-president Lee Tae-gweon said, 'Despite grim economic circumstances, we saw bigger growth in demand for 60-inch TVs than for 32-inch TVs in the local market. We believe there will also be strong demand in overseas markets.'
True, there's not much 4K2K content out there as yet, but with the ability to upscale Blu-ray to the higher resolution of the new screens, plus ongoing tests such as the recent BBC/NHK Super Hi-Vision trials at the London 2012 Olympics, the predictions are that sales of 4K TVs are expected to grow over the next few years.
US market analyst DisplaySearch predicts that annual shipments of 4K TVs will rise to over 4m units by 2016 – and sales of 4m+ TVs commanding premium prices would be good news for those struggling TV divisions.
– We'll be at IFA from next Wednesday to bring you all the news from the big names' press conferences, and details of all the significant launches and announcements.