Cheaper and smaller Ultra HD on the way for Australia

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

While Ultra HD (UHD) televisions are a truly luxury item at the moment, affordable sets are on the way.

At $15,999, the LG is currently the cheapest Ultra HD TV in Australia.
(Credit: LG)

With the news that Red is working on a sub-US$1500 Ultra HD player, it's seems that the technology formerly known as 4K is here to stay.

At the moment, only two UHD TVs are on sale in Australia — LG's 84-inch set for $16,000 and the Sony 84-inch Bravia for $25,000, which is the same price as the Sony 4K projector, the VPL-VW1000ES. However, two of the mid-range manufacturers are also working on Ultra HD sets, both with an eye on Australia.

Back in November, the US arm of Chinese company Hisense sent out a press release promising Ultra HD panels in 50-, 58- and 65-inch panels, all under the banner of the XT880 product. Hisense soon responded to local media outlets, saying that it anticipated that the XT880 range would be available in Australia by the end of January 2013.

Changhong, too, has confirmed to CNET Australia that it will show off Ultra HD panels at the Consumer Electronics Show next year, and will make the technology available to Australians soon after. Local Changhong reps said that a 65-inch Ultra HD television was definitely on the way and mooted the possibility of panels as "small" as 48-inches.

While pricing hasn't been discussed by either company, the two are noted for producing more affordable sets with fewer frills than the top-tier manufacturers.

Would you buy an Ultra HD TV for over $10K?

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So what are Australians willing to pay for this new TV tech? Back in 1997, a 42-inch Philips Plasma TV cost US$14,999 in the US (with home installation) — but that was a while ago and we're not as patient these days with waiting for new hardware to become a commodity. (Also, accounting for inflation, that TV was over US$21,500 in today's prices.) So, is sub-AUD$10, 000 the magic point where Ultra HD becomes "affordable". Let us know via the poll.

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MatthewP6 posted a comment   

I'll wait for Panasonic to bring out a UHDTV. I have a perfectly operational 2006 Panasonic Viera 42" Plasma, so that would have to break down before even considering a new set. This was perfect for the unit, but now in a house and it does seem a little small. 58" would be better, methinks. Still the breakdown rule applies.

As for pricing, I'd wait for a saturation point where a Panasonic 58" UHDTV hit somewhere between $7-$10k. Hopefully by then any number of movies would be available in the higher 4K resolution. As yet there are very few movies in this resolution - upscaling won't do the native resolution justice. Tom Lowe's Timescapes is 53min long, 4K and available in the US iTunes store for $299, but it's a whopping 160Gb. Wanna blow your monthly download quota with one movie?

Unless you have a dedicated Theatre of decent size, I'd suggest that anything above 58" for the average home is too big. I can see it now, speaking to the real-estate agent: "Help, I need to upgrade my house so I can fit in my UHDTV!"


AryanS posted a comment   

My friend purchased one from harvey norman and was told he was the first in australia to own one


Nic Healey posted a reply   

Was the LG one?


joytech22 posted a comment   

Over $10,000 is just a no-deal for 95% of us.
I'd rather spend that much on 6 bezel-less displays, calibrate them up and use that instead.

It'd still work out cheaper, and all you need to drive the thing is a $500 PC.
All up it'd cost what - $5000 for the entire setup? And the overall resolution would trump a single measley 4K res TV.


joytech22 posted a reply   

Make that a $1300 desktop PC just to play it safe.. :D
If you intend to game or watch movies on it.. $2500-3500.

Still cheaper than $10,000

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