As I mentioned on the introduction part 1 of this series:
Regardless what A/V gear you buy today it is already obsolete for some functionality or feature, primarily due to HDMI and 4K with HDR, but audio is not as innocent as it seems compared to the former. Consumers know that manufacturers want them to buy again and replace components that are still perfectly functional for the legacy content they already have, but there is not a single component on a home theater that maybe fully compatible with the rapidly changing features and standards that are continuously emerging and most components are not upgradeable.
Most consumers may resist the urge of upgrading, and continue with stereo, Dolby Digital, DTS, HDTV, cable/satellite set-top-box, 5.1 channels (if you have that, many only have a bar or two speakers), but the fact is that the components they use for those purposes are not compatible with new technology and content that are already here, not to mention with what is coming down the line.
On the first article of this series I started with audio, the second article was about video, the third article was about connectivity, this article is about not-too-distant-future, the following and final article will cover Internet and Broadcasting, and the Final thoughts.
The Not-Too-Distant Future
Consumers often ask what they could buy with some reasonable level of future proof in light of how expensive many components are. We all know that the A/V industry never stops, but now is moving much faster in both fronts of audio and video (and connectivity), to the point that not even recently announced 2016 top-of-the-line UHDTVs that are not yet available for purchase would be able to provide some future proof comfort longer than a few months after they will be released, why?
For example, some known features that are part of the UHDTV phased standard will create obsolescence, such as UHDTVs to been able to handle the expanded Rec. 2020 color space (not just as a container) in addition to the DCI/P3 color space handled by some new 2016 UHDTV models.
Another feature would be not to be able to receive and/or display 120 fps UHD content (in addition to the current 24fps from film sources and 60 fps from video camera sources) a feature that would also facilitate frame conversions to either format.
Another feature would be not be able to receive higher bit rates, such as the 12-bits of Dolby Vision HDR, which many 2016 UHDTVs do not, with the exception of LG 2016 OLEDs and Vizio top-of-the-line, for example.
Or to receive 8K sources, which is being implemented in Japan and 8K TVs were already demo by some TV manufacturers at earlier CES events. At CES 2016, a few weeks ago, several 8K TV sets were displayed and will soon be available for purchase, not just technology statements or prototypes.
A collateral damage of 8K is that 8K requires a higher bandwidth of connectivity and is not supported by the current HDMI 2.0a spec/chipsets/cables. Faster or (hopefully not) compressed interfaces are needed, such as a next version of the HDMI 2.0a spec, Display Port (mainly applied to the computer industry), or Super MHL, which often demo their capability to handle 8K.
Stay tuned to the next article on this series about Internet and Broadcasting, and the Final thoughts.
Posted by Rodolfo La Maestra, February 19, 2016 7:00 AM
About Rodolfo La Maestra
Rodolfo La Maestra is the Senior Technical Director of UHDTV Magazine and HDTV Magazine and participated in the HDTV vision since the late 1980's. In the late 1990's, he began tracking and reviewing HDTV consumer equipment, and authored the annual HDTV Technology Review report, tutorials, and educative articles for HDTV Magazine, DVDetc and HDTVetc magazines, Veritas et Visus Newsletter, Display Search, and served as technical consultant/editor for the "Reference Guide" and the "HDTV Glossary of Terms" for HDTVetc and HDTV Magazines. In 2004, he began recording a weekly HDTV technology program for MD Cable television, which by 2006 reached the rating of second most viewed.
Rodolfo's background encompasses Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Audio and Video Electronics, with over 4,700 hours of professional training, a BS in Computer and Information Systems, and thirty+ professional and post-graduate certifications, some from MIT, American, and George Washington Universities. Rodolfo was also Computer Science professor in five institutions between 1966-1973 in Argentina, regarding IBM, Burroughs, and Honeywell mainframe computers. After 38 years of computer systems career, Rodolfo retired in 2003 as Chief of Systems Development from the Inter-American Development Bank directing sixty+ software-development computer professionals, supporting member countries in north/central/south America.