This week at the Consumer Electronics Association’s Line Show event, Toshiba’s Scott Ramirez offered some more details on the company’s forthcoming 4K Ultra HD TVs, a 4K media box and a new soundbar.
Ramirez opened up the press conference with some observations about the current state of TV sales. Screen size, especially 50 inches and above, is where the growth is. A 50-inch TV is no longer a big TV; let’s call it a medium large. The other important observation is that 3D is not the driver it was expected to be. Blame, if you want to call it that, can be pinned on a lot of factors, from the lack of quality content, to poor marketing to consumer apathy—and let’s not forget the annoying glasses. However you look at it, the market seems to have met 3D with a shrug. Will 4K be different?
Ramirez says it will, and he’s got a good reason to think so. Aside from size, the number one reason people by new TVs is for better picture quality. 3D wasn’t necessarily a picture quality innovation, while 4K inherently is—whether you think the increase in resolution is a noticeable or necessary improvement is another matter, but there’s no questioning the fact that 4K resolution offers more picture detail.
Toshiba’s 4K L9300 TVs, previously announced at CES earlier this year, now have prices, and while they’re more than you’d pay for a conventional 1080p TV, they’re not outrageous, which suggests that the conversion to 4K is likely going to happen fairly quickly.
The line starts out with a 58-inch model at $4,999. A 65-inch will sell for $6,999, and the big 84-inch will be $16,999 (which is about what LG introduced its 84-inch model for). The rollout will begin in August.
Ramirez acknowledged that this year will be a bit of a struggle for 4K because of a lack of 4K content, which is why the company is emphasizing the L9300’s video processing capabilities. Toshiba calls its processing technology CEVO 4K, a system that utilizes both a quad and a dual-core processor, which is in addition to the TV’s main system-on-a-chip processor. The processes applies 4K upconversion, fine texture and gamma restoration, brilliance restoration (which Toshiba says enhances contrast and brightness), and resolves 24fps judder.
Along with the three 4K UHDTVs, Toshiba is launching a 4K-upconverting Blu-ray player, the BDX6400 for $299. When connected to a Toshiba 4K TV, the player will scale 1080p content to 4K and then leave the other enhancements to the TV. When it’s connected to another manufacturer’s 4K TV the player will upscale 1080p content, but also add another layer of processing. Toshiba’s BDX6400 is the first Blu-ray player in the industry to receive Technicolor’s 4K certification.
To sweeten the deal at launch time, Toshiba is going to offer a bundle at retail which includes a 4K TV, a soundbar and the BDX6400 Blu-ray.
The slim box underneath the TV is Toshiba’s BDX6400 Blu-ray player.