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CEA tags 4K displays 'Ultra High-Definition'

The viewing displays for 4K resolution video have now been officially branded “Ultra High-Definition” in the U.S. by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which represents major consumer electronics manufacturers. The Ultra High-Definition or “Ultra HD” label will now be displayed on sets that can produce an image made up of 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 pixels, or roughly 4X the resolution of what we in the U.S. have come to know as high definition (or 1920 x 1080).

The CEA’s Board of Industry Leaders unanimously voted to endorse the recommendations of the organization’s 4K Working Group. The name (initially coined by the Japanese broadcaster NHK, which pioneered the format) and related minimum performance characteristics are designed to help consumers and retailers understand the attributes of this next generation of television display technology beginning to roll out in December.

The vote came during the Board’s meeting at CEA’s annual CEO Summit and Board Retreat held last week in Sonoma, CA.

The Working Group, now known as the CEA Ultra HD Working Group, was formed earlier this year to bring a wide array of stakeholders together to discuss how best to define and educate consumers about 4K technology.

“Ultra HD is the next natural step forward in display technologies, offering consumers an incredibly immersive viewing experience with outstanding new levels of picture quality,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA. “This new terminology and the recommended attributes will help consumers navigate the marketplace to find the TV that best meets their needs.”

The consumer electronics industry’s new designation for Ultra HD products was the result of extensive consumer research conducted by CEA’s market research group. “Ultra HD” consistently rated highest in terms of helping consumers understand the technology and in communicating the technology’s viewing experience.

The group also defined the core characteristics of Ultra High-Definition TVs, monitors and projectors for the home. Minimum performance attributes include display resolution of at least 8 million active pixels, with at least 3840 horizontally and 2160 vertically.

Displays will have an aspect ratio with width to height of at least 16 x 9. To use the Ultra HD label, display products will require at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native 4K format video from this input at full 3840 x 2160 resolution without relying solely on up-converting.

“TVs remain highly sought after and were the second most frequently mentioned device on consumer wish lists this holiday season, behind only tablets,” Shapiro said. “There has never been a greater time to be a consumer of televisions and displays. You can select from a wide array of choices offering outstanding high-definition picture quality, an amazing 3D experience, and interconnectivity within and outside of the home. And now we are proud to present Ultra HD for those consumers who want tomorrow’s next-generation of displays and televisions, today.”

Sony, though a member of the consumer electronics group, said it will continue to use the term 4K and will brand its products as 4K UHD. The Verge, the technology web site, wrote: “Sony will continue to use the 4K moniker for its products and will market its future products as 4K ultra high-definition (4K UHD).”

NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, has also used the term “Ultra High Definition Television” for the Super Hi-Vision 8K system it is developing.

It is expected that Ultra HD technology will be prominently displayed at the 2013 CES show in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-11, 2103.