Ultra HD gives 4K TV a brand of its own

The next generation of super-resolution TVs you'll be guilted into feeling bad for not shelling out for at Best Buy has been named, with 4K getting its final branding as "Ultra High Definition." Sets will need to deliver at least 3,840 x 2,160 resolution in order to qualify as Ultra HD, the Consumer Electronics Association has decided, with an aspect ratio of width to height of at least 16:9; there are also requirements in what inputs any Ultra HD display must have.

At least one digital input needs to support the native 4K signal, without relying solely on upconverting from lower resolution feeds. Of course, that still leaves the potential for existing connectivity with lower capabilities, and we're likely to see the first batch of TVs only including one or two of the 4K-capable ports and relying on more humble resolution hook-ups for legacy components.

TVs and projectors capable of Ultra HD resolution have been on sale for some months now, though they're generally seen as more about manufacturers boasting than having any realistic sales potential. Common across them all is a high price: $20,000 for LG's most recent set, for instance, looking almost like a bargain in comparison to the $25,000 84-inch Sony.

Unsurprisingly, the electronics industry is the most excited about the new tech, having seen 3D fail to gather the same momentum as observed in the SD to HD switchover. Ultra HD's potential for driving sales may well stumble because of the nature of high-resolution sets, however: you need a big panel to enjoy the benefits, and that requires a big room and a big wallet.