by Jin S. Kim
Sony has decided to put commercial development of OLED televisions on ice for now and instead focus on 4K ultrahigh-definition LCD TVs.
According to the Nikkei article Sony’s market share of 4K TVs in terms of revenue was 20%+ in 2013. Sony plans to release eight new 4K LCD TVs — that’s 40-50% of Sony’s total LCD TV lineup, significantly more than 10-20% last fiscal year — this summer and quadruple sales. Most of the people involved in the development of OLED TVs at its Atsugi Technology Center will be reassigned to focus on 4K LCD TVs.
At this point a 4K TV is just a nice-to-have. The only real 4K content, in the U.S., at the moment is from Netflix, but you’ll need new 4K TVs with built-in H.265/HEVC decoders. The broadband bandwidth requirement to stream 4K from Netflix is surprisingly low at 15.6 Mbps, but I would bet there are some compression artifacts. Amazon, Comcast, Fox, and others are planning to start offering 4K content later this year.
My recommendation is to wait until Black Friday and see what kind of deals you can get for a 4K LCD TV. By that time there should be more 4K content available, too.