Will InfoComm 2014 Be the Year of 4K?

After a week in Vegas for the biggest pro AV show in the industry, we expect to hear a lot more about this crystal-clear technology, 4K, and why it’s here to stay.

Just about every year, there seems to be a technology or a trend that people who go to InfoComm‘s annual mid-June showcase head back to their offices talking about or bragging to their coworkers that they do better than anyone else in the industry.

This year, that could be 4K or Ultra HD.

While we got a taste of 4K at InfoComm 2013 in Orlando, the technology has advanced far enough over the past 12 months that we expect to see examples of what it can do and where it can be implemented in almost every one of the bigger booths on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the tradeshow starting June 18.

Installation Possibilities Abound

Even though 4K has seen rapid adoption on the commercial side — faster than even many manufacturers expected — there are still many new possibilities for the technology, says Dan Smith, director of sales at LG, which will be launching its 98- and 105-inch 4K displays at InfoComm 2014.

He’s been impressed with how quickly retail has embraced 4K, even as connectivity standards and delivery systems had to change as a result of the new technology.

Related Slideshow: 14 Crystal Clear 4K Solutions at InfoComm 2014

“The content is more available right now on the commercial side, so that’s why we’ve seen more rapid adoption there than on the consumer side,” says Smith.

Clothing retail stores have been most interested in 4K displays, he says, with a lot of 2×2 video walls using the clearer pictures to attract more customers.

Even most mobile phones today are equipped with 8-megapixel cameras, which is 4K quality, says Smith, so the technology has become increasingly pervasive. And, to clear up some confusion, while there is some difference between 4K and Ultra HD (4K has more vertical lines of resolution), the technologies overlap “about 99.5 percent,” he says.

In education, “it’s a matter of budgeting, as it is with everything else when it comes to technology,” as far as when 4K will take off. Many school districts are starting to do pilot 4K programs, he notes, to see how different the technology is and what they can accomplish with it.

The corporate market is embracing 4K as they move from projectors to flat-panel displays, says Smith. It’s also becoming increasingly popular in digital signage displays and for video conferencing, he says.

Seeing Is Believing

For those who still fear that 4K will go the way of 3D, Smith says that worry is unfounded and unnecessary.

“4K is a certainty,” he says. “3D requires glasses and there’s significant objection to that. 4K has enough momentum already to know it’s going to work and it’s going to be something people want. Broadcast is already talking about 8K and 16K, so it’s definitely something that’s going to be here for a while. It’s a question of when, not if. Any display that’s 70 inches or more that’s not UHD is already obsolete.”