by Leo Jakobson | January 12, 2016
4K high definition televisions are so 2015.

That seems to be the message being delivered at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. In the television category, which had only moved from 1080p "full" high definition to 4K high definition -- four times more pixels than 1080p -- a couple of years ago, "High Dynamic Range" or HDR is the topic du jour at CES.

It's important to understand that HDR does not mean more pixels. In fact, when electronics companies talk about HDR, what they mean is 4K HDR. Because not all 4K televisions are HDR, but all 2016 HDR televisions are 4K. 

What HDR does is provide million more colors and a wider range of brightness levels between white and black than "normal" 4K televisions. There are blacker blacks -- always a problem on LED flatscreen televisions -- and whiter whites, and, ultimately, a better picture. What many experts -- particularly those at CES viewing HDR sets in person -- say is that the difference between a 4K HDR and standard high definition set is greater than that between a non-HDR 4K set and standard high definition. Or as CNET put it, "4K yawns, high dynamic range dawns."

All of the major brands -- Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and LG -- have unveiled HDR televisions at CES, and have agreed to standards for the label "Ultra HD Premium" for the new technology.

Sony has announced three 4K HDR lines: 

-- XBR-X850D: 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch models
-- XBR-X930D: 55- and 65-inch models
-- XBR-X940D: 75-inch model

All will be available this spring. For more information, contact Sony Premium Incentive Sales.