Over the past year, I’ve been gearing up for the inevitable 4K future. With this means I’m endlessly putting information into Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and comparing to the point that I found a grey hair on my forearm when I was working early this morning. Yeah. After all, I have to replace 30+ Blu-Rays in my collection with 4K Ultra HD Blu-Rays, buy an Xbox One S or Xbox One X in addition to a PS4 Pro, new HDMI cables and that’s no small feat. That alone is at least asking a consumer like me to spend $1,000-$1,500 if I want to get the most out of my $1,000 TV I just bought.
With this op-ed, I hope to show you that while our future is new and exciting, there exists a new problem that many consumers like me aren’t quite prepared for that has existed since the jump from SD to HD back in 2006 with the launch of the PlayStation 3 that’s becoming a harder and harder argument to make with the arrival of 4K televisions: Why should I spend $1,000 on a TV now when a new resolution will be out sooner than later?
How do I reconcile a $1,000 purchase with both my bank account and my anxious mind? How do I stop being so stressed on spending that much money on something that displays moving images? Why am I so stressed about it? Why can’t I just hop on over to Best Buy? Why can’t I just pick something and be fine with it for a year or more? Why does it matter so much? How do I sell all those Blu-Rays that I’ll eventually have to upgrade? Why do I have to compare and contrast between Samsung, TCL, Vizio and LG’s smart operating systems? Does a 1.5ms delay in response time actually mean anything? Why do I need Dolby Vision as well as HDR10? Do I need to spend $1,000? Why not buy a cheap 4K TV and be done with it? These questions and these answers have been haunting me every time I go on Blu-Ray.com or Best Buy to check out what others have. Every time I see a TV, I’m already having to grab for my anxiety medication just because I’m seeing data in my head and comparing it with what I’ve already looked at time and time again. I don’t say this to make myself out to be crazy. I say it simply to bring to light the anxiety of “upgrade season”, as it’s so affectionately referred to by companies like Best Buy or even cellular networks like Verizon.
Also, how do I know that the TV I buy in a week will be worth the investment? With 8K TVs already being unveiled at CES 2016, I’m left with cold feet. I know I need a new TV, but given this revelation earlier last year, I’m so much less inclined to feel comfortable buying a mid-tier 4K TV or even a new Xbox One or PlayStation 4 with rumors of developers switching to the next generation of consoles. At the same time, I see 4K Ultra HD Blu-Rays being announced almost every week now that adoption is surpassing HDTV levels.
It also doesn’t help that the past two years of researching what exactly 4K means, what it can do and what HDR adds to that experience just doesn’t make sense to a majority of the population. Earlier today, I had a Twitter friend just straight up ask his followers what TV to buy because he knew absolutely nothing about 4K TVs or HDR & its benefits and that terrifies me. How do you even start to explain picture quality and very technical details of what the differences are? Honestly, I just stick them in the 4K TV selection in Best Buy and show them the LG OLEDs and that’s when it clicks for them. That said, I can’t stick everyone asking me what is better into a Best Buy and have them just sit there. Some people just don’t have time for things like that. The people I talk to just want to add it to their cart on Amazon and have it arrive at their home the next day or so. Either that, or I tell them to go to the Dolby Cinema I have up at AMC Barrywoods. It’s the best way for me to describe the way 4K works in combination with HDR. Other than that, I’m at a loss for words. And that’s a problem. Imagine what the conversation looks like when 8K TVs become popular. Do I say the same? Probably not. I’ll probably just have to pull out an Excel spreadsheet or something and, again, that’s a problem.
This is a problem that plagues even modern day smartphones. I mentioned Verizon for a reason. I’m also in the market for a new smartphone after the iPhone X launched and had some problems with “Face ID”. Gross name, lamer security. Also, no Home button AND no headphone jack? It’s $999.99. Come on, Apple. Nonetheless, the issue of dropping Touch ID for Face ID, which is proven to be inferior in every sense of the word and just a hassle to have to do every time you want to look at a notification. I’m a city guy and I can’t always look down at my phone just to see what text message I got or whether or not I have to check in on my chickens in Egg, Inc. I mayyy have spent some money on that game, by the way. Sorry. Also, why spend $1,000 on a phone that has that ridiculously stupid “notch” at the top?! Ugh.
Nevertheless, upgrade season is stupid and I hope companies like Samsung, Apple, VIZIO, LG, Best Buy and dozens of others figure it out, because I don’t like having grey hairs on my forearms.