Screen makers reach for 4K

4K displays

Going wide: ASUS’ 4K screens now start at 28 inches. Picture: ASUS.
Consumer electronics and computer companies are both making a push for the 4K display market, with a raft of new screens released at a range of price points.

Dell was one of the first computer companies to announce a 4K display, aimed at designers, engineers and videographers, late last year.

They have been joined by Sharp, which has developed a high-end 4K screen which is also being marketed by Apple in its online store as a companion for the 4K capable Mac Pro. The new Mac Pro boasts both Thunderbolt 2 connections as well as HDMI, opening up the possibility of multiple 4K screens.

At an even higher resolution, LG has developed a full cinema-wide screen. A 31-inch unit, instead of the 16:9 aspect ratio of most displays and TVs it is a 19:10 ratio display.

The LG also runs to true 4K, with 4096 x 2160 pixels, rather than the slightly lower Ultra HD resolution featured on most IT displays and consumer TVs. The LG screen, which the company branded as Real 4K at CES, has built-in Thunderbolt ports. As yet, LG has not confirmed pricing.

More accessible, perhaps, is the Dell P2815Q is a 28-inch, Ultra HD screen. It is expected to cost $699, and although Dell has not said exactly which connections the monitor will feature, it has said it will have multiple inputs for computers, and other devices. Dell has confirmed the screen will be on sale in Europe in mid-March, with a UK price of £439.

The Sharp PN-K321 LCD is larger, at 31 inches, and supports both HDMI and Displayport connections, with video at up to 60fps, and with built-in audio. The new screen supports 4K resolution with the new Mac Pro’s HDMI port, as well as the late 2013 MacBook Pro, although it has no in-built Thunderbolt ports. Apple is selling the Sharp screen for £3,499 in the UK.

Although these screens do not run close to the cost of dedicated production monitors from the likes of Sony, JVC, Panasonic and recently Canon, budget screen and TV makers are also moving into 4K.

So too are PC makers, who are reducing the cost of 4K by introducing screens based on smaller panels.

Panasonic’s 4K production monitor, the BT-4LH310, went on sale earlier this year at a price of US$28,000. But there are screens coming on to the market that cost a fraction of that.

Polaroid launched a 50-inch, 4K TV at CES for $999. But even cheaper options include the 55-inch, Android-powered TV from Australian company Kogan. It has a target price of AUS$999, which would bring it in at under £600 in the UK.

And PC maker ASUS is bringing out a range of 4K computer displays. The company, which has already released a 31-inch screen, has announced a 28-inch unit with a target price of US$799, or around £450.