Toshiba’s second-generation U-Series 4K TV will be the vanguard of an Ultra HD range including curved displays, mirrored screens for the kitchen and bathroom, and giant 8K screens.
The 4K retail range will be launched in 2015, with advanced CEVO image enhancement, support for Netflix streaming, and an ambition to narrow the price gap from today’s 2K screens.
Tatsuhiro Nishioka, senior manager at Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services, said: “There’s still a huge gap between the entry level 4K and the premium 2K TVs. It’s around 400 to 500 Euros and that’s too large.
“Next year the price gap will come down, and research shows that in 2016 one in five TVs sold in the global market will be 4K.”
It’s fair to say that Toshiba has an advantage moving into 4K, since its premium L74 model is already a 2K TV instead of just 1080p.
The impressive CEVO upscaling and image enhancement engine will be upgraded for the U-Series 4K screens to deliver a wider range of colours (the ‘ colour gamut’) alongside extra pixels.
Meanwhile, although there’s no official deal for Netflix on Toshiba TVs, they’ve been working together to support 4K streaming. Hopefully a deal similar to the one announced by Panasonic isn’t too far away.
Toshiba’s Mediaguide EPG will also be upgraded in 2015 to support twin-tuner TVs which will stream both live channels and recordings to a tablet on your home network, with an iPad demo showing a high quality HD stream.
Toshiba’s IFA roadmap goes way beyond 2015, with a concept curved Ultra HD that’s a lot more subtle than those from Samsung or LG, although Nishioka-san was keen to note that they’re still deciding just how much curve people want to see.
The 21:9 Super Widescreen Ultra HD concept TV seen at CES 2014 in January has also been developed with a smart TV service that makes use of the extra space to show news and social media without cramping a 16:9 picture.
Half-black mirrored UHD screens feature strongly in Toshiba’s future showcase too, from an 84-inch model for retail and other business uses, to smaller versions – about 40-inches in this futuristic world – for the kitchen and bathroom where they can show recipes, social media, calendars and your health information alongside TV.
The long-term goal for Toshiba – as with most Japanese brands – is the 2018 Tokyo Olympics, which will be a milestone on the journey to 8K Ultra HD.
Toshiba’s step on this journey at IFA 2014 is an 8K video wall made up of 16 regular X-series commercial 2K displays, but it’s no less impressive for it, and the goal is to combine these into a seamless wall where you can’t see the joins.
Update: Our video is now live.