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July 13, 2014 09:55 PM

High-Resolution Revolution

Sioux Falls, SD

It wasn't that long ago when high definition was on the cutting edge of television technology. But nowadays, viewers have not only grown accustomed to seeing HD on their screens, they're starting to cast their gaze upon the even sharper images created by the latest breakthrough: Ultra-High Definition.

Viewing habits are getting more refined in this digital age.

"How'd you like to play your Wii on this thing, huh," Sara Erickson said.

"Good," eight-year-old Thomas Erickson said.

Ultra high definition is an eye-popping revelation to the Erickson family.

"It just kind of pops out at you, it's like you're there," Sara Erickson said.

Ultra high definition provides twice the resolution of standard high definition.

"Ultra high definition, hands down, would be the best-looking picture that you have seen on a television to date," Karl's Sales Associate Dave Anderson said.

Karl's sales associate Dave Anderson sold one of the very first Ultra-HD televisions in South Dakota, at the ultra-high price of $17,000.

"A gentleman was looking to have a new television for watching the Super Bowl. That was February of 2013. And we were able to make that dream come true for him," Anderson said.

When this 84-inch Ultra High Def screen first hit the store, it's suggested retail price was $20,000. Now it's selling for about $7,500. And the prices are expected to keep dropping for all types of models for ultra high def.

"The newer models that you're finding in the 55's and the 65-inch TV's are down in the $3,000 range today," Anderson said.

The Ericksons aren't in the market for a new TV, right now. But ultra high definition is very much on their radar when it does come time to upgrade.

"Eventually, down the road, that'd be something for sure for us. I think for the kids, they'd love it. Especially for movies," Erickson said.

Cost is one factor keeping the Erickson's from buying into Ultra HD. Another reason is a lack of content.

"You know, you buy something one year, and it's the newest thing and then the next year, they come up with something totally different and then you've got to buy the whole thing for the next TV and that's really hard as a family because it can be kind of expensive for us," Erickson said.

But more Internet video providers are offering Ultra HD programming.

"I think you're going to start seeing a lot more streaming options through Netfix with it. They are currently offering House of Cards as well as Breaking Bad in 4K. Next year, they're going to be releasing Orange is the New Black in 4K. There are some devices that the manufacturers are manufacturing for the televisions that also offer 4K content," Anderson said.

TV networks are also shooting in ultra-high definition.

"They don't offer it over the airwaves, but they will record high-profile sports, such as the Super Bowl, and broadcast internally in 4K, but they can't put it over the airwaves, yet. It increases the resolution if they zoom in, perhaps to show a player stepped out of bounds or not," KELOLAND-TV Chief Engineer Paul Myrick said.

Myrick says we may be another three to four years away before most TV stations begin the transition to broadcast in ultra high definition. That gives families like the Ericksons a few years yet to see the benefits in their living room.

"That's a nice picture," Erickson said.

Karl's says there's still a benefit to buying now even though stations are years away from broadcasting in ultra-high definition. Anderson says an ultra-high def television greatly enhances the picture quality of standard high definition.

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