Business & Economy

With the ultra-HD 'After Earth,' Sony rolls out an ultra-HDTV. Will you buy one? (poll)

Will Smith, left, and Jaden Smith star in Columbia Pictures'
Will Smith, left, and Jaden Smith star in Columbia Pictures' "After Earth." The film was shot in 4K ultra high definition.
Frank Masi, SMPSP

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The sci-fi movie "After Earth" opens Friday in theaters, but look closer and you'll notice it's filmed in 4K ultra high definition — which provides greater picture clarity than regular HD. 

The movie is about a father and son trying to survive on Earth after a crash landing, 1,000 years after humans had abandoned the planet.  

"The picture that was captured by these cameras is clearer than many of the pictures we see in [other] movies," said Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies. "There's more depth to the image and more detail," he said. A division of Sony Pictures presented "After Earth."

The 4K Ultra HD has four times as many pixels as the standard high definition format (the Sony 4K has 3,840 x 2,160 versus the 1920 x 1080 resolution for standard full HDTV's). It's been in use in film production, and now TV manufacturers — including Sony — are making 4K TVs. A Sony 4K ultra high definition TV set can sell for $5,000 or more.  

Douglas Wellman, the assistant dean of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, says demand for those TVs will increase as more movies are filmed in 4K, similar to what happened with high definition TVs.

"It will be like anything else, you'll see the difference in quality, and the consumers will want it and they'll go looking for that television set to display it," Wellman said.

Other industry watchers aren't so sure. They argue that the difference between ultra HD and HD isn't significant enough to persuade consumers to accept the 4K TV's hefty price tag.