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4K TV Beats 1080p HDTV In 'Pepsi Test'
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 18, 2013) - NBC News this week published a mocking attack on the benefits -- or lack there of -- of the new 4K TVs, saying consumers won't be able to detect the sets' purported higher resolution. (4K TV makers say their sets offer four times the resolution of a 1080p HDTV.)

Well, the British tech site,, has tried to answer the 4K critics by staging a 'Pepsi test,' asking consumers to choose between a 1080p HDTV display and a 4K TV. According to the site, the 4K TV won hands down, with only one of the 49 participants choosing the 1080p set as offering the better picture quality.

Not only that, the site says the consumers were asked to view the two sets from a distance of nine feet, which is a normal viewing distance for a normal TV. But some critics of the 4K TV say you can only detect the higher resolution in a 4K TV if you sit a few feet away.

The site, however, does offer a few qualifications. First, the 4K display videos were from a media PC of a high quality. In the coming year, 4K videos may not be so pristine with much of 4K's content coming from streaming. adds that it struggled to compare the two displays by resolution only.

There was another reason to question the test, one not offered by the site. The test was done in conjunction with the British retailer Richer Sounds, which presumably would have a vested interest in selling 4K sets. If 4K lost the Pepsi test, it would not help Richer Sounds sell 4K TV, which are several times more expensive than comparably-sized 1080p TVs.

But despite all the caveats, the HDTV Test sampling should add to the growing debate: Does 4K TV really make a difference? And if it does, will consumers see the difference?

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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