As ultra high definition – or 4K – televisions are rolled out into retailers over the coming months, one of the largest consumer electronics industry bodies in the world has pulled up manufacturers on the naming of the new products.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – organiser of the International CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas – has weighed in on the ultra high definition/4K debate, saying that the naming of the technology should clearly convey the feature set of the panels.

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While the debate over a name may seem insignificant, the terminology is important for retailers trying to effectively explain the technology to consumers and to help differentiate between the new high-end televisions and regular Full HD or HD models.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association explained.

“Ultra HD is the next natural step forward in display technologies, offering consumers an incredibly immersive viewing experience with outstanding new levels of picture quality,” said Shapiro. “This new terminology and the recommended attributes will help consumers navigate the marketplace to find the TV that best meets their needs.”

The new terminology resulted from market research, which found that “‘Ultra HD’ consistently rated highest in terms of helping consumers understand the technology and in communicating the technology’s superior viewing experience”.

At the IFA trade show in Berlin in September, both LG and Sony unveiled new ultra high definition panels to visitors, with LG opting for the UDTV tagline, while Sony labelled its technology as 4K.

According to the CEA, in order to be labelled Ultra HD a television must have a “display resolution of at least 8 million active pixels, with at least 3,840 horizontally and at least 2,160 vertically”. In addition, they must have an aspect ratio of 16×9 and an input cable that is capable of carrying “native 4K content…without relying solely on up-converting”.

For retailers, clear labelling and education for consumers will be vital if the innovative new technology is to transfer into sales on the shop floor. As with the introduction of 4G smartphones, consumers will want to know whether they are buying the top-of-the-line product or if they are paying too much.

Correct product labelling and descriptions of feature sets is more important to retailers than ever. Following the launch of the new iPad – which was 4G-capable on American networks, but not in Australia – many retailers were forced to change signage and offer disclaimers about the technical specifications of Apple’s newest product.

But done correctly, Shapiro said Ultra HD had real potential for the market.

“TVs remain highly sought after and were the second most frequently mentioned device on consumer wish lists this holiday season, behind only tablets,” he said. “There has never been a greater time to be a consumer of televisions and displays.”