Geek Revolt

Sony’s 4K vs. Microsoft’s Illumiroom: Which Will Reign Supreme Next-Generation?


Sony is pushing 4K TVs and Microsoft just unveiled IllumiRoom, a research project that will make games more immersive. Each could play a vital role in their company’s next-generation consoles, but which will reign supreme? Is this the PS3’s Blu-ray vs the 360’s HD DVD (add-on) all over again?


  • 4K Advantages – Let’s start with 4K; smartphones and tablets have high-density displays, so it makes sense for TVs to breach 1080p. Movies and games will look amazing, and your old HDTV will look like a CRT from 1998. Can you imagine Uncharted 4 on a 4K display? Now, that’s what I call, next-gen.
  • 4K Disadvantages – Cost, that’s 4K’s major disadvantage, no one wants to pay a ridiculous amount of money on a new TV. Especially when they’re old one still produces a great picture. Also, let’s be honest, most games won’t support this resolution. Games are barely HD now, they aren’t going to jump to 4K when the PS4 hits. Hell, we’ll be lucky to see universal 1080p.


  • IllumiRoom Advantages – IllumiRoom is a research project, but it could follow in Kinect’s footsteps. It uses Kinect and a projector to scan your room, and then it puts effects on your walls. This will boost immersion, and impress your friends. This is also guaranteed to be cheaper than a 4K TV.
  • IllumiRoom Disadvantages – Honestly, this looks gimmicky and possibly distracting. Exciting at first, but ultimately a waste of time. Still, thanks to all of the pretty effects and Microsoft’s marketing expertise, the general public will eat this up.

IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV for an Immersive Gaming Experience - YouTube

Okay, who comes out on top? Well, I’m guessing IllumiRoom. If priced right it will be a huge hit, 4K TVs have an uphill battle. The public resisted 3D, the same will happen with 4K. It’ll take off once prices drop (when Vizio makes a cheap Walmart one) and 4K content becomes widely available. But I don’t see that happening soon, maybe 4-5 years into the next console generation.

This was just a quick comparison, tell us your thoughts in the comments. 4k, IllumiRoom, or neither?

I'm DeShaun Zollicoffer, and I approve this message/bio. "28-years-old, Proud Northeast Ohioan, a Gamer Without Loyalties, an Equal Opportunity Offender, Apple Evangelist, Apple Hater, Music Lover, Anime Junkie, Little Monster, Frequent Flyer, Dexter Fanatic, Title Case Addict, and Geek Revolt's Founder and Editorial Director."
  • Kamille

    Total waste of time. The Illumicrap whatever seems crap and you will not be able to notice any difference on a 4K display unless you play/watch on a 100 inches screen or something.

    • I agree, the high displays make more sense on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. All of those are held close to your face, so you notice the higher pixel count.

  • R

    This comparison makes no sense; it is nothing at all like HD-DVD and BD.. Illumicrap would probably benefit from 4K; 4K is a tech likely to be adopted for next gen-TV no matter what and will likely become mainstream and cheap just like 1080p was 15 years ago. Remember that 1080p 32″ that cost you $6000 ten years ago. And yes, Illumicrap is a gimmick that most wives will tell you to turn off!

    • They’re being compared because Sony & Microsoft will use them as selling points, both will enhance your viewing experience, etc.

      Sony: “The PS4 will have 4K games!”

      Microsoft: “Here’s Illumiroom, it’ll bring you closer to the action!”

  • they arent even for gaming, 4k is a gimmick and microsofots thing is a joke

    • Kwame M Joseph Realtor

      4K is a gimmick. And I don’t believe Sony will taunt it as the premier feature of the PS4.. The world is not set up for mass distribution of 4K movies and no ones internet can stream it. The Netflix, Amazons, Hulus of the world will have to get on board and they do not have the technology to provide anything 4K to anyone’s home

  • RE: IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV

    “Microsoft Research” more like “Microsoft Copy Sonys Ideas Research Team”
    1 year old videos from Sony

    • This came to mind, but wasn’t this more about making cool little films? I don’t see it being used for gaming.

      • Roger

        Correct, but once you post your articles on N4G you attract the dumb and arrogant PS fanbase. That’s your own fault.

      • Kwame M Joseph Realtor

        You can seriously can’t see what was learned not being implemented into a video game environment. Dude that’s the Holy Grail of entertainment, to PUT YOU into the medium. That’s why Microsoft has Kinect Glasses coming out sometime in 2014-2015. And next generation will begin that trend upwards….and when the mainstream loving Apple get’s involved it will get interesting(Apple will eventually release something similar to Google Glasses.)

  • Angel De Santiago

    Last time I checked, TV’s werent JUST for games. They are making a lot of movies in 4k….and if you saw the presentation, that was the major sell. Movies and TV shows in 4k.

    • “Movies and games will look amazing”. I never said it was JUST for games, the problem is 4K content won’t be widely available. Sony’s movies will support it, they want us to buy these TVs, but everyone else will be slow to adopt it.

      Even in their official video above, the guy is asking about most content being HD. Sure it can upscale, but who would upgrade just to look at upscaled movies, TV, and games?

      • XavierLeromeLangham

        i see you let this person know. don’t you hate when people misquote you sigh

    • I’m fairly certain movies are recorded in excess resolution. When Bluray came out, movies from the 90’s were coming out in a higher resolution because they were already captured in a higher resolution on the master. Any IMAX movie would likely be of sufficient resolution to play on a 4k TV at native resolution. There will be a lot of content already primed and ready to be re-re-released.

  • handy

    Honestly neither interest me at this point, high price of 4K TVs and having to buy additional overpriced peripherals such as Kinect and illumiroom projector. I agree DeShaun, it looks like a gimmick that won’t add to the overall experience, perhaps will be more distracting than immersive.

    • I’ve been reading forums and comments on other sites and the reception is shockingly positive. It looks cool, but it would draw my attention away from the TV.

      Still, I can see people running to it if the price is right. I showed it to a few non-gamers and they think it’s cool.

    • Axe99

      Yup +1 – 4K TV’s look great, but I’d only get one when our current HDTV broke (it’s five years old now, but it’s still going strong). Illumiroom looks like distracting, unhealthy (playing games in a room with lighting/contrast like that will give you glasses 5 years before you’d otherwise have ’em, lol) and will likely be poorly supported (as it’ll need extra coding to get all that data in to work with the game – think of how poorly Kinect is supported, and halve that, as I doubt Illumiroom will get half the traction of Kinect). No doubt it’ll be supported in first-party titles though, and a few key second-party ones with MS backing, but it’s got ‘cheap gimmick’ written all over it. Marketing looks over-the-top fake as well, saddens me to see people falling for that.

  • XavierLeromeLangham

    this illumiroom seems useless and 4k seems like it’s going to cost way too much but if they can launch these new tv’s at current tv prices then maybe it might catch on. as for illumiroom unless they can show me how this can be a game changer it does not exist in my mind. i remember that xbox document that leaked now i know what that projection thing is

    • I have to go back and look at the document, this proves it’s authenticity. I wish they would have revealed the Next Xbox like this, call it a “research project” 😉

      • XavierLeromeLangham

        not only that BUT micorsoft made people take it down because they were in possession of the property of microsoft that’s what made it real to me this only showed me a piece of what was there and more to be shown in the future

  • Louis-Charles Desjardins

    4k and OLED will merge like with the Panasonic prototype this is the future…OLED is just a display type so no compatibility issue there but Next Gen need to have at least some 4k upscaling capabilities to be future proof, and that s a fact. Game will be native 1080p but NEED to be upscaled to 4K because in 2 or 3 years when there is 4K content and prices become closer to mainstream it will catch up for sure.720p games upscalled to 1080 look alright on Xbox and Ps3 so i guess it would be the same. As for that Ilumini thing….I have doubts….

  • I mean both have their disadvantages as you pointed out. TVs are something everyone uses though and are something people won’t mind as much investing into. although you were right on when you said that the price point is going to make a difference. if you don’t have a lcd or led tv right now, you probably can’t afford a 4k or just don’t want one. it’ll definitely take a couple years for 4k to catch on. as for illumiroom, i’m sure family friendly gamers will eat that up, but nothing beyond that. I for one don’t want to see all that nonsense while i’m playing. truthfully I doubt either will change gaming at all. that’ll be up to the console hardware and the games. we’ll see though.

  • Ari

    Whoever is your grammar and spellcheck needs to go re-read papers a couple more times.

  • Roger

    Illumiroom, definitely. 4K will be a struggle that will last forever. HDTV’s were an easier bet due to them going from huge CRT to flat LCD. Now that people all have flatpanels and that the ideal viewing distance/resolution has been achieved for most living rooms. 4K will be an even tougher battle than pushing Blu-Ray (which still isn’t mainstream when DVD ruled the market after the same period and still does). There also isn’t anything powerful enough around to run demanding games like Crysis at a stable good framerate at that resolution and neither will be the new consoles. Everything will have to be upscaled and where is the use in that?

  • both are lame

  • Kwame M Joseph Realtor

    Why not compare it to the same tech Sony is exploring? this is also pretty cool:

  • Perfect example fo comparing apples to oranges… its not a matter of picking one over the other… good points though on the disadvantages.. 4K is not affordable, and 4K just mean a feature and technology that will never be utilized…. Illumiroom… something that fanboys will praise over.. then they realize that it cost too much to change all your darn furniture becuase its “in the way” or “they don’t look good”

  • Tim

    I personally don’t see the need for 4k TV’s at this point in time. When your sitting 10-15 feet away from the TV I would be surprised if most people could tell the difference. When games were in SD people noticed. They wanted a crisper picture and thats what they got. I don’t know about you but I haven’t heard anyone complain about 1080 or even 720 for that matter. I think Sony is doing what Microsoft did with windows 8 and creating a solution for a problem that does not exist. I don’t think 1080+ resolutions are needed until way down the line most likely this will catch on at the end of the next console cycle or with the start of the one after that.

    Very nice article, short, concise, and to the point.

    • “I think Sony is doing what Microsoft did with windows 8 and creating a solution for a problem that does not exist.”

      That sums things up perfectly, thanks!

  • Why would Illumiroom be distracting, if you are the one who put the game in, because this is the game you want to play? That’s like saying the background in Guitar Hero is distracting you or something.

    • Not the same thing, the background is still on the screen. IllumiRoom puts stuff on your walls, that could draw your eyes away from the TV.

      • My point is, you’re the one that wants to play the game you’re playing. So I don’t think it will be distracting. It will be what you want it to be… all over your room and in the background. It would be like putting in a Kinect game, and then saying your arms will get sore after playing for a while.

        Well yes. Your arms will get sore, but that’s because it’s the type of game you want to play. Just like there will be things all over the place on your walls flashing and stuff, because that’s the type of game you want to play. Meh.. it’s early for me. 😉 these aren’t the droids i’m looking for.

  • i’ll go for 4k thanks.

    illumiroom feels like a waste of time.
    only perfect for horror games.
    and I would like it when you are in a snow level

  • illumiroom looks like cool tech, distracting, but cool, has living room is cooler than yours vibe…But here’s a novel idea, pictuce xbmc, netflix, whateva, you hover over a movie cover and the trailer starts player on your wall in the background ^__^ could be cool

    • Yup, I saw a mockup of something like that on NeoGaf. Or maybe it was ads on the walls, I don’t know 😀

  • Losyak

    Honestly? Neither.

  • DapperDan11

    Microsoft scanning my rooms is just creepy. Plus Illumiroom will only truly benefit bystanders watching you play, as you are engrossed in the screen. You won’t be able to fully enjoy the details of the effects outside of your tv. And 4K? Well, it sounds and looks great, but, Sony is jumping the gun by a couple years on that. LEDs are the new trend and are just now penetrating the market.

    • “Microsoft scanning my rooms is just creepy” made me think of this, but I agree.

  • I haven’t even bothered upgrading from 720p to 1080p. 4K will be the standard when PS5 hits and not a day sooner. But that projection crap MS is pushing? I don’t see how that’s considered competition to a simple increase in resolution. It’s just a gimmicky product.