Television manufacturers are betting ultra high definition will be the next big thing in home entertainment, bringing out a range of sleek new UHD sets despite there not being much in the way of 4K TV available at present. Netflix and Amazon are believers, promising to deliver 4K video via internet video streaming services well […]
Television manufacturers are betting ultra high definition will be the next big thing in home entertainment, bringing out a range of sleek new UHD sets despite there not being much in the way of 4K TV available at present.
Netflix and Amazon are believers, promising to deliver 4K video via internet video streaming services well in advance of traditional broadcasters. In the vernacular of savvy media types, 4K is ready to go OTT (Over-the-Top).
There are, of course, plenty of sceptics who believe this 4K push is premature. They point to a dearth of content, nascent standards and inadequate broadcasting infrastructure. And while 4K offers four times the resolution of todays full high definition, theres considerable debate as to whether pixel count alone actually creates a better viewing experience.
This slow and steady approach to 4K delivery has not stopped some of Europes more ambitious broadcasters from forging ahead. The satellite operator SES revealed that it has carried out tests for major European clients including Sky Deutschland, Sky UK and Canal Plus in France and Spain, predicting there will be multiple 4K/Ultra-HD channels as soon as autumn 2016.
The creative director of BBCs Natural History Unit also went on record to say he couldnt imagine returning to HD after shooting new nature series Survival in 4K. Sky Sports conducted the UKs first live 4K broadcast back in September during a Premier League football match and found the format had “real potential”.
Within no time, Middle East broadcast organisations will also join the 4K club, as they realise the availability of compelling 4K UHDTV content will attract consumers, enabling them and media companies to further demonstrate revenue-generating service innovations within the industry.
Arab film producers and directors like Khaled Abol Naga, Ali Mostafa and Nayla Al Khaja have all used 4K production cinema kits and are upbeat about the possibilities of this technology.
The momentum building for 4K TV underscores just how much the television market has evolved in the decade since HD was rolled out. Back then, even with satellite channels, TV was defined by scarcity. Now, your TV is one screen of many. Consumers have come to expect choice and control in the media they consume.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes “we have reached an inflection point” where the traditional model of linear TV is giving way to a new world of applications across a raft of devices. Of course, this could be viewed as a threat to traditional broadcasters but it also provides fresh impetus for those looking to push the boundaries. The producers embracing 4K now are the ones likely to be wowing audiences when broadcasters finally flick the 4K switch.
A recent report by US market research firm Park Associates predicted 4K TVs will reach mass-market pricing in the next two to three years and be in 80% of US households in 10 to 12 years.
“4K TV adoption is following the same pattern as HDTV but prices are dropping more quickly,” explained the firms President, Stuart Sikes.
If its estimates are accurate, 4K TV will grow at an even faster rate than HDTV.
Science fiction author William Gibson once memorably remarked, “The future is already here its just not evenly distributed.”
Thats very much the picture with 4K at present.
Change is never easy, especially when the stakes are high and the outcome uncertain. But when it comes to technology, the only way is forward and the only question is how quickly we can adapt.
Hendrik Verbrugghe, Marketing Director, Canon Middle East.