A mere two years ago, discussions around the concept of 4K and Ultra HD was couched as a futuristic possibility. Now at the world’s largest gathering of broadcasters and content producers, MipTV, 4K is treated as variously a threat, opportunity and evolution for the industry at large.
The uptake of UHD will be a close runner to the adoption of HD and become part of the mass market in less than ten years, MipTV delegates heard at the conference held in Cannes, France last week.
Live sports content will be a key driver of adoption with several major broadcasters committed to UHD coverage of upcoming global sports events. IHS Technology analyst and senior director Tom Morod said that the technical ecosystem for UHD would be ready by 2017 and commercial mass market readiness would be underway by 2023. With cameras now available and affordable around 14% of European studios have invested in 4K, he said. For broadcasters Morod said “UHD channels will benefit most from focussing on premium channels which cannot be met online.”
On the content side MIPTV showcased 4K screenings from around the world including work from NHK, the BBC and FIFA. “There is a real sense that 4K is moving forward. Compared to this time last year, costs have come down and a much wider range of content is being filmed in 4k,” said 4K screenings moderator Chris Forrester.
He added that the biggest hurdle for4K was the lack of consumer penetration of 4k sets but he saw this as a temporary glitch while TV set prices come down. “In the meantime, 4k productions can be shown in cinema and public places like malls and it still looks good when shown on HD sets.”
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