Deborah D. McAdams /
05.31.2013 10:33 AM
McAdams, et al, On: 4KTV
What is it good for?
EVERYWHERE, MAN —My friend—call him “Xerxes”—asked me to write about 4KTV. This could be another way of saying, “let’s paint a target on your back and see what happens.” My colleague just wrote an obit for 3DTV and got flamed. He looks hilarious without eyebrows.

Since I need my eyebrows for the false confidence vanity brings, I ask other people what they thought of 4KTV—fad or phenomenon? Xerxes thinks 4KTV is a snipe hunt. “Really,” he says, emphatic. “Who can see the difference?”

My BFF on 4KTV: “Why? We’re not even delivering 1080p/60 yet. 4K cameras offer improved pictures and flexibility. At home, there’s not much improvement.”

Brad Adgate, senior vice president of Horizon Media, said this: “It’s very expensive, not a lot if content outside of movies, they take up a lot of bandwidth, consumers are still getting new HD sets. So I think it’s still a few years away. That said Sharp had an 8K demo at the CES last fall.”

I asked my subjects for 20 or so words. Amberfin’s Bruce Devlin gave me 14, proving that engineers can be brief and succinct: “It will have a long life, but not as soon as people think.” And then he gave me more, proving he’s an engineer.

My server guy went political: “4K—UHDTV-1—has the potential to drive next-generation video, transmission and delivery capabilities for the industry’s facilities and viewers.” :-\

And here’s Peter Putman, quintessential display dude: “The dog will wag the tail this time; the implementation of 4K will be driven by widespread adoption in commercial markets and then trickle down to consumers.”

I took the issue to a Linkedin poll. The overwhelming result was that people don’t have much time for Linkedin polls. But a few did, and here’s what some said…

“The cost still outweighs the benefits of 4K,” Randall Barina, a production specialist in Orlando, Fla., said. “Looking at a screen from 30-plus feet away, you will not notice any difference from 720/1080 let alone 4K. But if consumers catch on and open their wallets, the production industry will surely follow.”

From Jeff Ulrich, a broadcast digital sales guru in Atlanta, Ga.: “Everyone wants a competitive advantage, and 4K presents such an opportunity, before commoditization sets in. Looking forward to that one 4K demonstration channel to show off to friends—it’ll be like HDTV and 1998 all over again!”

Here’s Frank Eory, IC designer: “Not only for production, but 4k is inevitable in the consumer space as well. I expect prices for consumer 4k displays will fall rapidly over the next few years. 4k will rapidly progress from high end niche to affordable mainstream.”

The poll was presented with five voting categories. Of all respondents, 43 percent said 4K was “for production, but not for the home,” followed by 39 percent who voted for “inevitable,” and 18 percent for “phenomenon.” No one considered 4K a “fad” or “unnecessary.”

“Definitely for production,” said producer and humorist, Walter Schoenknecht. “… always looking to shoot higher resolution! But outside of brokers and doctors, I’d think the home market would be soft. Especially because we don’t yet know about transmission... how HEVC will play out...”

And this from post production rock guitarist Paul Carey: “The real value of 4K is in production. If one realizes that all professional platforms are leveraged on the economies of scale of consumer platforms, it must fly with the consumer to work.”

So, how about that 8KTV?

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Posted by: Anonymous
Fri, 06-07-2013 04:20 PM Report Comment
Since new consumer displays above 37 inch are all going to be 4K in less than 2 years there will be lots of them going into living rooms whether asked for or not. Of course that doesn't mean there will be much 4K program delivery (also doesn't mean the CE companies will be making money on TVs again either!) Pete Challinger
Posted by: Anonymous
Sat, 06-08-2013 11:01 AM Report Comment
I agree that 4K will play a role in production, it has already started to. As Far as 4K in the home here is a plausible short term scenario involving non-linear ( VOD ) delivery 1. CE Vendors make Bigger / 4K Displays because they can and because often times in that space, bigger is better. This already has started and there is no reason why these displays will not follow a typical CE decreasing price curve. 2. Movies and other premium pre-produced entertainment is already being shot and produced in 4K. 3. Non Live content does not have to be "transmitted" to be delivered to the home any more. There are now a number of Over the Top (OTT) and VOD platforms that could decide to offer 4K content as a differentiator. Offline / file based HVEC encoders already exist that can compress 4K content to a bit rate that is not much higher than what HDTV was just a few years ago. Besides delivering files is not as difficult as broadcasting streams and the barriers to setting up non linear delivery platforms are much lower than those of setting up traditional linear delivery. 4. Computers now have the capability to decode these files and display them on 4K displays. New game consoles that will begin delivering later this year will probably also have the capability to decode and will easily be paired with OTT platforms that offer 4K content. If we accept that 4K consumption does not have to be limited to traditional linear / broadcast delivery then it is possible that we could see this happen within 6-12 months. As far as linear / live delivery is concerned we are also could see some services become available within the next 12 months but they are likely to be either closed circuit events such as a live sporting event being broadcast via satellite to a special gathering of viewers in a public place such as another arena or local movie theatres. The world is very different than it was when we introduced HD and 4K could start much more quickly than HD had.
Posted by: Anonymous
Sun, 06-09-2013 12:21 PM Report Comment
Frank Eory got it right, and succinctly put.

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