Not Holding My Breath

Tom Butts

4K was all the rage at NAB and IBC this year and why not? As the industry looks to the future, it seems to have dropped 3D like a hot potato and is hitching its star to the next generation in resolution (on OLED, of course).

Last month, the first UHDTVs hit the market. For a cool $20 grand, you too can be the first on your block to own an 84-inch LG behemoth. Never mind the fact that there is virtually no content that can take advantage of 4K resolution but that’s not stopping the industry from marketing them (it didn’t stop them over a dozen years ago either.)

According to a recent Nielsen study, HDTVs are now in more than 75 percent of American homes, but only about 25 percent of content viewed is HD. Consumers have expressed their preference for sports and movies in HD but not much else.

Will things be different in a UHDTV world? Will the demand for quality high resolution content be the driving force? (as opposed to the form factor which seemed to drive HDTV sales). Will broadcasters and MVPDs respond with 4K channels? That’s yet to be determined, but one thing’s certain: until consumers are ready to build home theaters, 4K will be a nascent consumer product.