Report: Continued Growth in 4K UHD Content

HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND—The fly in the ointment at the moment when it comes to 4K UHD is limited delivery of content to consumers, according to a recently released report from Futuresource Consulting.

While the growth of the UHD device market—including streaming devices, set-top boxes, game consoles and UHD TVs—continues and the quantity of 4K UHD content climbs, consumers have access to “only a small proportion” of the ballooning catalog of 4K programming, said Futuresource Market Analyst Tristan Veale.

The gap between the amount of 4K UHD content being shot and that being delivered appears to be growing “as the demand for the higher quality hardware is outstripping the propensity to pay for UHD content,” said Veale. The problem will likely continue to grow until “broadcasted UHD becomes more mainstream,” he said.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. authorized broadcasters to begin transmitting on a voluntary basis next-gen ATSC 3.0 television, which supports delivery of 4K UHD TV to the home.

The U.K.-based research and consulting service revealed the growing gap between 4K UHD content and the amount being delivered to viewers in its latest 4K UHD Consumer Market Tracking report.

The report forecasts that 35 percent of the TVs sold worldwide this year will be 4K UHD and that household penetration of 4K UHD sets will reach 8 percent globally. Helping to propel the uptake of these sets is falling average prices and the growing popularity of larger screens, it said.

Similarly, new UHD streaming devices from Roku, Amazon and Apple are quite popular among consumers. Such devices will account for 36 percent of all streaming boxes sold this year, the report added.

As was the case during the early days of HDTV, broadcasters at the moment are finding it hard to spend on 4K UHD infrastructure because the financial return does not match the investment, Futuresource said.

However, among subscription-based video-on-demand providers delivery of UHD is significant. By the end of 2017, it is expected there will be more than 33 million homes with a 4K TV and an SVoD subscription offering UHD content, said Veale.

“SVoD providers don’t face the same issues as broadcasters in delivering content, also problems with interoperability are significantly reduced do to IP connectivity,” said Veale. “As such, continued growth of available content on these platforms is expected.”

To learn more, visit the Futuresource Consulting website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.