McAdams, et al, On: 4KTV

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?