4k/UHD Hype or Reality ?

30 Sep

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Cautious optimism about the future of 4k/UHD was perhaps the best way to describe the showing of 4k/UHD at the recent IBC show in Amsterdam. The industry, perhaps still smarting from the hype showered on 3D a few years ago at IBC and NAB, is looking at consumer demand and availability of distribution and programing for 4k/UHD as the yardsticks to measure success.  This notwithstanding, there were quite a few announcements and discussions at IBC on the future of 4k/UHD as well as some new research findings from SCRI to suggest that this time (as opposed to the case with 3D) it may not be all hype. (Read on for details and survey findings and leave your opinion).

IBC announcements from Sony, Avid, JVC, Cisco, BT Vision, BBC and even Netflix (for IP delivery) all were bullish on 4k/UHD ( Key trends from IBC 2014).

Recent survey findings from SCRI suggest that 4k/UHD has taken a foothold in the industry. The survey & report, 2014-15 Digital Video Production & Post Trends, conducted by SCR International in conjunction with ProductionHUB covered a broad spectrum of broadcast and non-broadcast and digital video trends among a wide range of pro users.

Among the many findings of this comprehensive industry tracking survey were some key results on UHD/4k. When asked “which video formats facilities are shooting on” the primary format is 1080i (72%), followed by 720p (52.7%), 3G/1080p (44.9%), 2k & SD-SDI( 32.4% each). 4k ranks next with a respectable 28.5% — almost three out of ten facilities reporting already shooting on 4k/UHD.

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The issue of consumer demand may well be answered by the strategy adopted by Apple over the years of going against conventional marketing wisdom and that by “building the better mousetrap”, demand will follow. SCRI will continue tracking and reporting. Stay tuned.

What do you think of the future of 4k/UHD — hype or reality? Post your comments below and join the debate. SCRI will continue tracking and reporting to see what the future holds :)

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