4K OTT video to go mainstream in the next five years | 4K/UltraHD | News | Rapid TV News
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4KTV delivered on an over-the-top (OTT) basis may be a pipedream now but by 2021 it will gain mass-market appeal, according to a report from Juniper Research.

UHD LG screen 10 June 2016 minThe company’s Digital TV & Video: Network and OTT Strategies 2016-2021 report found that 4K OTT services will attract over 189 million unique users globally by 2021, up from just 2.3 million this year. Moreover, Juniper calculates that in the US, this means that by 2021 a tenth of residents will be watching 4K online compared with just one in 500 this year. It predicts that connected TV will be the dominant channel, while viewership will take place through a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs.

The key drivers to this growth have been greater content availability and compatible devices. The new research found that although YouTube, Netflix and Amazon already offer some 4K video, network providers have been waiting for a critical mass of content to become available before launching their own 4K offer. However, Juniper noted that 2016 has seen the roll-out of a number of new 4K offerings, such as the launch of the Sky Q 4K service in the UK, coupled with new hardware launches to provide a means of streaming online 4K content.

“The popularity of online video has seen the use of set-top boxes from vendors such as Roku and Amazon soar ,” explained report author Lauren Foye. “However, delivery mechanisms for content have seen slower adoption, as the availability of 4K-capable streaming devices is limited. New device launches, such as the 4K-capable Xbox One S this month, among others, are likely to spur a boost in 4K usage.”

Looking beyond 4K, Juniper also predicted that while 8KTV will finally emerge in 2020, 8K content is a long way from becoming mainstream. It noted that while there is only one commercially available 8K TV currently on the market (priced at $133,000), it sees 8K smart TVs emerging first, followed by streaming devices and set-top boxes, making development a drawn-out process.

Juniper forecasts that 8K smart TV shipments will grow more than threefold between 2020 and 2021, to reach over 400,000 per annum by the end of the forecast period. It adds that with Japan seeking to broadcast the 2020 Olympics in 8K, the industry is likely to use this as an opportunity to drive sales of 8K smart TVs.