4K adoption and content head towards critical mass | Media Investment | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The US Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has released numbers indicating that 4K/Ultra HD is well underway — even as a slew of operators make big investments in the content.

4k ultra hd logoCTA research shows that 62% of those consumers surveyed plan to purchase some form of Ultra HD content viewing device in next 12 months, and 29% plan to purchase a TV in next 12 months. Screen size (80%) and picture quality (62%) drive preference for TV, indicating strong promise for 4K.

As far as shipments, CTA said that 15 million units will sell this year, with revenue topping $12 billion. That marks a 105% increase over 2015’s seven million units — that means that 4K UHD TVs will make up nearly half of all TV sales. Four in ten sets shipping this year will be 4K UHD, and virtually all TVs over 50” are now 4K/Ultra HD. Price is a big factor; average wholesale unit price declined from $1,048 in 2015 to an estimated $861 in 2016.

Ultra HD TVs are now selling at a faster pace than HD sets sold during the digital transition in the same period with Ultra HD units at 15 million and HDTV units at 2.9 million.

“Diffusing video consumption behaviour is particularly relevant as we look to the increasing development and distribution of native 4K content,” said CTA communications director Jeff Joseph, speaking at the CEDIA event in Dallas this week.

Pay-TV providers are making investments on the content front in ever-increasing numbers. Hong Kong’s PCCW for instance will deliver 4K video-on-demand (VOD) content to its nowTV, now Player app and ViuTV services, it said last week. The content streams are being delivered simultaneously to PCCW’s IPTV pay-TV service nowTV, its catch-up app and its free-to-air, over-the-top (OTT) HD service ViuTV, over a single dedicated delivery network using Edgeware’s TV Delivery Server technology.

“Our viewers’ experience is paramount, especially for live-streamed content. IP-delivered content should be in sync with the same content being broadcast traditionally. By using Edgeware’s Delivery Server platform we can limit any delays, even when distributing 4K content,” said Keith Huang, VP product management, technology and operations, PCCW.

And, following its agreement with Arris for its Ultra HD set-top boxes (STBs), Telefónica’s Movistar has announced that it will be producing 4K content from 2017. In fact, all of its in-house catalogue will be available in 4K, and the company is already working with other production houses in order to increase its UHDTV offer. Last year Movistar broadcast 4K live football programming with both El Clásico games between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Luis Miguel Gilpérez, president of Telefónica España, noted: “Movistar+ will be housing 4K for everybody.”

And Sky said that it will offer ultra HD coverage of all the races in the Formula 1 2017 season following a successful test transmission with Tata Communications for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The test broadcast involved the installation of multiple ultra HD cameras at the Singapore circuit. The footage from these was mixed in the Formula 1 Management Broadcast Centre onsite, and the ultra HD (UHD) output distributed live to Sky’s UK headquarters using Tata Communications’ Video Connect service. The service enables the delivery of live video feeds over Tata’s wholly-owned subsea fibre network.

“I believe that 4K is our destiny – standing as the exciting next development in the consumer home entertainment experience,” CTA’s Joseph said. “Seeing is believing – eight million-plus pixels – four times the resolution of full HD, powerful up-scaling, lifelike colours, more detail and more. The time is right.”