Manufacturers the ‘real winners’ for Ultra HD | 4K/UltraHD | News | Rapid TV News
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Services are considerably lagging behind devices when it comes to 4KTV, says research from Futuresource Consulting.

4KTV 24 Nov 2016The analyst’s study highlighting industry momentum for the adoption of 4K/Ultra HD products and services found that even though global penetration of 4k/Ultra HD TVs is still small, set to be 5% of homes by the end of the year, consumer electronics manufacturers are now rolling out a greater range of capable devices at mass market prices.

Yet overall, the analyst sees 2016 as being a year when there was ‘a range’ of progress for 4K/Ultra HD. This it argued was mainly down to content delivery platforms.

Futuresource saw most notable traction within the Ultra HD Blu-ray format, with disc sales performing well since launch. It expects approximately three million discs will have been sold globally by the end of 2016, with the USA driving sales thanks to ‘particularly impressive’ retailer support.

By contrast, and despite availability on Netflix, the report also showed that the market for 4K/Ultra HD content delivered via over-the-top (OTT) networks has had a mixed year. Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services were early adopters of the new technology and ahead of the market with implementing additional features of high dynamic range (HDR) and wider colour gamut (WCG). Futuresource added that although it did not regard 4K/Ultra HD content as necessarily a key driver of subscriber growth for these services, it does act as a churn reducer. It cited Netflix as a great example whereby 4K services have helped the SVOD leader upsell existing customers to its higher priced tier.

“Broadcast is the most important sector when it comes to mobilising widespread adoption of new video technology,” commented Futuresource Consulting market analyst Tristan Veale. “With broadcasters focusing heavily on the additional features of 4K UHD, services including such are expected to roll out in 2017, with many early adopters needing to purchase new sets to benefit properly from the ongoing quality improvements being made to content. This will naturally be great news for the CE manufacturers, which will see continued momentum of hardware sales.”

Looking at dynamics and examining the trends revealed, Futuresource stressed that upgrading to Ultra HD is a significant investment for broadcasters and that most are only committing if they feel there is a solid business case for it, with increased broadcast acquisition costs, delivery costs, channel capacity and even satellite transponder space costs key considerations and potential barriers to mass market rollout.

However, Futuresource predicts 2017 to be a break out year for Ultra HD, with major services adding this capability, supported by the continued drive towards improved broadband for households. That said, Futuresource cautioned that it might take some time before technological advancements settle, with a keen early adopter potentially purchasing multiple iterations of 4K/Ultra HD TVs over time before they can fully enjoy an end-to-end, HDR, WCG, gold standard video experience from all potential video sources. The analyst also expects the introduction of higher frame rates and enhanced audio, and believes that by the end of 2017, nearly a quarter of US households will have an Ultra HD TV. However, only 14% of households will have an HDR capable TV.