Ultra HD plants stake in entertainment landscape, if not the mainstream | 4K/UltraHD | News | Rapid TV News
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Many predicted 2017 will be the year in which Ultra HD takes a firm hold in TV, and a Futuresource Consulting tracking report confirms its momentum, even if it remains some way off reaching mass market levels.
Sony HDR 5 Jan 2017The analyst’s latest annual investigation of Ultra HD suggests that it has firmly planted its stake in the market; from software to hardware adoption. It highlights the fact that Ultra HD Blu-ray has built a leading position in the software market in 2016, with sales elevated by the disjointed approach of digital service providers. The latter included limited availability and marketing of content as well as poorer quality of playback compared to UHD Blu-ray.

Futuresource predicts 8.4 million UHD Blu-ray discs will be sold in 2017, equating to 4% of global Blu-ray sales, with a greater choice of titles, from both independents and major studios. It adds that UHD EST format is yet to gain significant traction, but this could change if major broadcast and telco ecosystem players began supporting and selling the format. Another potential key platform is the possible launch of a 4K store from Apple. This would certainly be a key game changer in the mass market march for Ultra HD availability.

Futuresource also notes that over the past 12 months there has been strong progression across the Ultra HD hardware markets, particularly 4KTVs, which were prominent within the 2016 Black Friday ‘Door Busting’ promotions. However, it cautioned that many of the sets on offer had either none or a poor quality/early development of high dynamic range (HDR), a key driver for Ultra HD adoption and on which, says Futuresource, the focus from the industry is now on.

Streamed films from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services remained the most commonly accessed source of 4K content, but with a focus on TV product. At the end of 2016 Futuresource observed that globally 17 million households had access to streamed 4K UHD content from an SVOD service with a TV capable of playing it.

“Unlike the upgrade to UHD resolution, which was a quantifiable improvement, HDR is subjective feature and the Consumer Electronics Show highlighted this is the key industry focus as manufacturers are continuing to push the boundaries in terms of peak brightness, peak black levels and a wider colour spectrum represented,” noted Futuresource market analyst Tristan Veale.

“Consumers remain largely uneducated about the advantages of HDR and there is a risk of alienating them due to the recent trend of branding displays HDR compatible, ones which can receive an HDR content stream but cannot reproduce it. With this multi-stage introduction of UHD and associated picture improvements, clear information to the consumer is paramount.”