How to solve a problem like 4k


Peter Savage 2 TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
with Peter Savage
Issue 108 - December 2015

A lack of standards and content is holding back sales of 4k television sets and, until that situation changes, there is very little the consumer electronics business can do about it, writes Peter Savage

Since the late 1960s and early 70s, when we began to ditch our old black and white TV sets in favour of new fangled colour ones, TV viewers have been prepared to upgrade to the latest and greatest displays almost as soon as the price point matched their budget.

To date, the subsequent excuses for waves of conspicuous consumer spending have included 16:9 widescreen, HD, surround sound and smart TVs, to name but a few.

Stereo 3D failed miserably and 2K received only a muted response. 4k, on the other hand, has (thus far) scarcely raised the pulse rate of all but the most diehard TV technophile. Why?

The first 4k TVs were big. Seriously, how many of us in this country can fit an 84-inch flat screen into our living rooms? But that is the size you need if you want to really appreciate the improved picture quality. Oh, and they cost about twenty grand.

There have been numerous publicity campaigns from consumer electronics manufacturers trumpeting the new formats resolution, which is four times that of standard HD, offering a total of 8,000,000 pixels, up from the 2,000,000 pixels of HD. But they often concentrate solely on resolution.

Ultra High Definition (UHD), which can incorporate 4k, can also include higher frame rate (for smoother motion), high dynamic range (HDR) and better colour depth. It could be argued that it is these elements that really make the difference to the viewing experience, not simply more pixels.

But, either way, without any content, were at an impasse.

While some TV shows are shot in 4k, or higher, for artistic or future-proofing reasons, in order to launch actual UHD channels, broadcasters have to spend serious amounts of dough on 4k-capable infrastructure and receivers - to get pictures into our homes and onto our TV sets. They will only do that when they are convinced that their investment is going to last.

Fortunately, there are some nascent 4k services: Netflix and BT Sport Ultra HD for example. They are streamed and you need a seriously fast broadband connection at home (at least 25 Mbps) to receive them. Skys new SkyQ set-top box will be UHD-capable when it launches next year, although content wont be available until later in 2016.

This is a good start but even that might not be enough to justify the purchase of a 4k TV set just yet, especially if you arent convinced that whatever you buy today will be able to display something that is broadcast in the future or even everything that is available in 4k right now. And that is a distinct possibility because there are currently disagreements on what constitutes industry standards.

Without standards, broadcasters are reluctant to invest. Without standards, different services might not work on every TV set. Without standards, consumers dont know what they are buying. Without standards, theres less content. Without content¦ Do you see where I am going with this?

Things might have turned a corner very recently, however. In November the DVB approved the commercial requirements for the next phase of Ultra HD television, one that includes HDR.

The next task is for the DVB Technical Module working group to translate the commercial requirements into a technical specification.

The deputy director, technology and development for European Broadcasting Union (EBU), David Wood said: The expectation is that the specification will be available 12 months after the approval processes are complete thus at the end of 2016. This could allow services with HDR to begin in 2017.

History shows that were prone to making rash purchasing decisions. Neighbourhood bragging rights and keeping up with the Joneses remain powerful motivations. However, most people will only spend the money when theyre confident theyre buying an expensive piece of home entertainment kit thats going to last. And that requires standards.

So, with all this in mind, the big question is: when to buy?

Prices are definitely dropping, albeit slowly, and you can now pick up a 4k TV for under £1,000. And, slowly but surely, UHD services are becoming available.

But while theres no universal agreement on what these displays and services should look like, my advice is to wait until we get the thumbs up from the Mr Wood at the EBU.

Peter Savage is the chief executive of Azule Finance


Tags: iss108 | azule | finance | 4k | netflix | bt sport | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Azule Finance at BVE 2016

    Azule Finance at BVE 2016

  • Azule Finance at BVE 2013

    Azule Finance at BVE 2013

  • Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

    Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

  • Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

    Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

  • Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

    Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

  • 12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

    12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

    Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

  • JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

    JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

  • IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

    IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • 4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

    4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

  • Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

    Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

  • 4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

    4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

  • 6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

    6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

  • JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

    JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

  • The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

    The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

  • Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

    Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

  • AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

    AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

  • HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

    HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

  • Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

    Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

  • 4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

    4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

    Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

  • Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

    Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

  • MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

    MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

  • Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

    Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

    Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2015

    AVIWEST at IBC 2015

  • BBright at IBC 2015

    BBright at IBC 2015

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

  • Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

    Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

  • JVC at BVE 2015

    JVC at BVE 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

    Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Tektronix at IBC 2014

    Tektronix at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

  • JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

    JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

  • MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

    MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • Hitachi at IBC 2014

    Hitachi at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

    MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Facilis at NAB 2013

    Facilis at NAB 2013

  • AJA at BVE 2013

    AJA at BVE 2013

  • JVC at BVE 2012

    JVC at BVE 2012


Related Shows
  • Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016

    Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016


Articles
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Taking on a self employed placement year
Joshua Round The idea of being self-employed or freelancing has always been somewhat terrifying for me. There is a level of uncertainty and responsibility that comes with the freedom of being self-employed, the likes of which makes me wonder why I chose to give it a go for my placement year as part of my university course - (BSc) Television and Broadcasting.
Tags: iss133 | placement year | university | student | education | portsmouth | Joshua Round
Contributing Author Joshua Round Click to read or download PDF