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COMMENT RESOLUTE OVER RESOLUTION Peter Savage Peter Savage is the chief executive of Azule Finance According to an industry think-tank, the end of 2017 will see the tipping point for UHD in the UK. But, ask the people working on the frontline, and that picture is not so clear. As we approach NAB, talk will once again return to the thorny subject of picture resolution. I say ‘thorny’ because it has divided the wider television industry. On the one side we have the broadcast sector, in the main, encouraging the adoption of a new viewing experience that is not just improved resolution but also includes High Dynamic Range (HDR), wider colour gamut, immersive sound and higher frame rates. While on the other side, we have the consumer electronics manufacturers pushing 4k TV sets that are only a step change in resolution. It’s clear to my mind that resolution alone is not sufficient for the next generation of television broadcasts. 4k can look great but you have to be viewing it in exactly the correct spot to appreciate it. And is it significantly better than good HD? Not really. 8k has more of a ‘wow’ factor but it produces a motion blur that can be unsettling. On the flip side, from my experience, I can see first hand that HDR and immersive audio significantly improve the televisual experience. And they have nothing to do with resolution. Similarly, for live sport, higher frame rates can improve clarity. But this is the opinion of just one man. I wanted to know how the rest of the industry feels about 4k. So, during BVE, we asked them. Well, 126 of them anyway. From the Azule stand inside Excel we 38 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 112 APRIL 2016 conducted an open survey, stopping people to ask them about 4k from a production and broadcast perspective and from the point of view of a consumer. The results make for interesting reading. Before I reveal all, it is important that I tell you that there was an incentive for filling in the survey: one respondent would win an iPad. But we didn’t discriminate or seek out certain demographics. Anyone that was willing to answer – as long as they were part of the media industry – could take part. Just under half of the sample worked in broadcast television, a third worked in film, 10% were in AV and the rest was split among everything from wedding videographers to corporate producers. Will not be working in 4k Already working in 4k Not main format until at least 2018 Tipping point for format in 2017 So, what did we learn? We learnt that 29% of people within this market don’t expect 4k to be their predominant working format until at least 2018 and possibly beyond. At the same time, 33% believe that the tipping point for 4k will be 2017. 16% are already working mainly in 4k while 6% never will. What was perhaps most telling was that of the 29% that don’t foresee 4k becoming standard until at least 2018, and possibly beyond, nearly half of them work in broadcast television.