Europe's online source of news, data & analysis for professionals involved in packaged media and new delivery technologies

Futuresource reveals 4K roadmap; 4K Blu-ray Disc specs yet to be finalised

With the 4K industry gathering pace, a sustained flow of 4K content will be critical to the long term success of 4K, says Futuresource Consulting in its latest 4K report, which reviews progress in the broadcast, video, and display industries.

While disc playback of 4K content will not be a possibility until late 2015, over-the-top (OTT) video services are driving early rollout of 4K video services with several now available in the market. Further propositions are set for launch in 2015/6 from both standalone providers and traditional Pay-TV platforms.

As with HD and more recently 3D, 4K consumer technology is ahead of the rest of the content chain, and the consumer electronics industry is marketing 4K capable TVs and creating an audience.

4K sets are expected to have shipped 11.6 million units in 2014, up 699% year on year, with China accounting for over 70% of worldwide demand (compared to 84% in 2013). By 2018, 100 million sets are forecast to ship per annum, when ownership will exceed 20% in leading markets.

Falling premiums and 4K in smaller screen sizes will drive 4K adoption, while consumers will want to future-proof for 4K content when it becomes available, upscaling will help consumers justify their purchasing decision in the short term.

"We are seeing several 4K video services now available in the market, driven by OTT video services, and we are beginning to see signs that broadcasters support will be forthcoming," commented Sarah Carroll, Director of Sales & Marketing at Futuresource Consulting. "However, with 8K on the horizon, there is speculation as to whether the window for 4K will be short-lived."

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) said it has not yet finalized 4K BD disc specifications, contrary to some industry announcements. Talking to the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), Victor Matsuda, BDA Promotion chair, corrected two misconceptions making the rounds regarding the spec: The new 4K Blu-ray spec will support one mandatory High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, with two optional that can be layered on, and while the Ultra HD hardware will be mandatory backwards compatible with current Blu-ray Discs, the 4K Blu-ray Discs will not work with current Blu-ray players.

Licensing of the new 4K Blu-ray technology is expected to start mid-year, with 4K Blu-ray discs and hardware available at retail possibly by Christmas.

If 'content is king,' Ultra HD proponents won't be able to count on the 2016 Rio Olympics to jump-start 4K. At last month's CES, the broadcast division of the International Olympic Committee said it has "no plans for 4K TV broadcasting" in Brazil. "There is no demand from our rights holders for 4K," told Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcast Services, to The Hollywood Reporter. The IOC's OBS unit is instead investigating virtual reality technologies.

Story filed 19.02.15

Bookmark and Share

Article Comments

comments powered by Disqus