In an update of where Ultra-HD/4K is today, a study by IHS-Consumer Electronics & Video Technology says the technology has “hit the ground running, and is about 10 years ahead of where HD TV was just two years after standards ratification”.
But IHS also issues a warning saying that pay-TV broadcasters might not own the 4K opportunity. With Netflix already streaming 4K content, and Amazon Prime Instant Video’s due “imminently”, as well as the likes of Samsung and Sony bringing Ultra-HD content to owners of their high-end displays, such VoD suppliers might be the best way to distribute 4K content to – as yet – fragmented audiences.
Tom Morrod, IHS’ senior director, says that while the transition from Standard Definition to High Definition will have taken more than 20 years to get to a position where 74 per cent of Western European households have at least 1 HD-enabled TV set, Ultra-HD is making significantly better progress.
“Household penetration is steadily climbing up,” says Morrod, adding that it will already be commercially viable for broadcasters in 2015-16 (and a 3 per cent penetration rate) and “mainstream by 2019 with a 15 per cent penetration rate”.