4k Content, where it is heading.
Comments and analysis
4K or Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) refers to the horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. The higher the resolution the clearer the picture, current HDTV is about 1k or 1,080 pixels. 4k technology is also design to display a wider range of colours than what is available on the current devices. So not only is 4k clearer but has also more colours, thereby allowing a better representation of the real world especially for big screen TVs (above 50 in).
The movie and TV industry has been producing 4k content since 2004 however there is no standard adopted by the industry yet. Unofficially, the TV industry (not including cinema) has adopted UHDTV as its 4k standard. The adoption of 4k or UHDTV suffers from a lack of industry planning, which HDTV did not. HDTV had standards formalized in 1990 before HDTV hardware was introduced to the mass market. The lack of standards hampers the adoption of 4k, not only in terms of a standardized resolution but other key technical aspects like a standard frame rate, colour gamut and image projection method (progressive scan or interlace). However, the standards for 4k are expected to be out by 2020 but this might come sooner because of the push from the hardware manufacturers. The current push for 4k seems to come from Asia namely Japan and Korea.
Apart from the lack of standardization, there are other complications that plague the adoption of 4k. One which affects the both the platform owners and content creators is that 4k produces a significantly large amount of data. It can be up to 30% to 40% more data than standard HDTV. This puts a strain on all hardware / software currently available throughout the production and distribution chain. Even the production pipeline is affected. The complication includes storage, processing, distribution and the sheer planning required managing such a large amount of data. It is predicted there will only be a handful of broadcasters ready for 4k commercially in the next 5 years.
In Conclusion; 4k is the future but not yet. The cost involved currently may outweigh the benefit of being a pioneer in this medium. So identifying the right content that can only deliver the desired experience in 4k, understanding the additional intrinsic / extrinsic cost and securing the delivery platform early, will be key to deciding if it is worth taking the 4k plunge now.
1. Definition: 4k or Ultra HD TV (UHDTV) refers to the horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. This technology is progressive scanning only an does away with interlacing (an old technology required for CRT TV) and can cater for a wider colour gamut (gamut: the entire range of colours available on a particular device).
2. The movie and TV industry has been producing 4k content since 2004. The TV industry has unofficially adopted UHDTV as its 4k standard (3840 x 2160 pixels) which is lower than the 4k industry standard (4096 x 2160 pixels).
3. 4k or UHDTV suffers from a lack of industry planning that HDTV did not. HDTV had standards formalized in 1990 before HDTV was introduced to the markets. The lack of standards hampers the adoption of 4k, not only is the resolution not standardize but more importantly the frame rate of the content and projection of the image (progressive or interlace) has not been decided.
4. However, the standards for 4k are expected to be out by 2020 but this might come sooner because of the push from the hardware manufacturers. The current push for 4k seems to come from Asia because of the hardware manufacturers (Samsung, Sony, LG).
5. The amount of data 4k produces possesses another problem for adoption. It can be up to 30% to 40% more data than standard HDTV. This will cause complication in how it is stored, processed, distributed and the sheer planning required managing such a large amount of data. And there might be a physical limitation in the hardware in distributing 4k content without large amount of compression techniques.
6. It is predicted there will be a handful of broadcaster, in the next 5 years who will be ready for 4k.
Johan Fariz Marzuki Lam