4k. What’s Really Happening Right Now?


During and after NAB I’ve been inundated with questions about 4k production and post.   The biggest questions revolve around how quickly is 4k going to move into the mainstream of production.  Folks I know who are on the forefront of the 4k movement tell me that broadcasters will be moving to accept the move from HD to 4k Acquisition for production much more quickly than the transition from SD to HD. Prevailing wisdom is that it’s an easier transition since we’re staying in widescreen format with 3840 x 2160 “Ultra HD” resolution.  Also, there’s speculation that cable companies see a major advantage with 4k distibution to the home that satellite providers may not be able to match due to the necessary bandwidth.  Cable companies have the bandwidth, satellites won’t, at least that’s what the cable is saying.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the consumer “experts” are saying right now since it’s the consumers who will have to buy into the new monitors and technology at home.

ZDNet.com say “UHD is nothing but a CES Wet Dream”  Ouch!  The author does not see either the broadcast industry or the consumer hopping on board with the new and improved technology

BBC says 3DTV is dead, replaced by 4k  Ok, I honestly have no problem with this statement.  Another article I found noted that third tier TV manufacturers have jumped onboard 4k much faster than 3D.

CNET says 4k TVs are Stupid and you’ll probably never need them.  That was in 2012.  They followed up with “Why 4k TVs are STILL Stupid” in 2013.  Major Ouch!  2 years running.

Gizmodo says a Home 4k IMAX Theater could change everything.    Yeah it would totally make you THE party house to watch everything.  Probably make you broke too waiting for 4k content to be broadcast.

Variety says 4k will leave the film industry reeling because the technology advances in the home will make it harder to get folks to the theaters.  Still need to distribute it to the home.

Oh I could keep posting more articles but they go back and forth from “4k is stupid” to “It’s incredible and it’s coming.”  It’s such a weird paradox right now because regular broadcasters are struggling against the onslaught of direct to mobile / digital delivery which targets 4 – 13″ screens.  At the same time we have this push to develop a 4k pipeline to service 50″ and up screens with incredible imagery that’s going to be delivered….. well I’m not sure exactly.

So where does that leave us, the producers and post owners?  That’s honestly a good question and I wish I had a good answer for you right now.  I would say, it leaves us keeping a very good eye on developments in the broadcast and broadband distribution market.  If they move very quickly to distribution of UHD material, we need to be ready to move quickly to serve that need.

I would definitely encourage everyone to at least do a practice project or two to get a 4k pipeline figured out sooner than later. This will tell you where you are lacking in your 4k infrastructure right now so you can do more research into those areas. Knowledge is power folks!

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