4K Ultra HD offers possibilities and complications for video transport

August 16, 2013 - 3:45pm
Many households may wait to purchase HD TVs until prices for high-end hardware drop.

Ever since it took over the spotlight at this year's NAB Show in April, 4K Ultra HD has been the subject of intense speculation in the video industry. Much of the discussion surrounds the exciting possibilities that the emerging technology could make possible, like higher video resolutions and seemingly limitless screen sizes. It offers 8 million pixels of resolution, four times that of current HD TVs, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. It essentially offers 3D viewing capacity without the need for visual aids. Realistically, however, the technology will not see widespread adoption without significant investment in better backhaul solutions. Current bandwidth levels, storage capacity and compression algorithms could soon be strained to the breaking point.

The CEA recently released a report on the state of the Ultra HD market, targeting content development, production and delivery in their analysis. They found that shipments of Ultra HD hit the 57,000 mark in July, and projected overall revenue to reach $314 million in 2013. The also forecasted shipments of Ultra HD to rise past the one million mark by 2015.

"Ultra HD promises to be the next big video product driving change in content, cameras, security, retailing, displays and even audio. It will drive growth across the entire consumer technology ecosystem," stated CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro.

However, average buyers are unlikely to warm up considerably to HD TV until the market grows more commoditized and higher-end HD TV units decrease in cost, wrote Forbes contributor Geoffrey Morrison. The multichannel distribution environment most households are used to means that consumer electronics dollars will be spread among more hardware than ever before, and consumers are less likely to buy cheaper Ultra HD models that don't deliver on the full promise of the technology. Prices will have to decrease, and the development of broadcast equipment like modular receiver decoders that can effectively meet bandwidth and compression concerns can help in this effort.

Sencore provides reliable, cost-effective solutions for signal transmission and content delivery. Our line of receiver/decoders support all common video formats, blending industry-leading functionality with an evolutionary capacity for next-generation video transport demands. Contact us today to learn more.

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