A technology event organised by the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) entitled ‘Higher Resolution-Do we need it?’ seemed to conclude that the technology’s introduction was a far from “done deal” although 4K for sport and special events was desirable.
Panelists included Stan Moote, VP/usiness development at Harris Broadcast; Richard Salmon, lead research engineer at the BBC; Alan Bright, director of operations at Presteigne Charter; Peter Sykes, strategic technology manager, at Sony and David Crawford from the University of Essex.
Bright agreed with fellow panelists that sports and “vanity projects” were the leaders in HD and again a sweet spot for the use of higher resolutions. He noted both similarities and differences in the shift to 4K and other high-resolution formats.
“There is the issue of acquiring the best quality for future-proofing an archive, which is what we experienced before with the upgrade to HD, but unfortunately, 4K is much more limiting than when we moved to HD,” Bright said. “Factors such as how to acquire it and how to record it, frame rates, depth of field — these sorts of issues are very restrictive at the moment and are not allowing the progression to be the same as it was from SD to HD.”
“For me, it’s that excitement of a new technology, combined with a commitment to a huge existing customer base,” added Sony’s Sykes, stressing a recognition to support broadcasters who are currently evaluating technology for 4K services, and those that are looking to utilise new 4K production tools to future-proof and add excitement to existing HD services. “For a manufacturer, the important thing is to allow a step-by-step migration to a new technology at the customer’s own pace.”
“As we take a look at television and it starts to move a little bit more towards 4K and even 8K, I think there will be a convergence because, ultimately, it allows television people to start doing film-type productions, and vice versa,” said Moote, discussing the shift of both film and broadcast industries toward higher resolutions. “As far as equipment manufacturers go, this is a very important aspect to think about because it actually opens up new markets.”