Resolution revolution rolls on

4K UHD is technology that has developed in an asymmetric manner – which is typical. It will soon be impossible to buy a non-UHD large-scale TV, and penetration around the world is accelerating, led by China where six competing makers are driving low cost supply.

This means a market ready to watch 4K – and a market of consumers wondering why there isn’t more (any?) 4K content on their 4K set. The answer is lowering the cost and increasing the availability of the means of capture and transmission to match that of the TV sets.

According the participants at the Sony 4K UHD Theatre at MIPCOM – many of whom were interviewed by advanced-television.tv – progress is mixed. 4K cameras are now affordable and readily available all over the world. There are complaints of a ‘razor blade’ culture with cameras ‘cheap’ but the multiple cards required to store footage in the field very expensive, but the direction of travel is good.

The weak link, several said, is now in workflow with entry to mid-level machinery still slow to market and the problem is compounded by the looming demand for HDR, but no standard. The pieces will come together but a serious catch-up so that all segments are in step is needed in order that 4K’s credibility with the consumer is maintained.

Meantime, while 4K charges on, NHK brought 8K to the market and I chaired a press conference to announce to their intention to bring OB trucks to Europe and actively seek co-pros. NHK are unabashed evangelists for 8K and intend to launch full 4K and 8K channels in December next year – hence the need for more content.

But does the world need 8K? For certain it is stunning; the clarity of the resolution is such that you can literally see more of the object in front of the lens than you can see with your naked eye. But you get that effect by sitting surprisingly close to an 85 inch screen. This makes it impractical for the majority of homes, not just because of the size but because the weight of screens doesn’t elevate in proportion to size but multiplies. Some say an 85 inch screen plus the three people it would take to lift into place will exceed the floor loading of most European homes.

NHK is hoping to see the successful development of roll up screens for the home and meantime sees many applications for 8K in public spaces and across industry and medicine. When you the resolution so high that you can see the platelets in the circulation flow of a mouse, you can see why.

Watch interviews with NHK, BBC, ZDF, IHS and more…

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