& cplSiteName &

Hurdles Ahead for 4K, HDR

Mari Silbey
8/29/2016
50%
50%

Momentum continues to build behind 4K Ultra HD TV, but the path hasn't been as smooth as many had hoped.

The 2016 Olympic Games, for example, could have been a coming out party for UHD TV, but instead 4K distribution was limited, and US service providers were scrambling come summertime to deliver the goods. (See AT&T & Dish Mix 4K Into Olympics Coverage.)

So what's holding 4K TV back? Some of the problem is the same chicken-and-egg dilemma that high-definition video faced when it debuted. Many mainstream consumers don't want to buy 4K TVs until there's more UHD content to watch. And content producers don't want to invest large sums of money in UHD video until there's a wider base of viewers ready to tune in. But that problem is solvable.

Marketing by the consumer electronics industry can help drive demand among viewers who don't want to get left behind, and both content producers and distributors can use UHD video as a targeted differentiator to edge out competitors in the race for premium subscribers.

Unfortunately, 4K TV brings with it other unique challenges.

First there's the issue of whether to bundle and market HDR technology with UHD delivery, and then there's the question of how to implement HDR if and when the technology for brighter, more vivid playback is added to the UHD spec (either formally or informally).

At the moment there are two primary standards for HDR: Dolby Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: DLB)'s Dolby Vision and HDR10. As in any format war, there are advantages to both options. Dolby Vision offers a higher quality picture with higher light levels, but it's a proprietary standard that also needs implementation in hardware as well as software. HDR10, on the other hand, is an open standard that can be updated via software download and has the support of more CE companies, according to ABI Research.

US operators are still sorting out their preferences. At the Olympics screening event that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) held this month in Philadelphia, Marc Francisco, engineer and fellow in Comcast Innovation Labs, noted that the company is using HDR10 in its demos today, but hasn't ruled out Dolby Vision for the future. (See Comcast Shows Off Rio in HDR... in Philly.)


Want to know more about video and TV market trends? Check out our dedicated video services content channel here on Light Reading.


Meanwhile, the original challenge of UHD video -- managing bandwidth for quadruple-resolution video playback -- still remains. And unbelievably, the video codec that's supposed to make 4K video delivery possible is still struggling through major licensing issues. HEVC, also known as H.265, is being controlled largely by two patent pools at the moment: MPEG LA LLC and HEVC Advance. But fighting over licensing rates and who should pay for what has made many industry players reticent to adopt the compression technology on a broad basis for fear of the costs they may face down the road. (See HEVC Advance Backpedals on Licensing Fees and Technicolor Pulls Out of HEVC Advance.)

As AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) recently pointed out when promoting its own 4K video broadcasts, one hour of 4K UHD video requires 400-500 gigabytes, and a single 4K baseball game can easily use up 2 terabytes of storage. Without an advanced video codec, the amount of bandwidth required to deliver that content becomes rapidly unmanageable.

Finally, continued delays over 4K are also opening the door for 8K video to potentially leapfrog its predecessor. Last week, both Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) announced that they have partnered with broadcaster NHK to bring 8K to market. The two CE companies are working to get 8K TVs ready in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. And while that may be an overly ambitious timeline, it may also be enough to cause further 4K hesitation. If mainstream 4K adoption continues to slip into 2018 or 2019, then at what point do consumers decide to skip 4K altogether and just wait for an 8K TV alternative?

Analysts are still optimistic about 4K TV. (See Nothing's Going to Stop 4K.)

And according to IHS, the 4K TV market grew 99% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016, reaching 19% of total units shipped. But IHS also noted that overall TV shipments declined globally by 2% in the same time period.

If more consumers decide to sit on the sidelines instead of purchasing the latest TV sets, that could add to industry woes over 4K.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from MariNation
There go the keys to the set-top kingdom.
Verizon buying Comcast or Charter? Preposterous! Except...
In 2017, TV is what consumers make it.
Just because it's a consumer show doesn't mean service providers stay home for the annual CES shindig in Las Vegas.
Don't underestimate the technology Trojan Horse.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
How Intel Is Powering the 5G Era

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading tours a series of 5G "super demos" so see how Intel envisions the 5G-connected future. We take a look at a prototype connected BMW, a light pole with environmental sensors that provides 5G wireless to a smart home and a fully untethered virtual reality experience.
LRTV Custom TV
Source Photonics CEO Doug Wright Talks About the Future of Source Photonics

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Source Photonics' CEO, Doug Wright, talks to Light Reading about how the company is continuously investing in its operations to meet not only its customers' current technology demands but also to deliver their next-generation technology needs.
LRTV Custom TV
Live Demo: DevOps in Service Chains & 5G Network Slices PoC

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Executives from PoC collaborating companies – Patrick Waldemar, VP and Head of Technology at Telenor Research, John Healy, VP of the Datacenter Network Solutions Group at Intel, Vincent Spinelli, SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at RIFT.io, Mats Eriksson, CEO and co-founder of Arctos Labs, and Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds – review ...
LRTV Documentaries
The Year of Fat & Skinny Bundles

3|29|17   |   21:06   |   (0) comments


In this fireside chat, Roku's Andrew Ferrone predicts that 2017 will be the year of multichannel OTT video bundles and spells out other trends in the OTT and pay-TV markets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
BBWF 2016: Orange Poland's Next-Gen Central Office

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Introduction to Orange Poland's legacy next-generation central office solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Viavi at OFC 2017

3|28|17   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief Craig Matsumoto reports from the Viavi booth at OFC and gets an update on the 400G testing market from Tom Fawcett, VP and GM of LAB & Production. At this year's event, Viavi won three awards from Lightwave magazine and showcased an interoperability demo with Ethernet Alliance and Finisar.
LRTV Custom TV
Connecting the Entire Home With DOCSIS 3.1

3|28|17   |   3:58:   |   (0) comments


Hitron Technologies had the first cable modem certified for DOCSIS 3.1 and already has over 120,000 units in the field. Greg Fisher, CTO of Hitron, provides an update on his company's rollout of new gateways and why he thinks DOCSIS 3.1 will continue to drive value for operators into 2017 and beyond.
LRTV Interviews
Amazon Prime's Hand of God Creator on Producing for OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (1) comment


Ben Watkins is the creator, writer and producer of Hand of God, a series on Amazon Prime. At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, he explained the advantages of producing for an OTT platform versus traditional TV.
LRTV Custom TV
How Metrological Keeps Cable Customers on the Couch

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Metrological offers an open source solution that reduces the time it takes cable operators to integrate OTT content into the linear television viewing experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The ABC of OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, Ben Watkins, creator of Amazon Prime's Hand of God show, explained how producing content for an OTT platform differs from producing content for traditional TV.
Shades of Ray
Why Analytics Is the Tech World's Digital Glue

3|27|17   |   02:20   |   (0) comments


It was obvious at the massive annual CeBIT enterprise tech trade show that the foundation for tech innovation right now is real-time analytics.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Unlocking China's $194B Telecom Market
Robert Clark, 3/27/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Working From Home Doesn't Work for Everyone Click Here
You shouldn't nap on your keyboard, for instance.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.