• Joseph O'Halloran

Ne plus Ultra HD

Even though there has been a large uptake of sets capable of receiving and playing out 4K/Ultra HD content, the number of services across the world remains stubbornly low. However, Insight TV is one service that is bucking this trend.

The numbers don’t lie: it’s looking very good for 4K/Ultra HD. Research from Strategy Analytics at the end of 2018 calculated that 222 million global homes owned an Ultra HD TV by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 50% over the previous 12 months.

Furthermore, and showing exactly how strong the demand for such technology would be going forward, it forecast that more than 600 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by 2023, with North America continuing to lead in terms of adoption with 71% of homes set to own one by 2023. A similar tracking report by Futuresource Consulting has found that as 2018 drew to a close, consumer interest in Ultra HD continued to climb, receiving a further push due to average retail prices reaching parity with HDTV sets.

Sounds good? Well certainly in terms of the number of devices in homes. Yet when one considers the number of Ultra HD services in use right now, and indeed going forward to 2023, it is a different story. There just aren’t that many and despite 2018 having a World Cup to kick off demand, growth in service numbers has plateaued. And what makes this even more curious is the amount of content now filmed using 4K cameras. The recent Superbowl LIII was a prime example with rights holder CBS shooting the landmark event in 4K but not broadcasting in that form.

So what is going on? The good news is that there are actually some service providers doing rather well right now. Let us give you some Insight. Addressing one of the key 4K-specific events of the TV conference calendar in November 2018, Kagan senior analyst Mohammed Hamza told an audience of industry professionals that not only was the 4K device ecosystem growing fast but that ultimately the debate around the viability of 4KTV screens was no longer an issue; instead the industry would plough its own path according to what people could watch. He said: “The consumer acceptance is there... The competitive environment has changed: the development path for 4K is not the same as that of HD before it. Online platforms and streaming growth offer a significant contribution. The key discussion centres on content, an issue that will persist as consumers and platforms transition.”

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