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Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?

COW Library : Broadcasting : Debra Kaufman : Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
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CreativeCOW presents Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K? -- Broadcasting Editorial


Santa Monica California USA

©2013 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


UltraHD, or 4K, has been making an appearance at trade shows for the last couple of years. At this year's IBC in Amsterdam, the demonstrations and products pushed forward the idea that 4K is a possibility for TV distribution and general production and post. Creative COW takes a look at the offerings and the opportunities.



What will 2014 hold for the advancement of 4K? If the recent IBC 2013 in Amsterdam is any indication, 4K technology, for TV and film, is here to stay. Skeptics can point out that, not long ago, 3D was the darling of new technologies. But it's worth noting that, though stereo 3D is out of favor, it hasn't disappeared, still a go-to technology for Hollywood blockbusters like Gravity and restorations (see Jaws and The Wizard of Oz).

IBC 2013 pushed 4K down the road, with 4K TV distribution demonstrations and partnerships, new cameras and other new products. Prognosticators can now set their sights on NAB 2014, but all signs point to higher resolution 2014.


NEW 4K CAMERAS
With the RED Epic, Canon Cinema EOS C500, Blackmagic Design's 4K Production Camera, and Sony CineAlta F65 (at 8K) and CineAlta F55, there is no shortage of 4K cameras. But now there are more of them. At IBC 2013, Sony unveiled two new 4K cameras aimed at cost-effective 4K production, and Panasonic released more details about the upcoming 4K VariCam.

Sony unveiled two new cameras at the prosumer/consumer end of the spectrum: the PXW-Z100, an entry-level professional camcorder priced at under $6,500 that offers image sampling at 4:2:2 10-bit is a ½-inch single sensor 4K camcorder with a fixed 20x lens. The PXW-Z100 relies on Sony's XAVC recording format (first used for the CineAlta F55) and uses MPEG-4 AVC/ H.264 compression for HD (1920x1080), QFHD (3840x2016) and 4K (4096×2160) content.

Sony PXW-Z100
Sony's new PXW-Z100


Sony also introduced a 4K consumer-level camera, which is likely to be used in at least some prosumer applications. The FDR-AX1, priced at under $4,500, records in the XAVC-S format, which uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP for video and linear PCM for audio compression and saves files in an MP4 wrapper. Although the two Sony 4K camcorders won't be available until the end of 2013, optic maker Zunow showed a prototype of a wide angle adapter for them.

The Sony FDR-AX1
The Sony FDR-AX1


Panasonic, which had already stated it would develop a 4K version of the popular Varicam camera recorder, went to the next step at IBC, saying they would "prioritize" said-development… with a launch of sometime in 2014. Panasonic plans to "speed the development" of the 4K VariCam by using large-scale integration chip technology with AVC-Ultra. The proposed 4K VariCam is slated to support 4K from 24p to 100/120p. Panasonic also stated that the new Ultra P2 cards will ship in conjunction with the 4K VariCam. The 256GB Ultra P2 cards will have the same form factor as today's P2 cards, with a high speed PCIe interface.

Will Panasonic have both the 4K VariCam recorder and Ultra P2 cards ready for NAB 2014? Nobody is currently making any promises or projecting any dates.


BROADCAST IN 4K
Much has been made over the fact that our current TV broadcast industry is simply not ready for 4K. No one came up with a solution to over-the-air broadcast of 4K TV, but at IBC 2013, numerous companies partnered to launch a variety of UltraHD satellite channels and demonstrations of 4K content distribution via satellite. Eutelsat Communications, in partnership with video compression provider ATEME, plans to launch what the company calls the first UltraHD satellite channel in Europe. The channel operates at 50p, is encoded in MPEG-4 and transmitted at 40 Mbit/s in four Quad HD streams. The transmissions are uplinked to the Eutelsat 10A satellite from its teleport near Paris.

Intelsat, BT Media and Broadcast, Ericsson, Sony and Newtec banded together to capture and transmit a multi-camera sports event in 4K TV. The demonstration utilized three 4K Sony cameras and mixers to cover a premier league rugby match in London on September 15. Ericsson AVP 2000 contribution encoders and RX8200 advanced modular receivers encoded and decoded the four 3G-SDI feeds in real-time. BT Media and Broadcast, which produced the event, used MPEG-4 AVC compression before transmitting the signal as 100Mbps video to Intelsat at BT Telehouse West. Intelsat uplinked the signal to Intelsat 1W (with Newtec's M6100 Broadcast Satellite Modulator equipment), sending a 4:2:2 10-bit, 60 fps 4K signal to IBC visitors.

Spanish satellite operator HISPASAT – which provides services to Latin America, Spain and Portugal unveiled its new Ultra High Definition (UHD) satellite TV channel, HISPASAT 4K at IBC 2013.

Also at the show, satellite operator SES introduced its plans to expand UltraHD services to Europe, Latin America and Africa. The company demonstrated UltraHD in partnership with Sky Deutschland and Harmonic to Humax and Technicolor UltraHD consumer set-top boxes, connected to a Sony 4K TV screen. In another demonstration, SES and Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute broadcast UltraHD content in the new HEVC standard, but at higher frame rates.


THE PRODUCTS
AJA Video Systems made a strong 4K statement at IBC, previewing its Io 4K, which connects to any Thunderbolt 2-enabled device and offers an additional Thunderbolt 2 port for daisy-chaining other peripherals such as displays and storage. AJA stressed that its Io 4K also integrates with "leading post-production and delivery tools such as Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Creative Cloud, AJA Control Room, Telestream Wirecast 5 and more to be announced." Io 4K, which will be available when the new Mac Pro ships, includes 4x bi-directional 3G-SDI, 4K HDMI I/O, backwards compatibility with existing Thunderbolt hosts, and real-time 4K to HD down-conversion for HD-SDI and HDMI monitoring among others.


Io 4K supports the latest 4K and UltraHD devices for capture and output with realtime high-quality scaling of 4K and UltraHD to HD for monitoring and conversion.
Io 4K supports the latest 4K and UltraHD devices for capture and output with realtime high-quality scaling of 4K and UltraHD to HD for monitoring and conversion.


AJA also unveiled TruZoom, a combo software and external joystick controller that drives AJA's Corvid Ultra video I/O platform that allows the user to scale any 16:9 region within 4K frames to HD in real-time. HD extraction from a 4K image has been put forward as ideal for sports broadcasts; AJA is marketing it for "live event production, professional AV, and digital film" in addition to sports.


TruZoom
TruZoom


AJA Video Systems President Nick Rashby noted that, "TruZoom has already been proven in critical on-air broadcast environments, including the MLB Network, which was very pleased with its performance during the baseball Division Series playoff games." Features include support for High Frame Rate (HFR) and 4:4:4 workflows; ability to work with real-time signals, or recorded uncompressed files; and instant real-time playback and interaction at the highest quality. In addition, all parameters are key-frameable.

TruZoom software with external joystick controller is available for just under $10,000. A RAW Debayer firmware option is available for just under $2,000. TruZoom runs exclusively with the AJA Corvid Ultra and requires at least one TruScale option card. Corvid Ultra is priced at just under $8,000 and each TruScale option card costs just under $3,500.

In the arena of Mini-Converts, AJA also released several new Mini-Converters; the 4K2HD downconverts 4K 3G-SDI to HD-SDI and HDMI 1.4 simultaneously, and can be used for HD monitoring with 4K cameras. Supporting 4K (4096x2160) and UHD (3840x2160) input signals, 4K2HD enables simultaneous HD-SDI and HDMI output from 4K, downscaled at high-quality to HD. Additionally, a "pixel for pixel" center cut of the original 4K/UHD frame is supported for camera focus checks. 4K2HD also supports the latest 4K/UHD 50/60fps high frame rate input formats, which then output as 25/30fps to HD. The 4K2HD Mini-Converter is highly configurable via the supplied AJA MiniConfig software for Mac and PC.


The 4K2HD downconverts 4K 3G-SDI to HD-SDI and HDMI 1.4 simultaneously
The AJA 4K2HD downconverts 4K 3G-SDI to HD-SDI and HDMI 1.4 simultaneously


Also new in the 4K arena from AJA is the KUMO v3.0 firmware update, which enables Dual Link, 4K and Ultra HD support in its KUMO family of compact SDI routers. The new firmware also supports ganged dual and quad port routing, which will enable Dual Link, 4K and Ultra HD workflows.

Blackmagic Design also came out with a number of new Ultra HD products, building on the UltraHD workflow demonstrated at NAB 2013.


ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K
ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K


At NAB, the company introduced the ATEM Production Studio 4K Ultra HD live production switcher. New at IBC was the ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K, priced at $2,495, which offers 10 independent 6G-SDI inputs each with frame sync, built-in DVE with zoom, scale and rotate, 4 upstream chroma keyers, 3 independent aux outputs with front panel control and a larger media pool that holds both still frame graphics as well as motion video clips. Three new 4K Mini Converters (Mini Converter Optical Fiber 4K, Mini Converter SDI-to-HDMI 4K and Mini Converter SDI Multiplex 4K) are all priced at $495 and are compatible with SD, HD and Ultra HD equipment, automatically switching between video formats.


Mini Converter SDI-to-HDMI 4K
Mini Converter SDI-to-HDMI 4K


4K possibilities were prevalent elsewhere on the floor. Adobe demonstrated 4K workflows with Speedgrade CC and Premiere Pro CC; Assimilate showed Scratch 4K workflows; AMD showed 4K workflows with Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Blackmagic Design's DaVinci; and Bluefish444 also showed 4K workflows with Premiere Pro CC, Assimilate Scratch and other products. Elsewhere, Marquise Technologies demonstrated uncompressed 4K color grading.


THE MONITORS
The lack of a 4K monitor has been one of the Achilles' heels of the UltraHD workflow, and there was some – but not much – progress at IBC 2013, with most of the products planned for 2014. Blackmagic's SmartScope Duo 4K, a dual 8-inch LCD rack monitoring with built in broadcast- accurate waveform monitoring moved the needle forward by including 6G-SDI for Ultra HD support.

But Sony and Panasonic are still at the prototype phase. Sony's 4K 56-inch OLED monitor was demonstrated in a black curtained off space as it was shown at NAB 2013. The company intends to launch the monitor "sometime next year."

Panasonic also showed its prototype 4K monitor, which the company intends to release by the end of 2013; the BT-4LH310 will be a 31-inch 4096 x 2160 resolution LCD monitor for studio or field use. The 4LH310's 4K 10-bit IPS panel will offer native 4K resolution, a wide viewing angle, and can accurately display ITU-R BT.709. The LCD monitor provides multiple inputs including HD-SDI, 3G-SDI and HDMI; and a 3D look-up table (LUT) among other features.


CONCLUSION
If you have been wondering what 4K is good for, a visit to IBC will not put you entirely at ease. It's great that we've seen satellite transmission of a 4K feed. Now we know it's possible. But is it probable? How many consumers in the targeted regions (Africa, Latin America, Europe) have 4K TVs? And how many will make the switch for the occasional sports program? It's the chicken-and-egg scenario familiar to anyone who went through the SD-to-HD transition. Remember how long that took?

For feature films, 4K capture has worked and will continue to be used for select projects, while everyone downstream struggles to gerryrig the workflow. Although an increasing amount of 4K gear is now available for post, post house owners must be asking themselves who's going to pay them to add 4K gear to their debt Can it even be amortized before 6K or 8K comes down the pike?

I'm not asking any questions that haven't already been posed; I ask them to show that we still don't have answers. At their October 2013 annual meeting, SMPTE will hold a technical symposium on "next generation imaging formats." Maybe a group of engineers can plot out an ideal roadmap. But the best standardization on the planet still won't resolve the issue of how business people will make the switch in these never-tougher times.

In principle, I love the idea of more resolution – I've seen 4K projected and it looks awesome. Maybe we'll all be 4K one day, and maybe it will take less time than it did to move to HD. But the road ahead is full of potholes and is anything but straight and narrow. For now, I think I'll stay home and watch my perfectly nice 2K TV.


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Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Keating Willcox
Help me out here...I am using two formats, Vimeo at its best resolution, and Waller, a 6:1 format designed for three monitor setup. I need 4K for the Waller shots, that's easy. But the picture of 4K tests on Vimeo are intense, gorgeous, far better than the other videos and almost theatrical in color and clarity. Am I seeing things or is this a real improvement in quality.

Quiz: any film advocates ever work in the European format 9.5 mm with the center sprocket?
@Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
reality check:
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/enough-pixels-already-tvs-tablets-phones-...

And this doesn't even factor in the reality that compression will negate any perceptible advantage, unless they cripple standard HD to make UHD look better in comparison!

Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Terence Curren
I saw the 8K demo years ago at NAB. Huge screen and we sat 15' away from it. It's impressive like true IMAX is impressive, but not for the home.

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca
+1
@Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
Also I couldn't help but note the irony. 4k is being pushed in the US not Europe, even though data rates to most US households are lower than European Households and elsewhere!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/08/07/reviewed-high-speed-internet-...
A freaking joke!

Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
Tim makes a big mistake in his assessment.
If people didn't wait until their old sets died it was more likely because:
1-Pending digital broadcasat switchover
2-HD is a bigger diffeence perceptually vs SD than UHD is over HD Beyond 1080 HD we are getting into rapidly diminishing returns for most people.

UHD is a scam to save the consumer electronics industry. At identical datarates using the same codec there will be no perceptible diference between UHD and HD on anything less than a 65" screen at normal viewing distance for most people.

The only way that there might be a perceptible difference is if data speeds to the home get a whole lot faster and the datarates for UHD can be bumped up to make a difference.
Please note that tests of consumer perceptions between 720 and 1080 were using uncompressed/lightly compresed signals. If the data were appreciably compressed the tests reseults would have been even more dramatic.

-1
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Terence Curren
Tim writes:
"NOBODY waits for their old TVs to die. NOBODY. I've never had a TV die in my life, and I don't know anybody who has. People buy new TVs because they WANT new TVs. I bought one last month."


I respectfully disagree Tim. You are looking through the eyes of someone in this business. Believe it or not, the rest of the world doesn't act the same way. The proof is in your statement that you just purchased a 3D TV when that is all but dead. That makes you an outlier, not an indication of the norm.

My parents, and siblings all wait for their TVs to go bad before purchasing new. My friends outside of the industry do the same. The only exception would be the gamers. Not exactly scientific, but I believe a good indicator of how people outside our world think.

Back to the 3D set you just purchased, Had that TV cost significantly more than other TVs, would you have still purchased it? I'll bet not, but the price was probably the same as a non 3D set. And there is a visible (to about 70 % of the folks) difference between 3D and 2D. How many can see the difference between 4K and 1080 in a home viewing environment?

When I started out in this industry back in the early 80s, some folks were touting how things were going to go HD. NHK had an HD system in 1972. We didn't go HD until this century. And we still aren't truly "HD" in 2012, only 75 % percent of houses in the US have HD sets. And only 29 % of content viewed was true HD.

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2012/high-definition-is-the-new-norma...

With that in mind, where the heck is all this demand for 4K going to come from?

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca
+1
Dead TVs?
by Tim Wilson
I'm stupefied that you've ever met anyone whose TV died.

To be sure I wasn't getting this wrong, I just called around to half a dozen friends and relatives I know who've bought TVs in the past 5 years (on the phone with two of them as I type this -- DON'T TELL lol), and NONE of their TVs went bad. And none of these people are even vaguely in tech. A couple are retired.

(Just for grins, try to Google to find out how many TVs keel over in any given year. I'll buy drinks next time if you find ANYTHING.)

But I don't wait until my cars die either. I wait until I see a car I want to buy, and figure it out from there.

I don't think I'm an outlier at all, or else Costco and Walmart wouldn't have vast walls of TVs. They expect people to see the TVs and want one, just because they want one.

And there wouldn't be TV commercials to sell cars. These ads aren't being pitched at people with dead cars, or no cars. They're being pitched at people with cars who want BETTER cars.

And can afford it, which is another question. To your other question to me re TV, yes. 3D now costs maybe $200 more for the TVs I looked at, so a no-brainer for ME.

(And my wife -- not in the industry, but at least as enthusiastic as I am....and equally dismayed by how dismal most 3D movies are.)

Where the heck is all this demand for 4K going to come from?

The demand will come from programming, just like it always has. Give me something I want to see, and I'll figure out how to see it.

It is NOT a chicken and egg equation. It's much simpler. Software first. Always.

AND the medium has to match the medium. You can't use movies to sell TVs. Can't be done. Just as with 3D and Gravity, people WILL seek out compelling experiences...for MOVIES...AT the movies....but the overwhelmingly positive reviews of Gravity in 3D won't sell a single 3D TV to see the 3D Blu-ray.

Want to sell 4K TVs? Make 4K TV shows.

And I have ZERO HOPE that this will happen. ZERO. I certainly agree with you completely on that.

Do me a favor: don't read Debra's article talking about 8K for Japan's 2020 Olympics. LOL
@Tim Wilson
by Debra Kaufman
Hey - I wasn't going to get involved in this until I saw that you told Terry NOT to read my article on Japan and 8K!! Whassup with that? More grist for the hyper (oops I mean higher) resolution mill!
Ready for 8K?
by Tim Wilson
Debra Kaufman I wasn't going to get involved in this until I saw that you told Terry NOT to read my article on Japan and 8K!! Whassup with that?

Kidding! It's an awesome article. Everyone should read it.

I just want to make sure Terry is in a safe place, where nobody will get hurt when the top of his head explodes. :-)
@Tim Wilson
by Debra Kaufman
Ha! That is EXACTLY the reaction I expected most people in the US to have...what? We're not even into 4K and 8K is here? Well, I think it's going to be a very very long time for 8K to be here (if every) because I doubt that anybody at home will be able to see the difference. Uh oh. Now I'm in the soup, having made a pronouncement!
@Tim Wilson
by Terence Curren
There are a lot of reasons to say a TV died. It doesn't just mean it won't turn on. Maybe some channels are bad. If it's a tube or rear projection a channel may be gone. LCD backlight may be dim, etc.

The point being, if you are watching a perfectly good TV, why would you replace it?

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca
@Terence Curren
by Tim Wilson
The point being, if you are watching a perfectly good TV, why would you replace it?

Your sensible frugality is showing. :-)

People (who aren't you) buy a new TV for the reason they buy a new car: they want one.

They don't put the old TV at the curb to be carted away, because you're right. It probably IS perfectly good. Maybe they donate it, but more likely, they rotate it into the bedroom, or the home office. I've never seen a house that couldn't use another TV. LOL

I just checked it out: there are expected to be 87 million NEW smart TVs sold this year worldwide. Do you think they're replacing 87 million TVs with wobbly tubes or too many dead pixels? No.

In this case, I think it might be the SMART aspect of the TV. It's compelling to watch Netflix, Amazon, et al on your TV. A new, exciting experience drives sales.

Somewhere between $5-15,000 for a 4K TV to watch crappy movies that I wouldn't watch for $12 at my local movie theater? NOT EXCITING.

None of this new TV stuff is because I'm in the industry. I was the same way when I was a preschool teacher making $11,000/yr (in BOSTON, no less) and when I managed bookstores for Barnes & Noble. I'd be the same way if I worked on a fishing boat outside of Delacroix.

Not that I buy new TVs willy-nilly. I buy TVs on roughly the same schedule I buy new cars -- 3-ish years? Something like that. Since I have a couple of TVs, I rotate, so yeah, I bought one this year, I figure another one maybe next year, maybe the year after that. I don't think I'm that unusual....again, which is why they're for sale all over the place.

In fact, watch your local box store in a couple of weeks, after Christmas. Your local office supply store too. If you have a supermarket big enough to sell, say, lawn furniture, watch there too. There will be scazillions of last year's TV models, or this year's off-brand imports, priced for impulse buying around the Super Bowl. Not because the old one is dim, but because the big game is coming, and I can get a 60-inch TV for $499. I can't afford NOT to buy one at that price. LOL

And not because I have $499 laying around. In practice, it's just a coupla extra dollars on the credit card bill each month, where I'm getting cash back because I too am frugal. LOL

Or, get this: maybe I'm buying a Smart TV so I can drop my cable bill down to the minimum, and watch Netflix instead. In that sense, I really COULD be making a profit by buying a new TV.

In general, though, our economy is driven far more by desire than need. Examples abound.

Frankly, I think human nature is more often driven by desire than need too. Our immigrant forebears didn't NEED to leave Ireland as much as they WANTED to. Although mine were mostly running from the law, so maybe some of both. LOL
@Tim Wilson
by larry towers
Linking to an article that is pure speculation does not support your point. And the point remains that 4k is being pushed where it won't make a difference in the end users experience. What you are referring to in desire vs. need is the marketing angle. Selling sizzle instead of steak.
Yes all of the early adopters will buy the sizzle but be disappointed that the highly compressed 4k is sirloin steak compared to the very decent burger that is HD. The only way 4K makes inroads is if it costs no more than HD, or HD programming is purposely degraded to accommodate UHD bandwidth forcing people to 4k to get back their HD.

@Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Tim Wilson
Erik, the cameras (hardware) need to come first, because the programming (software) has to come first.

It's been true from the beginning of every medium we consume -- radio, TV, stereo albums, CDs, MP3s, fax machines, computers, the internet, you name it. The question is, what can I DO with it? Until there's a compelling answer, you don't BUY the thing.

Early TV is a good example because it's obvious: the reason to buy a TV was to watch Milton Berle. The "TV special" was later invented to create programming that was worth buying a TV for.

So for 4K, there has to be a buttload of compelling content to make somebody want to pull the trigger. Sony has been trying, by bundling a media server with 10 Sony movies on it, including 4K restorations of Taxi Driver and Bridge On The River Kwai....and modern day classics including remakes of Total Recall and Karate Kid, Salt, That's My Boy, and The Other Guys.

No disrespect intended to the people in Creative COW who are sweating blood to do their best work on these movies...but they're mostly crappy movies. Certainly nothing to build an entire format on.

And for a Sony 4K server with 2 good movies and 8 crappy ones, you have to pay an extra $700! They should be giving that stuff away, and it should be 100 movies, not 10.

Remember 15-18 years ago, when AOL kept carpet bombing us with disks to get online free? We eventually did, and found LOTS of cool stuff. The party was in full swing.

Right now, buying a 4K TV is like being the first one at the party. Being the first one at a party feels like the saddest day of your life. LOL It's not actually the saddest day of your life, but nobody can talk you out of FEELING that way. LOL

So if studios really cared about 4K, they'd be carpet bombing you with free content, and eventually, you'd care enough to think about a TV.

But Terry, NOBODY waits for their old TVs to die. NOBODY. I've never had a TV die in my life, and I don't know anybody who has. People buy new TVs because they WANT new TVs. I bought one last month. LOL

AND IT WAS A 3D TV. LOL God help me, I love that format....but I'm just torturing myself, because nearly every 3D movie is yet another craptacular. I only like maybe 4 of the 3D movies I've bought, which is why I'm down to buying maybe 1 a year. They're otherwise movies I'd never see in ANY dimensions.

That's the problem with 3D. NOT that people don't care. If the content is good, they absolutely DO care. Well north of 80% of the people who've seen Gravity saw it in 3D -- more than Avatar.

But imagine trying to build COLOR on the back of kids movies, overwrought superhero stuff for teenage boys, and one or two "good" movies a year, tops -- a total of a dozen or two COLOR movies a year, AND THAT'S ALL.

You couldn't do that with color. They're failing doing it with 3D. And they won't be able to do it with 4K.

Worse, try to imagine building a format on the back of movies ALONE. Can't be done. Nobody buys a TV to watch only, or even primarily, movies. We buy TVs to watch TV shows. We buy COLOR TVs to watch color TV shows. We buy HDTVs to watch HD TV shows.

How many times did we wait for the old TV to die? ZERO. LOL

More important, how much did they pay for the TV shows? NOTHING. Cable was only compelling later because there was no other way to see "free" TV shows, but the biggest audiences are for basic cable, ie, as close to free TV as humanly possible.

Imagine trying to build the medium of television SOLELY on the back of HBO MOVIES, not even any HBO series. Couldn't be done.

For that matter, the number of people who bought iPods to listen to MP3 ALBUMS vs. MP3 SONGS -- it was skewed damn near 100% to SONGS.

Where's the SONG equivalent of 4k? Where's the TV show equivalent of 4K? Where's the equivalent of content that FEELS free because it just shows up, around the clock, in every genre of the rainbow. You can't build a mass format without a mass of content....

...which is why cameras HAVE to come first. That only makes sense. But there has to be acres of content, it has to be diverse and compelling, and it has to be damn near free.

Here's the punchline, in an article at GigaOm a few months ago, about Sony's new 4K Expensive Craptacular Download Service (I THINK that's its name; I forget):

There are many 4K doubters, especially in Europe. And perhaps that explains why Sony is making a big push in North America.


Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooops.
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Erik Thurman
Although its exciting that camera resolutions have come this far in such a short amount of time, it doesnt really mean much if the computer monitors and TVs cant broadcast it back to you.
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Terence Curren
It's always important to follow the money. And in this case, it's Sony and Panasonic trying to save their respective asses by foisting this new scam on the public. Unfortunately for them, it isn't going to fly this time.

The owners of HD TVs aren't going to switch until their set breaks. And at that time, they will go to Best Buy, and if the 4K TV is the same price as they paid for their HD set, they will buy it. But NOT because it's 4K. And it will only get that cheap if the Koreans undercut the Japanese again forcing the costs down, which means Sony and Panasonic will be right back where they are now.

And if Netflix thinks folks will leave their current content providers to go to Netflix for the super compressed 4K download, they also are sadly mistaken. Did anyone not watch House of Cards because ti wasn't in 4K? Did anyone leave HBO's Game of Thrones because it wasn't in 4K?

This is as funny to watch from the sidelines as the 3D fiasco.

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Stefan Byfield
What will the big wigs be pushing at us next?
TECH RADAR - 3D TV is dead, replaced by 4K, says BBC controller -
http://www.techradar.com/news/television/hdtv/3d-tv-is-dead-replaced-by-4k-...

According to The Register most people can't tell full HD (or will it be called SHD, standard HD) from 720 HD until the screen is 50"!

After doing a calculation using actual human visual acuity - "Alarmingly, that suggests that if we really are all watching at the 2.7m distance suggested in the BBC internal survey, we need 68in sets to be able to make the most of full HD."

So why is the beeb pushing 4k? The irony is that 4k would be an improvement for 3D TV, as it has to run at half HD resolution per eye.

Judging by the rise in the ghastly low-res hi-compression on-line streaming, the general TV viewer really doesn't notice or care much about quality, preferring to watch SD on HD anyway.

4k is really only for projection on to huge screens (except the editing perks of course), but hey maybe 68"TV's will become the norm. A few years ago who would have guessed that wide screen flat panels would revolutionise the way we watch our favourite visuals.

So until I can afford an in house 4k projection room I'll be happy with my SHDTV. Phew!
+1
@Stefan Byfield
by larry towers
So agree with this. And the irony is that here in the US where there is the biggest push for UHD, we are the least likely to get TRUE UHD because our internet speeds are terrible compared to Europe and Japan.
No one as yet tested hd and UHD using the same codec at the same data rates. Furthermore bit constrained UHD will most likely be 8 bit, that fact alone will reduce effective resolution.
Next person who trumpets the arrival of UHD to the home ask him or her about objective tests they have observed or undertaken

lenses for 4K
by Charles Binn
Are there any lenses with a resolution ready for 4K? Even the best DSLR Canon lenses have aresolution of 2.200 lines.

Charles

Re: lenses for 4K
by Richard Kynaston
I believe the Fuji Cabrio lenses are suitable for 4K filming, and *I think* were designed for that purpose. Something like the Cabrio 19-90 provides an ENG style lens for RED or Sony F5/F55 bodies.
Re: lenses for 4K
by Debra Kaufman
This is a great question - and one I plan on posing to Canon. Stay tuned for some blogging about Canon in the near future.
Re: lenses for 4K
by Paul Thurston
One of the things I would like to know has to do with 4k video cameras and Moiré patterns observed when said cameras are pointed at roof top shingles. I understand SONY has come up with a solution for its PMWF55 camera but I’m not sure what the other manufacturers have to say about Moiré. If we use a true 4K+ PL Mount lens, as opposed to a lens that resolves more than an HD resolution but less than a 4k+ lens on a 4K camera, how will that affect the Moiré patterns observed? I would like to see pictures and explanations of this. Debra, can you help us with that?

-----------------------------------------------
Paul Thurston
Producer
Chile
Re: lenses for 4K
by Debra Kaufman
I can certainly ask Sony to respond here - which I will do...Thanks for the question! Best, Debra
Re: lenses for 4K
by larry towers
A higher grade lens will only make things worse. It may be that these new cutting edge cameras do not have well enough OLPFs

Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
Very much appreciate the chart! It definitely puts things into perspective. However I really want to see a test of HD compared with UHD at the same datarates using the same codec. Having done some preliminary tests I can tell you that the chart posted really depends on viewing lightly compressed uncompressed data. When data is below 50mbps it's a huge difference! The chart represents theoretical best case scenarios which compressed data is NOT!
Furthermore most people at their leisure remove their corrective lenses etc. when watching movies etc. unless their vision is really bad.

Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by Terence Curren
To find out why folks can't see the benefits of 4K at home, check out the calculator at the bottom of this page:

http://referencehometheater.com/2013/commentary/4k-calculator/

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca
+1
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
Of course Stores are Flogging 4k aggressively. They are desperate to sell product. The only thing good about this is I will soon be able to get a nice standard HD set at firesale prices.
I don't doubt that at the exact same datarates using the exact same codec most PROFESSIONALS could NOT tell the difference either, unless POSSIBLY viewing specific static test patterns.
I restate my call for TESTING TESTING TESTING.
Ideally a double blind test.

+1
@larry tower
by Debra Kaufman
Yes indeed - that is the genesis of most (not all) of the call for UHD.
Re: Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?
by larry towers
4k makes sense for acquisition. But for consumer distribution it is overkill. Will all of the technically competent people here please do a real world test and encode both HD streams and UHD streams AT the SAME EXACT DATARATE using the SAME EXACT CODEC and tell me what you find when viewed on an ultrahd displays at real world viewing distances (More than a foot or two away!) You are not going to like the answer if you are pushing 4k in the home...

+1
@larry tower
by Debra Kaufman
Larry - you bring up an important point that has been discussed elsewhere in my 4K coverage; AlphaDog Editorial's Terry Curren has spoke eloquently about the fact that consumers won't be able to tell the difference. So it remains to be seen: will consumers buy the TVs or not? I've noticed the stores are flogging 4K very aggressively.
@larry tower
by Peter Berg
Hi Larry,

I absolutely agree with you. I think with that test you are talking about, you would see a big difference between the HD and UHD content.

The UHD would look alot worse than the normal 1080p HD content. You would have to compress the UHD content alot more to get it to play using our current distribution methods.

It's about quantity vs quality. With UHD, you get more pixels, but the overall end quality would be lower (at least for home viewing. For theatrical it's a different conversation).

I'm just not a fan of delivering or viewing content that is lower quality (and in many cases where I can't see the extra pixels anyways). I've seen the Sony UHD demo TV's setup at some stores, and the image just looks over compressed and not that impressive to me.

It's like getting a SLR camera with more megapixels. Does not at all guarantee better pictures. It can actually mean worse quality in many cases.

Plus.. with 8K around the corner.. we need to let the compression and distribution technologies catch up. I'm not going to push or advocate for UHD until the overall quality will be better for the home viewer (I don't upgrade just to upgrade. Or to just increase the profits for the electronics companies. There needs to be a real benefit in my book).

-Peter


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