From industry chatter, sometimes it’s hard to tell if Ultra High Definition television is coming like an express train or a stop-and-go city bus, but one thing is universally acknowledged: pay-TV operators need a plan as 4K video, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and ultimately 8K transform the quality of video delivered to the home.
While IHS points out that the 4KTV market will total 55 million units and more than 100 million units by 2019, a panel at SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo last month pointed out that operators still are wrestling with how to support 4K with HDR on legacy systems, as well as competing formats such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Here are some of the things that need to be on pay-TV’s front burner as the 4K/UHD transition moves forward:
· Set-Top Box Capabilities – Operators need to aggressively follow the lead of innovation leaders such as Videotron, whose illico 4K Ultra HD PVR deployment has become a blueprint for market-wide 4K UHD STB penetration.
· Content Security – Given the higher value placed on 4K UHD content, operators and their content partners need to step up their security games to include more specialized content protection techniques, including use of the Advanced Encryption Standard with 128 bit keys.
· Content Availability – Operators such as Rogers and Comcast have shown the value of 4K UHD with HDR, but production and distribution need to be ramped up if pay-TV is going to help subscribers gain full value from their 4K UHD television investments.
It’s clear that manufacturers are moving quickly to integrate 4K compatibility and even 4K capability into displays coming to market. No matter what obstacles there might be to the new technology, it’s clear that addressing the market quickly and comprehensively will spur market growth that will benefit consumers and the television industry.