Remember when HDTV was all the rage? Now, HDTV is old news. HD just got an upgrade, and the most unlikely team is ready to promote it to the masses. Amazon.com Inc and Samsung are partnering to try to promote 4K TV to mainstream USA. Warner Bros and Lionsgate are also getting in on the action.
The Major Players
Amazon is a well-known player in the digital media streaming space, providing users with a much-needed alternative to Time Warner, AT&T, and other large telecoms. For its part, it has been investing heavily in digital media and hopes to draw more traffic away from other content distributors like Netflix, Comcast, and DirecTV. The company made a commitment to the on-demand vision of entertainment, and it’s “all in.”
But, Samsung, and other consumer electronics makers, are hoping that the 4K TV will benefit everyone, regardless of whether they happen to pay for subscription-based TV or whether they use on-demand services like Nertflix, Hulu, or Amazon Instant Video. What’s so special about 4K?
The Promise Of 4K T.V.
First off, 4K UHD is a resolution of 3840 pixels x 2160 lines. It has 8.3 megapixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. It has 4 times the resolution of today’s best 1080p High-Def T.V.s. To put this into perspective, the iPhone 5 has a resolution of 1136 x 640 with 326 pixels per inch, and it’s widely regarded as one of the best screens out there, even for non-mobile devices. The new 4K displays are more than 3 times the resolution of these latest generation Apple devices. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it.
Why Demand Hasn’t Picked Up Yet
Ultra high-def has been really slow to take off, and part of the reason lies in its costs. When HDTVs first came to the marketplace, they were expensive. Some of the larger screens were in excess of $20,000. Of course, few consumers would pay this much for a T.V., but many did pony up the dough for the first plasma screens, which often ran between $7,000 and $15,000.
As the price in those sets came down, demand started to rise. The tipping point came after there was enough market saturation led by consumers who just had to have the latest and greatest technology first.
It makes sense that this will be the trajectory of the 4K T.V. market. There will be early adopters, just as there always are. But, slowly, the price will drop until most Americans can afford to upgrade.
But It’s More Than Costs
But, the problem isn’t just in the costs. After all, there are some manufacturers who do offer 4K UHDTV sets for under $1,000. Even for these manufacturers, the problem lies in the benefit of having such tech. There’s not really much programming out there taking advantage of the much higher resolution.
Thankfully, on-demand providers aren’t waiting for full adoption to take advantage of the technology. The new season of Netflix’s popular drama, House of Cards, for example, is shot in this ultra-high-def resolution.
YouTube allows maximum upload resolution of 4096 x 3072 pixels, which means that the most popular video site on the Internet is “future-proof.”
And, while it’s still unclear whether converting videos with services like YTD, available through http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/ , will allow for these high resolutions for locally stored videos, the sites themselves will be able to host high resolution videos of this caliber (and, if you do decide to download videos from the Internet, remember to respect IP when using downloaded content).
And, here’s where social media may get a serious upgrade. You see, the ones who potentially stand to gain the most are the content creators – the small-time producers who don’t have expensive studios, an editing staff, or access to the kind of technology that would be needed to create stunning visuals. Someone has already done the heavy lifting for them.
That means all of those YouTube stars, the programming like Veritasium, and even small-time bloggers who haven’t yet made a name for themselves, can plug into a much higher resolution platform.
This, in turn, will improve the end-user experience. It will also provide more motivation to create stunning high-quality video.
Daniel Lampley is a passionate tech enthusiast. He especially enjoys scouring technology news and explaining the innovations and emerging trends to the everyday user on tech blogs.
Posted in: Amazon, Samsung