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Study projects 4K will expand like HD, only faster

Research released yesterday by Parks Associates projects that 4K televisions will trace a popularity/price trajectory similar to that of HDTVs over the last 15-year period. However, the data also points to a quicker rate of progression for 4K TVs: the new technology is predicted to reach the HDTV’s level of affordability and ubiquity — which took 15 years to fully blossom — in a leaner 10-12 years.

The study, “4K Today: Bringing Ultra HD to Market” delves into a handful of aspects of the current HD landscape. The research looks at 4K’s importance to consumer electronics manufacturers, analyzes over-the-top (OTT) and pay-TV content delivery issues, and gives a detailed comparison of 4K to previous rollouts of 3D and HD technologies. Perhaps most importantly, at the core of the research, is this prediction: 4K TVs will reach mass-market pricing in the next two to three years and surpass 80 percent of households in the aforementioned 10-12 years.

Analysts for Parks Associates say the research indicates an initial focus on OTT delivery of 4K content — companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Comcast are already developing 4K content, and working on improving streaming methods needed to handle the massive files. As the amount of said content increases over the next two years, broadband networks will naturally experience growing traffic demands, which will require looking into bandwidth conservation and cutting-edge compression tech.

The president for Parks Associates, Stuart Sikes, makes a valid point in regard to the unique historical position of 4K in today’s rapidly transforming, connected living room: “With the increasing convergence in the connected home, innovations such as 4K have implications for a variety of players throughout the home entertainment ecosystem,” Sikes says. Those players might include companies who produce 4K displays and monitors, 4K compatible streaming devices, upscaling components like Blu-ray players and A/V receivers, and more.

4K is set to make waves in the TV universe and — as a result — operators, manufacturers and consumers, alike, face technological leaps and bounds with each new day.

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