Commentary

4K Service Won't Come To The U.S. Unless Someone Pays

Listen up, TV set manufacturers: Make all the 4K equipment you want, both for industry and consumers, but networks and content providers might not buy in -- especially considering the financial results from the last big TV technology changes.

“We spent millions going to HD, and never got an extra dime from advertisers,” Fox Sports field operations executive Jerry Steinberg noted at this week’s conference of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). “It seems today [4K broadcasting] is a monumental task with not a lot of return.”

So someone else needs to pay. Will consumers be willing to pony up more bucks for a next- generation TV set so soon after buying HDTVs? Will they also want to pay higher monthly service fees to cable, satellite and telco operators?  That is a big ask.

The consumer electronic business has already been through the bumps, grinds and disappointments of 3DTV.  It may be too soon for any new big-screen TV technology to make inroads.

Meanwhile, Apple’s announcement of new products this week offered no updates about a TV set top box and nothing about a possible Apple TV set.

What does this say? Apple is incredibly sensitive about where consumer pricing should land with new technologies as well as about what features to include. It makes few missteps.

Some manufacturers will just offer the best-quality TV technology and let the marketplace adjust. Wasn’t that the case with 3D TVs? If you build it, someone will come.   In Japan, after all, public broadcaster NHK is already showing 8K -- 16 times more resolution than HD.

For 4K to happen in the U.S., an incremental expense will be needed, former ESPN executive Bryan Burns also said at SMPTE.  If that money comes in – whether from consumers, content providers, distributors or advertisers -- 4K will have a shot. Who will step up?

1 comment about "4K Service Won't Come To The U.S. Unless Someone Pays ".
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  1. Nitin Narang from mediaentertainmentinfo, October 24, 2013 at 5:28 a.m.

    Agreed.. 4K is several years away till the ROI on existing infra is recovered.. World Cup and Olympics can bring some change...

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