While there are lots of new 4K TVs coming in 2015, Content options are still looking sparse

by on January 16, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 16, 2015

For one reason or another, 4K content still can’t seem to get its step in gear and grow fast enough. While we’re seeing the arrival of literally dozens of new 4K UHD TV models from every single major TV manufacturer, and sales of ultra HD TVs growing at a nearly exponential pace, content producers and broadcasters still seem timid when it comes to kicking content production into high gear.

Right now, 4K hardware is so far ahead of 4K broadcast content that the gulf almost seems unbridgeable and as a result, it’s one of the main causes of lingering doubt about the viability of 4K TV among both consumers and some expert tech watchers. Ultimately, many of those who have already bought their own ultra HD set are mostly using it to watch upscaled HD content instead of the native 4K programming it was built for.

And while upscaling is a great innovation that does normally improve the visual quality of 1080p and even 720p HD resolution, it’s still no substitute for the real deal, full native 4840 x 2160 pixel resolution right from the source.

Of course, content is advancing: some broadcasters are kickstarting limited trials of UHD broadcasting and companies like Dish, Comcast and DirecTV all have announced plans for much broader and more varied selections of ultra HD programming in 2015. DirecTV in particular is looking promising thanks to the launch of two new satellites that are supposed to enable a wide selection of shows and even live broadcasts in full ultra HD resolution by the end of this year.

However, for now, the single biggest source of 4K entertainment lies in the streaming sphere. This means content beamed to homes over the internet from services like Netflix, Ultraflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. However, and this is a crucial problem, the majority of American consumers can’t access these services even though they’re already available. Their internet connections simply aren’t powerful enough to manage the high data costs of 4K streams. Thus, these millions of potential customers are left on the lurch and waiting for broadcast or Blu-ray solutions that are still months away.

Even at the massive CES event held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the beginning of January, 4K content revelations were notably scarce. New UHD TVs abounded and almost every major manufacturer from Sony to Samsung to LG and Panasonic unveiled at least half a dozen new TV models with awesome new features for 2015. Yet, content producers had nowhere near the same amount of new product to offer.

While new 4K TVs were flooded CES 2015, 4K content was notably scarce

While new 4K TVs were flooded CES 2015, 4K content was notably scarce

Nonetheless, as far as 4K TV hardware goes, it is still definitely the next big thing. Production of new 4K TVs is ramping up at an incredible pace and every major electronics company seems to be participating.

Furthermore, smart TV technology in these new UHD televisions is definitely evolving into something much more attractive to consumers. With Smart TV comes web browsing capability and direct access to the streaming apps for Netflix, Amazon and other services like YouTube and Hulu. But again, without the connectivity, the UHD content available on these is off limits.

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  • gapatriot36
    January 18, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for the article. If you would, please highlight the fact that UltraFlix stands apart from other 4K streaming services. They provide visually lossless 4K streaming at sub 8mbps connections!


  • anony mouse
    January 19, 2015 at 11:38 am

    never heard of “visually lossless”. sounds like a marketing term that means nothing. jpg, mpeg and others might claim to be “visually lossless” using high quality settings. They’re still lossy compression methods.


    • Krish Narayan
      January 20, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Ultrasonic had won’t the award at 2015 CES show for streaming 4 k at the bandwidth of 90% of people has internet services for thanks for the article it would be good to make this distinction because the public needs to understand the options they have for 4k.


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