4K Pay TV Services Expected to Have 46 Million Subscribers by 2018

by on October 15, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 15th, 2014

In findings that echo the opinions of several others on the growth potential of 4K Ultra HD technology, personnel at research firm Parks Associates are claiming that more than 46 million households around the world will be subscribing to 4K ultra HD entertainment content by the time 2018 rolls around.

The research company is making the prediction that VoD and pay TV providers will be unrolling 4K content and related services as a sort of “differentiator” in a competitive content market and that these content creators and broadcasters will aim their new offerings in particular towards younger audiences that are more likely to use newer, more advanced TV features like TV Everywhere and cloud based systems for digital video.

Already in 2014, according to Parks, 82% of all consumers between the ages of 18 and 22 are subscribing to some kind of Pay TV service or VoD system. Many of them also enjoy streaming subscriptions to services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, both of which are already offering 4K content to their customers.

Oddly, the subscription service percentages among older audiences are higher, at 87% and younger audiences usually pay lower subscription fees for more basic Pay TV services.

According to the researchers at Parks, three key elements need to be in place in order for the true benefits of 4K to become more widely enjoyed by audiences of all ages. These are TVs that work with the 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution technology, content available in 4K Ultra HD and of course, ways by which the content can be delivered to 4K TVs and PC screens.

All three of these already exist but they also all suffer from one sort of limitation or another. Content remains scarcer than it should be, 4K TVs are still too pricey for mass buying by mainstream consumers (though innovative companies are changing this pricing structure already) and the content delivery mechanisms for 4K are improving and growing at a steady pace.

Parks also claims that 4K Ultra HD can deliver an excellent and enhanced viewing experience for those who adopt the technology but also goes on to make the claim that the three elements necessary for 4K’s success still need to align further for some serious market penetration.

Most fundamentally, the problem of getting 4K content to 4K TVs over existing internet networks remains extremely major. While broadband connectivity rates are improving considerably across the U.S, the overwhelming majority of internet subscriptions simply aren’t powerful enough for 4K transmission. This is a problem even with the latest 4K stream compression technologies like HEVC.

Broadband Connectivity in U.S

4K Ready internet Connectivity in the U.S is still a minority service.

However, given the steady, creeping advances on all fronts thanks to the mutually cooperative and interdependent efforts of numerous media, and Communications industry players, Park Associates’ researchers remain optimistic about the future of 4K and their own findings.

The company claims that by 80% of households in the U.S should have 4K TVs in their living rooms by 2025.

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