Why 4K UHD TV Absolutely Isn’t “Dead Tech Walking”
by Stephan Jukic – August 19th, 2014
According to this recently covered survey of 4K TV display awareness and preparation by research company the Diffusion Group, the new resolution format for home entertainment technology is “dead tech walking” and is “doomed to the scrap heap”
What the authors of both the survey and the post that covers it cite as evidence of their conclusions rests on four key problems that still exist with 4K TV. The first of these is the fact that only 6% of broadband users in the U.S have claimed themselves to be “moderately” or “highly likely” to buy a 4K TV. Secondly, there is also the fact that 83% of all survey respondents don’t even know what 4K is or that it even existed at all.
Furthermore, according to the survey, the price of 4K TV sets is proving to be “prohibitively” high given that only 3.4% of respondents claimed they would spend money on even a cheaper 4K set that costs just under $1000 USD. At prices of $1,999, the percentage of possible buyers among survey respondents dropped to a miniscule 1.9%.
Finally, there is the problem of insufficient internet connectivity, according to the survey takers, who claim (and rightfully so far) that only a minority of domestic web connections in U.S homes are powerful enough to reliably transmit 4K signals to the TVs of users.
Why 4K isn’t Doomed Anyway
While the above four facts are certainly true as far as they go, they’re also far from a death sentence for 4K resolution and TV as technologies. Furthermore, even the above percentages hide some of their own holes in reasoning.
For starters, the problems with the survey’s numbers: what people claim they would do in terms of purchasing decisions and what they actually do when faced with a new technology that outdoes anything they’ve seen before in delivering their entertainment needs beautifully are often two different things.
While it may be true that few respondents and few Americans in general are really aware of 4K resolution yet, it also works against the very notion of them not being willing to buy it. The small percentage of respondents that did know what 4K even was are also too small a group to give an effective gauge of what real buying habits in the public would be like.
If actually shown, frequently and in live situations, what 4K TV displays can offer in terms of content display, a large percentage of those who have never seen or heard of 4K before could easily find themselves deciding to buy as their awareness increases.
Normal HD was at one time widely unknown and expensive, but after competition brought its pricing down, previously unaware consumers who were able to see how much better the format looked than 720p or lower quickly started to change their minds about getting their hands on an HD TV. This in turn prompted a flood of HD compatible content to become widely available.
The Diminishing Speed Bumps to 4K Adoption
As for the technological and pricing problems that do still plague 4K TVs, even those are shrinking almost by the day. In fact, the difficulties that 4K faces today, two years after it first became available for consumer purchase in TVs, are much smaller than the problems that 1080p HD faced when it first emerged in the late 1990’s. Internet connectivity, while still not evenly powerful enough to handle 4K data streams is better off than it was when HD TVs emerged and the strength of connections to homes across the country is improving every year while 4K transmission compression technology is being refined at the same time.
Additionally, the content available for 4K TVs does already exist and is growing in scope constantly. And if this isn’t enough, virtually all current 4K TV models have internal upscaling software that can improve conventional HD content resolution noticeably while native 4K content catches up.
Finally, while 4K TV does remain more expensive than regular HDTV, the difference between those two price points is shrinking at an enormous speed: Between 2012 and 2014, the price of 4K sets has decreased by just under 90% on the North American market, and this trend is continuing at this very moment. This by itself shows that there is a massive competitive push in the electronics industry at making newer and better TVs that cost less. This is absolutely not a sign of a stagnant or “trash heap” market.
Most importantly of all, 4K camera technology is becoming deeply mainstream and if video content is uniformly being filmed at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, people will want to watch it in the same resolution. This is an unstoppable user demand that will move 4K to eventually replace HD as the gold standard for display resolution.
Story by 4k.com