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4K Ultra HD satellite to explode in the next decade: Over 785 new channels to come online

by on March 30, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – March 30, 2016

According to a new report from Northern Sky Research (NSR), Expansion of 4K ultra HD resolution content channels will grow enormously across DTH, Cable TV and IPTV platforms over the next decade in the wake of what the research company calls the “2016 Inflection Point”.

NSR has today released their Ultra HD via Satellite, 3rd Edition report on the future of ultra HD 4K resolution via satellite and other mediums and the company identifies 2016 as a key inflection point for the development and rollout of 4K content through satellite transmission. With this as a fundamental tenet of the report, the company predicts that over 785 new ultra HD channels will be available to consumers worldwide by 2025 and also that the satellite capacity necessary for transmitting bandwidth hungry 4K content channels will feed more than $280 million dollars in annual leasing revenues.

Even though commercial 4K UHD channels have been available to select consumer markets in East Asia for more than a year now, the new format is still expanding its geographic presence in linear TV platforms. Furthermore, the NSR report states that by 2017, almost all of the world’s major regions will have at least one or two Ultra HD channels available for consumer use, and that even developing markets will see content and 4K channels by the end of this decade.

Furthermore, the rapidly falling price of 4K UHD TV sets is accelerating the interest in and demand for the new resolution format in entertainment, causing 4K TV penetration rates to rise even faster than was the case for conventional HDTV technology when it initially emerged.

4K streaming OTT services are substituting the lack of satellite and broadcast content for now

4K streaming OTT services are substituting the lack of satellite and broadcast content for now

According to Alan Crisp, NSR analyst and author of the report, “Given the exponential increases we’ve seen on 4K TV shipments, introducing Ultra HD channels and packages is a key strategy to retain and grow pay TV subscriber bases in an increasingly competitive environment. Additionally, this is a vital competitive response to OTT platforms’ ever expanding online content catalogues”.

He further explained that “While in the short term DTH, Cable TV and IPTV platforms will offer Ultra HD for ‘free’ with existing premium channel bundles, longer term Ultra HD will achieve higher revenue streams generated by increasing ARPUs and subscriber levels.”

Today, 4K ultra HD remains a fairly small part of the video entertainment market and only about 1% of channels offer the resolution but for this 1% of market share, the impact of 4K on the bottom line of pay TV platforms and satellite operators has been disproportionately large both directly and indirectly.

However, short term ROI difficulties for broadcast implementation of 4K do remain and this has in part been responsible for weak investment in the growth of this medium. Nonetheless, UHD is expected to pay out major dividends long terms to pay TV broadcasters and will continue to expand at a fast rate thanks also to OTT (streaming) 4K content growth with services like Netflix or Amazon, which indirectly helps the future of broadcast 4K TV growth by creating an existing content market around which 4K TV sales can be moved along.

internet connectivity is the main source of 4K content in the current 4K TV market

internet connectivity is the main source of 4K content in the current 4K TV market

NSR’s own report states the matter of 4K broadcast content platform growth in this perspective: By 2025, those without 4K capacity in the broadcast industry will be viewed the same way in which current SD-only content platforms are viewed by many users, far behind the cutting edge of consumer technology.

Story by 4k.com

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  • Bryan
    April 6, 2016 at 10:57 am

    With these sort of ‘all-in’ forecasts on the future of 4k, I’m sticking with my belief that 4k resolution may be the pinnacle for mass consumption and that 8k will be relegated to special applications and movie theaters. Sure there will be advances in display technology, but if most human eyes can’t discern the difference past 4k resolution, I just don’t see the impetus for all these infrastructures to take that step.

    It s the same reason that we decided mp3 quality compressed music was good enough.

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      April 7, 2016 at 5:49 am

      Hello Bryan, while your reasoning is practical and sound enough, technology has a tendency to grow exponentially to the limits of what it can achieve. This applies in particular for consumer technology and thus, as long as mechanisms can be created for more cheaply developing 8K video, displays and content transmission across much more powerful communications networks than those which are commonly used today, 8K will indeed likely become the equivalent of 4K today in terms of popularity. It will possibly even grow to have the same ubiquity as HD does now, eventually. “Good enough” is a highly subjective metric of potential tech quality and quantity. the growth patterns of computer memory, processing power and internet connectivity have all shown this to be the case in the long run. These trends are not only continuing, they’re speeding up in many consumer tech areas.

      If I were to bet money on the future of 8K, i’d wager on the side of its greatly expanded consumer entertainment and display role in 7 to 10 years and possibly even sooner.

      Reply

  • Steven Bertling
    July 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Build it and they will come. 4K, 8K, 16K. People will always find a use for the best. The advance in the technologies will reveal additional possibilities that are not even considered today.

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      July 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Hello Steven, you didn’t ask a question here but I just wanted to mention that I absolutely agree with this sentiment. I’ve often seen people express the thought that 8K and 16k and even 4K are silly technologies or that they’re silly on some display devices due to their huge processing requirements and pixel density but the bottom line is and always has been that if a consumer technology becomes more plausible and affordable, people will find a use for it and start applying it in all sorts of unique ways.

      For example, a common argument has been that smartphone-sized screens have absolutely no valid reason for being built with 4K resolution since it’s visibly indistinguishable from Full HD on such a small display space but we’re already seeing the potential for 4K mini-displays in highly sophisticated VR headsets. In this case, the 3840×2160 pixels actually do make a difference. Other examples in a similar vein will surely follow down the road.

      Reply

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