So, When Will We See Some Major 4K Broadcasts?

by on October 16, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 16th, 2014

We already know that the 4K content market includes all sorts of streaming services from companies like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Ultraflix and a whole host of overseas digital media providers.

But these players aside, when are we going to see actual 4K TV channels coming out from the major mainstream TV broadcasting corporations?

For the most part, current terrestrial TV broadcasting companies on both the local and national level are still limited to transmitting in Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels. And while many companies are experimenting with 4K implementation, they’re still far from openly stating when exactly they’ll start with actual broadcasts.

Overall, the verdict for many smaller companies, at least in the U.S seems to be “a couple of years”. This is at least the case according to Gary Kroger, the engineering head a typical local broadcaster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, WCCO-TV.

According to Kroger, the technology itself is getting closer to fruition but it still takes time for manufacturers to build up production of said technology and then for the standards themselves to be written out for all broadcasting outlets.

While 4K broadcasting is definitely starting to come close with some major broadcasting companies that have access to deep resources and the latest technologies, mainly in countries like Japan, the U.K, Germany and France, a lot of the smaller broadcasters in the U.S and elsewhere are still a ways away from reaching the same planning stages. WCCO-TV of Minneapolis is an excellent example of this.

Given that 4K TVs are selling at an ever increasing pace and thus gaining wider market penetration both domestically and internationally, the idea of no current 4K broadcasting channels does seem a little bit absurd.

However, two factors mitigate that absence. For starters, most modern 4K sets will “upscale” any Full HD content and even 720p HD broadcasts so that their overall image clarity is better than it otherwise would have been on an HD TV.

Secondly, the growth of digital streaming media coming in over the internet is making up for the lack of broadcast media Ultra HD content. Furthermore, there are also 4K Blu-ray discs coming out as of March, 2015.

In fact, the streaming content market from services such as Netflix, Ultraflix, Amazon Prime and other web based service providers could eventually take over conventional broadcast media at least as far as 4K content in is concerned. The “new” digital streaming players can at least say that they are already delivering the goods to those with the 20+Mbps web connections needed to handle a 4K video stream.

As for the basic question of when we can see 4K broadcasting to TV channels in the more conventional sense. It depends largely on where you live. In overseas markets like Japan, the U.K and France, there will certainly be 4K channels available by early to mid-2015. In the U.S, the same might take a little bit longer than that except for possible services in a few major cities.

An example of 4K terrestrial TV broadcasting

An example of 4K terrestrial TV broadcasting

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