Dots in the trend lines that are analyzed in depth in the weekly The Online Reporter
Today’s Dots: The media industry’s move to 4K/UHD has been inevitable for three years. Now it is a reality. That has significant implications for the broadband, home networking and consumer devices industry because, even compressed, 4K/UHD requires twice the bandwidth of 1080p HD, the current industry resolution standard. Broadband and home networks will have to be doubled to and within the home and every device in the home’s content supply chain will have to be replaced with 4K-capable devices.
‘UHD Will Be the Default Format for a Majority of Programming’
NEP Europe, which operates a fleet of production trucks for the media industry, has selected Grass Valley’s native LDX 86N 4K cameras for its new trucks that are currently under construction. The five new trucks, which include one triple-expanding unit that can accommodate up to 30 of the LDX 86N cameras, should be on the road by early spring of 2017. All future trucks built for NEP Europe will also feature LDX 86N cameras exclusively. The five new trucks, which include one triple-expanding unit that can accommodate up to 30 of the LDX 86N cameras, should be on the road by early spring of 2017. All future trucks built for NEP Europe will also have LDX 86N cameras exclusively.
Paul Henriksen, president of NEP Broadcast Services Europe, said, “We won’t be switching to UHD production overnight, but it’s clear that the market is moving that way. By making this decision now and equipping our new trucks with the best 4K cameras on the market, we are ready to offer the capability as our customers demand it. Also, the LDX 86N offers outstanding HD image performance, so it fits our production needs today very well.”
“NEP Europe is a real pioneer in the market, putting everything in place to take advantage of the new opportunities for UHD production,” said Jan-Pieter van Welsem, VP of sales and marketing, EMEA, Grass Valley. “We’ve worked together for years, and by staying on the leading edge of technology, we are able to provide them with solutions that fuel their growth while paving the way for change. Before we know it, UHD will be the default format for a majority of programming.”
Broadcast Industry Agrees to Specification for Ultra High Definition Television
In Geneva this week the Steering Board of the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) consortium approved the latest specification for Ultra High Definition Television, UHD-1 Phase 2. The SB called it “a major milestone for the industry” because it guarantees interoperability, which enables broadcasters and CE manufacturers to provide UHD-1 Phase 2 products and services. The first DVB UHD-1 Phase 2 services that include the new features should be available next year. (DVB) is an industry-led consortium of broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulators and others from around the world committed to designing open interoperable technical standards for the global delivery of digital media and broadcast services.
The approval shows that the broadcast TV industry recognizes that it too must convert to UHD/4K to keep viewers and compete against the OTTT industry.
The specification includes such improvements to video and audio quality for broadcast TV services as:
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) which significantly increases the contrast ratio and results in pictures with more “sparkle”
- A definition of Higher Frame Rates (HFR) beyond the current 50/60 Hz and offers sharper images of moving objects
- The latest Next Generation Audio (NGA) schemes that support object- or scene-based audio
Over 30 companies and other interested parties participated in about 36 online meetings and 14 physical meetings that took place over the 3 years. David Wood, chair of the DVB Commercial Module for UHDTV who oversaw much of the work on the specification, said, “It marks the culmination of many years work by scores of DVB Member engineers, and is probably the tipping point for the new age of UHDTV.”
DVB members are committed to designing open interoperable technical standards for the global delivery of digital media and broadcast services. Its standards cover all aspects of digital television from transmission through interfacing, conditional access and interactivity for digital video, audio and data. Hundreds of manufacturers offer DVB compliant equipment and over a billion DVB receivers have been shipped worldwide.
Next Microsoft Gaming Console to Provide True Native 4K and VR
Microsoft says its upcoming Project Scorpio will be the only gaming console to offer true native 4K gaming with high-fidelity VR support and that will provide a more high-end PC-like gaming experience. Microsoft said it will provide a high-end PC-like gaming experience. Aaron Greenberg, head of Xbox marketing, reportedly said Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console ever and comparable to a high-end PC that is costs thousands of dollars. Microsoft reportedly said that Project Scorpio will have higher specs than Sony’s PS4 Pro console, which supposedly cannot provide true 4K.
Major Taiwanese Cinema Chain Installs Barco’s 4K Projectors
4K is spreading globally. Vie Show Cinemas, one of Taiwan’s largest cinema operators with 14 cinemas, will use Barco DP4K projectors in its newest theater in Mitsui Outlet Park of New Taipei City. Vincent Tsang, national technical manager for Vie Show Cinemas, said, “Vie Show Cinemas installed 6 DP4K-32B and 3 DP4K-23B projectors in its 9 auditoriums at Mitsui Outlet Park. All 9 DP4K projectors were designed to be future-proof and are extremely easy to install and operate. They offer bright 4K images at high frame rates for razor sharp movie projection. These projectors offer an unbeatable solution to us, allowing us to give our moviegoers a premium cinema experience while saving us time and money.” The theater is the first in Taiwan to have Barco 4K cinema projectors.
Déjà vu All Over Again: Broadband Subs up; Pay TV Subs Down
Two facts are very obvious. The pay TV industry is shrinking and the wireline broadband market is growing. Here are the latest numbers from Leichtman Research Group:
- The number of pay TV subscribers is on a steady decline, even perhaps an accelerating decline. The 11 largest pay TV services in the States lost about 255,000 subscribers in 3Q 2016, compared to a loss of about 210,000 in 3Q 2015.
- The number of broadband subscribers is increasing. The fourteen largest cablecos and telcos added about 625,000 net additional subscribers in 3Q 2016, about the same as Q3 2015.
Broadband is much more profitable because there is no content to acquire but the loss of pay TV subscribers will hurt service providers and lessen their clout with content owners – unless you own your own studio as Comcast does with NBCUniversal and AT&T hopes to with Time Warner.
There is a 4K connection. Showing how far pay TV services have fallen behind in technology compared to OTT services, none of the pay TV services can provide 4K content – with the exception of DirecTV whose 4K content is pricey and limited. They are also behind in HDR, next-generation audio, interactivity, targeted advertising and especially any content anytime anywhere any device.
The Online Reporter Daily sends a free daily briefing to anyone that wants to receive it. Want to try the daily? Sign up and/or unsubscribe at will here.
The weekly The Online Reporter contains in-depth news, research, analysis, forecasts and complete reports. It is $995 and can be ordered and trialed here.