Broadcast Engineering magazine thinks that the global market for 4K and beyond – ultra HD – will remain small into the foreseeable future.
A new NSR Report entitled “UltraHD via Satellite” finds that the nascent market for Ultra HD is expected to start at a modest level in 2015 with just 15 channels being demanded by the global cable TV, IPTV and DTH industries combined. The global satellite Ultra HD market is expected to reach $412 million in 2025 from an $8.2 million revenue base in 2015.
My opinion is that 4K and beyond is being forced on the industry – much the way 3D has been in the last five years – in order to drive equipment sales, not because there is a huge public demand for ever higher quality. Go into the homes of your non-industry family and friends and tell me that quality is their highest concern.
Plus, of course, the practicality of screens large enough, in rooms large enough, for the benefit of that resolution to be even visible, means that any logical thinker would realize the market is quite small. (There are still fewer than 50% of those who own HD sets with an actual HD service.)
Now, there’s nothing wrong with 4K and beyond for production, as long as there is nothing wrong with it. I explored 4K production for Solar Odyssey with the JVC GY-HMQ10 but rejected it because of workflow issues. In that case, the workflow problems outweighed any benefit of PR from a “4K success story” might have brought to the project (or sponsorship of gear).
If your project is absolutely going to have huge value 10 or 15 years from now then 4K production now may make sense. But most of us don’t do projects like that: most projects don’t have a very long life expectancy, and producing in 4K will require higher specification equipment, complex proxy workflows and a lot more storage space.
I agree, the market will be niche, and remain so.