Providing content to the next generation 4K ultra high resolution TV’s is shaping up to be the next theater of war in the battle for our living rooms. While the 4K Televisions themselves are still not common clever internet based video streaming services have already seen the potential.
During an interview with The Verge Neil Hunt Netflix Chief Product Officer discussed his company’s interest in providing 4K content to these high tech wonders. His optimism was tempered with reality when the discussion turned to bandwidth requirements. Bandwidth is the limiting factor at the moment with 4K streams requiring 35Mb of bandwidth to keep playback smooth.
Netflix aren’t waiting for 4K to take over, being nimble on their feet they recently announced the new Super HD streaming services that offers better resolution video for those with between 5 and 12 Gb of bandwidth available. Netflix Super HD streams are available now, 4K content is expected to be offered in the next year or two.
Sony President and COO Phil Molyneux recently discussed the challenges of developing their 4K content delivery service, a service he promised ‘would not disappoint’. Sony has thus far been rather tight lipped on details but they seem to often reiterate that the service will be ready for the release of the PS4. Sony is also readying a new range of both LCD and OLED 4K televisions; it looks like the one and only is planning a major event for the release of the PS4, are we about to see the dawn of the 4K living room?
The major challenge facing Sony and every company wanting to provide 4K content is the shear volume of data involved. Sony is working around the bandwidth or file size problem by offering overnight downloads. Each movie consumes over 100GB of space, expect long download times along with storage quickly becoming an issue. Fibre speeds are shaping up as an essential ingredient.
The 4K revolution marches on, with almost every television manufacturer displaying 4K LCD and OLED hardware we must turn our attention to content. Delivering native 4K movies to these next generation televisions is going to be challenging at best. It will be interesting to see the many varied solutions that develop, watch them battle for dominance until the next standard is delivered. Will 4K signify the death of physical content delivery, can the little spinning disks keep up, find a place in this new 4K world?