Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share
11/04/2016

Why The Push For 4K Production?

News Image
Any new technology trend has its believers and detractors, and 4K (or strictly speaking UHD in a television context) is no different. By Tim Felstead, Head of Product Marketing, SAM.

There's the now-familiar argument as to whether viewers at home will actually benefit from 4K given the screen sizes upon which so much content is now viewed. This is on top of the questions of compression and whether we should be looking at better pixels rather than just more pixels? However, with TV set manufacturers pushing the market forwards, and consumers responding, there's no doubt that 4K is becoming a differentiator and is being used by many as a marketing tool.

In developed markets at least, viewers are now firmly in the driving seat when it comes to where, when and how they consume content. As a result, broadcasters have to compete with other media owners capitalising on the OTT space, monetising content in new ways. This includes SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) providers like Netflix and Amazon.

From a media owner's perspective, the single biggest benefit of 4K is to make their content look better, and therefore garner a greater number of loyal viewers for that content, plus of course preserve its longevity for future sales. As OTT providers take on traditional broadcasters in an increasingly aggressive way, we've seen them invest first in exclusive deals, then in original commissioned content and more recently they've been upping the ante by making 4K their default format.

From a traditional broadcaster's perspective, the drive towards 4K is slightly different. As their offering leans more towards timed content, or 'appointment TV', being able to draw in viewers with the best quality content and encouraging them to engage with linear (scheduled) broadcasts is where the benefits of 4K come in. For a broadcaster, being able to draw in viewers is directly linked to their ability to sell advertising, and becoming more common these days, sponsorship around particular content. In addition, it's important that any investment is future proof.

BT Sport is a perfect example of how 4K can open up opportunities for a relatively new market entrant. Not only did it buy sports rights for the Barclays Premier League and Aviva Rugby Premiership, it decided to launch a 4K channel: BT Ultra HD. It also broadcast the Moto GP at Silverstone in 4K last year. A SAM Kahuna 9600 switcher and a Sirius 800 series router provided the truck's 4K production backbone for the event. This is the first purpose-designed 4K truck in Europe, built by Timeline to service BT Sport's new 4K channel.

Canadian broadcaster Rogers Media has recently announced a market-defining 4K and HDR broadcasting services with a focus on live sports broadcasting. At the heart of the installation is SAM's Kahuna 9600 switcher, Morpheus automation and ICE Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) units, along with main and backup 4K sQ servers.

In Spain, we worked closely with MediaPro late last year to produce the first 4K version of "El Clasico" – the famous Barcelona FC and Real Madrid football match. The game was produced simultaneously in HD and 4K, the latter supported by a new mobile production vehicle equipped specifically for 4K with SAM's Kahuna 9600 enterprise level production switcher.

The most recent and interesting phenomenon we've seen is an increasing interest from companies wanting to actually broadcast as opposed to only produce in 4K for the future. We've seen BT Sport take a lead plus there are some satellite broadcasters that have the capability to handle 4K delivery to home, and added to this there have been some announcements in the press about plans for supporting 4K set-top boxes. This ramp up of 4K playout demand goes hand in hand with the increasing availability of content produced in 4K.

At SAM we have a commercial advantage in that we have market-leading technologies across the production, post production and playout spaces. We're supplying 8K editing systems to clients in Japan; in-fact, we have just been asked to supply an 8K 120P system and we are already working with customers in high dynamic range and high frame rate. We are in the process of passing that knowledge and capability throughout our product portfolio, making 4K, HDR, HFR and of course wider colour gamut products available to our customers.

So what about HDR? The market's not quite there yet on the display front, but HDR TV sets are being introduced and this will mean we will soon see a growth in, and an appetite for, watching content in HDR. While HDR is not without its issues at present, we are a firm believer in the benefits of HDR in combination with 4K.

Image: Tim Felstead.

www.s-a-m.com

(JP)
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

23/03/2020
Video Return Feeds – Their Value In Live Broadcast Production
With so many live events being broadcast to cover the vast amount of News, Sport and Entertainment available now, you need to ensure that your field c
18/03/2020
Timeline Provides Post-Production On Two BBC Sport Relief Documentaries
Timeline Television North in MediaCityUK has provided BBC Sport with full post-production on both the Greg James' Sport Relief Heroes and 2020: Gareth
13/03/2020
Video Return Feeds – Their Value In Live Broadcast Production
With so many live events being broadcast to cover the vast amount of News, Sport and Entertainment available now, you need to ensure that your field c
29/01/2020
Production News : ITV Studios Appoints New MD Of Its International Production Business
ITV Studios has appointed Lisa Perrin as the new Managing Director of its International production business. Lisa joins the company from Endemol Shine
28/01/2020
Framestore Launches Pre-Production Services
Framestore Pre-production Services (FPS) has launched for the global film and content production industries. This will expand and enhance Framestore's
21/01/2020
Production News : Channel 4 Appoints Head Of Production And Operations For 4Creative
Channel 4 has appointed Miketta Lane as Head of Production and Operations for its award-winning in-house creative agency 4Creative. Reporting into Chi
10/01/2020
HD And High Dynamic Range Post-Production Update
It is commonly assumed in the broadcast business that HDR is the preserve of OTT-based channels like Amazon and NetFlix. A lot more HDR production is
06/01/2020
White Mark Helps LIPA Build A Hub For Its TV/Film Production Course
LIPA, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts that was founded in 1995 by lead patron Sir Paul McCartney and Principal Mark Featherstone-Witty, ha
06/01/2020
Registration Opens For The Media Production And Technology Show 2020
Registration has now opened for The Media Production and Technology Show 2020 (MPTS), which takes place 13-14 May at London Olympia. Featuring over 18
09/06/2014
4K OK? Understanding UltraHD... (Pt 2)
"The latest workstations and professional laptops are now up to the task of 4K content creation and NLE developers are all beginning to support native
04/06/2014
BroadcastAsia2014: 4K To Transform Onscreen Viewing
HD (high definition) viewing will soon be a technology of the past, as a result of the proliferation of 4K coming Asia's way. 4K, also commonly known
04/04/2014
Sony And FIFA To Collaborate On A Range Of 4K Initiatives
Sony and FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) have announced they will collaborate on a range of 4K initiatives at the 2014 FIFA W
29/04/2014
Asia Gears Up For 4K
4K is "coming Asia's way," according to the organisers of BroadcastAsia, the digital multimedia and technology conference taking place this year in Si
09/06/2014
4K OK? Understanding UltraHD... (Pt 1)
In a bid to get his head around the intricacies of 4K format ahead of this summer's landmark broadcasting event, editor Iain Todd spoke to some indust
02/10/2017
NFTS Opens 4K Digital Content Training Studio & Hub
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) officially opens the Sony Gallery, which is located in its ground-breaking 4K Digital Content Training