Audiovisual sector believes that Ultra High Definition lacks content
The first 4K television arrived on the market with Toshiba in 2011. The new format - technically called UHD - arrived with eight million pixels, multiplying the resolution of HD by eight. But in 2019, a good part of Spanish homes continue to enjoy their lonely million pixels at home. The implementation of this technology has been slow. It arrived when there were hardly any cameras that recorded in those qualities (only two then in Spain) or prepared professionals. And the costs were very high. Now, step by step, it is becoming the definitive standard: more than half of the new televisions sold are 4K, according to data from the IHS Market Research Company. Samsung raises them to 75 of sales. But, when it is not yet settled and has a long way to go, the 8K is already here with its 33 million pixels. Part of the audiovisual world has met this week in Malaga at the 4K HDR Summit to analyze the situation that confuses the user, who does not know in which technology to invest his money.
For now, much of the sector is clear: the present and the future will be seen in 4K. "You have to go that way well and we will arrive, in time, to 8K," says Marúa Rúa, executive director of the market research company IHS Markit. Your words are sustained with the data. There is hardly a channel in the world that broadcasts in 8K, it is called NHK and it is in Japan. Precisely from the Japanese country they want to give a boost to this technology with the retransmission of the recent Rugby World Cup and the next Tokyo Olympic Games (those of Rio were broadcast in 4K). However, the forecast is that less than 1% of households around the world have an 8K television next summer. Samsung launched its first 65-98 inch models last year, huge formats. Many other manufacturers such as LG, Sony or Panasonic have joined this year. Around 6,000 euros.
To the high price the total practice absence of contents must be added. To counteract it, Samsung offers to scale any format up to 8K by artificial intelligence “increasing pixel by pixel to reach 95% of the real format”, explains Nacho Monge, director of Television Marketing for Spain and Portugal of the Korean multinational. The market is not so clear that this is the solution or that it convinces the consumer. Nor does it help that in order for the human eye to be able to fully capture the resolution of 33 million pixels, it must be located a span away. From the sofa, things change. "At the user level, nobody will be able to see the difference between the two options," said Emili Planas, chief technology officer at Mediapro.
For all these reasons, the audiovisual sector continues to look towards 4K, which it considers as the best formula to obtain an immersive television experience. Producers predict that it is the standard that has come to stay. "It is ideal because it is the limit that the human eye can capture," adds Planas. But it still lacks. Just see that there are only 177 channels in that format worldwide. In Spain, Orange and Vodafone offer some of them and Telefónica and Movistar + have content. Although they win streaming platforms like Amazon (with 446 titles) and Sky (382), although the list is led by Netflix with 646 titles. Of course, to enjoy them at that resolution you have to pay double: the premium fee is 15.99 euros compared to the standard of 7.99 euros. Specialists believe that the consumer is not very willing to pay that difference because with HD or Full HD it has more than enough. In addition, there are still numerous problems with standards, configurations or wiring. It is problematic even for professionals. And this makes the user not always know if the signal that his device is receiving is really the one he has hired.