Back in late 2008 and 2009, three dimensional viewing (3D) cemented itself as the new digital format for people around the world. Broadcasters and movie producers were enthusiastically on board off the back of great success seen by films such as Avatar for their then groundbreaking effects. 3D saw the largest growth in Asia, especially China and South Korea. China invested in more than 10,000 screens equipped for 3D, choosing the three dimensional format over 2D. However for many others, the craze seemed to fade as for many non-animation films, some argued that the 3D format offered only a distraction and higher ticket prices. So is 3D now being replaced?
4K refers to the horizontal screen resolution that uses the technology as they are all approximately 4,000 pixels in width. The format – which is also known as ‘ultra-high definition’ – offers users four times the resolution of the current 1080p HD standard. This can be stretched over much larger screens and still maintain that 4K sharpness.
Companies Behind the Technology
Panasonic, Samsung Electronics and Sony all unveiled a selection of their new 4K TV’s during the recent January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, claiming that 4K is the next big thing for the television industry. However, even though large companies are behind the new technology, it has been recognised that much larger amounts of investment are needed in order to create content. Through a wider variety of content, the televisions would present themselves to be a better investment to consumers. The main challenge facing manufacturers is being able to package a much higher number of pixels needed for the technology into a small space. At the moment, this factor means that prices are likely to stay too high for too long for the mass markets.
Mainstream Markets: where is 4K?
Perhaps it is because of the reasons above that 4K is not in the mainstream markets already. Stories have been circulating for some time about the prospects of 4K for example ITU announced a recommendation of the new technology back in May 2012. LG Electronics also revealed their largest 4K model in August 2012, citing that they saw the technology as a new marketing tool to help compete against their rivals such as Sony and Samsung. Toshiba already offered a 4K model as well as Panasonic with Sony and Samsung in the development stages of their devices. However, perhaps the key point is the price tag of LG’s model in 2012, £13,940. This high asking price suspended money needed from investors for LG as well as other tech companies to get the 4K models rolling.
It seems that in 2013, the drive for 4K marches on. Japan announced on January 28 2013 that it will be the first nation to broadcast in 4d in July 2014, two years ahead of schedule. They hope that this will jump sales in Japan’s decreasing domestic electronics industry as well as increase demand for 4K models which their manufacturers are already producing. Deloitte has also said that it expects to see some landmarks in the format in 2013, with more models and more consumer interest.
4K in 2013
With 8K models also being revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, surely it won’t be long for 4K to become a staple like 3D has been. Will marketing, advertising, infographic submissions, articles and billboards play a key role in driving 4K products into the 2013 marketplace? Alongside the models must come investment and wider content in order for 4K to make its mark in 2013.
This article was written by Sue Williams, a freelance copy writer in the Marketing and Advertising industry.