Multiple test broadcasts of 4K services are likely during 2013 with commercial services expected in 2014/15, according to Deloitte.
The financial advisor’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications arm is predicting that 4K – offering a resolution four times that of the current high definition standard – will begin to rollout over the next 12 months.
“The cost for broadcasters of creating a 4K channel, factoring in upgrades to existing equipment and infrastructure could be $10 million to $15 million,” says Deloitte. In comparison an HD channel would cost $2 million.
While acknowledging that it may be between 18 and 36 months before 4K is technically and commercially ready, Deloitte believes several landmarks will be reached.
These include the availability of 20 4K TV set models from more than 10 vendors, available before the turn of the year. A range of 4K content will be released.
Professional and semi-professional cameras should become available, while a new HDMI interface standard to service 4K data rates is expected to be ratified.
Deloitte admits that the need for a new HD standard at all will be questioned, but says demand for 4K will grow in the medium term, as consumers are expecting higher resolution and ever-larger screens.
With pricepoints under $10,000, initial purchases can be expected to be a medium term purchase for the mainstream consumer.
Given that streaming 4K content will initially be challenging, Deloitte says it will be eight-layer Blu-ray with its 200 GB capacity that will be relied on for packaged media delivery.