Both Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu are shooting original series in 4K, and Amazon said it was working with major content producers Warner Bros., Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Discovery to make 4K content available.
The emergence of Ultra HD marks the first time a major TV standard is being pushed forward with the Internet. “It’s a chance for the Internet to really shine,” Hastings said.
Downloading huge Ultra HD files would take download speeds of only 15 megabits per second and could even work with a Wi-Fi connection, Hastings said. LG’s chief technology officer, Skott Ahn, told The Associated Press that 4K content could be streamed with 8-15 Mbps Internet speeds using the latest HEVC video compression standard.
It’s not clear how close the industry is on a Blu-ray disc standard for Ultra HD. No announcements about a format were made at the show, even as The Digital Entertainment Group, an industry consortium of studios and electronics makers, declared that strong consumer interest in 4K “bodes well for the home entertainment industry.”
Enough people have to own Ultra HD sets for pay TV providers to start enabling service. If the CEA’s forecast of 485,000 units sold in the U.S. comes true, that could provide enough of a base for cable, telecoms and satellite to begin to upgrade their systems, according to Pat Esser, president of cable TV provider Cox Communications, which serves about 10 percent of U.S. pay TV subscribers. If 50,000 Cox subscribers buy Ultra HD TVs, “then you’ve got my attention,” Esser said in an interview.
Widespread adoption by live-TV producers still seems a ways off.
Sony Corp. promised an end-to-end production suite for professionals, and Sony Electronics President Mike Fasulo on Monday unveiled a Handicam that shoots in ultra HD for the home enthusiast, priced at $2,000 — “As I like to say, 4K for $2K.”
He rattled off a list of upcoming movies, shows and live events that will be shot in 4K and offer something for ultra HD set buyers to watch, everything from Spike Lee’s latest movie, “The Sweet Blood of Jesus,” to the FIFA World Cup in June.
“We’re not talking about this as a science project 10 years into the future,” he said at Monday’s news conference. “This is all happening now.”