tablet videoNext-gen Ultra HD, or 4K, resolution offers TV and video network and content providers a means of differentiating their services, with different categories of provider more or less likely to be early adopters of the technology for distribution across different types of devices and services, according to a new market research report from ABI Research.

1080p TV screens are now the norm, and mobile screen resolutions are increasing, but there’s still lots of streamed HD content distributed in 720p or lower resolution, ABI notes.

4K TV Adoption
Aiming to leverage the cachet of being innovators, Over-the-Top (OTT) Internet streaming video service providers, such as Netflix, VUDU and M-GO, are more eager to make use of 1080p and Ultra HD for connected CE devices, ABI says.

Focusing more on mobile tablet and smartphone screens, traditional distributors are more likely to make use of 720p for TV Everywhere content while relying on Pay-TV services as their main distribution channels for TVs. When it comes to mobile devices, OTT providers likewise favor lower resolutions.

“We expect Pay-TV operators will seriously consider 4K movie services over IP connections directly to smart TVs, bypassing the set-top box,” ABI Senior Analyst Michael Inouye commented. “This will allow them to compete with OTT providers on feature set before rolling out 4K capable set-top boxes in 2015 to 2017. With the TV Everywhere household user base expanding from 4% (worldwide) in 2013 to over 20% by 2019, a number of consumers will be ready for these services.”

Added Practice Director Sam Rosen, “TV manufacturers, such as Samsung and Sony, are doing everything in their power to seed the market with 4K content and services in order to convince consumers to purchase higher priced and higher margin 4K TV sets.

“Sony, with its motion picture division, is in a good position and has released a significant amount of remastered content on a download-based movie player. Meanwhile, Samsung in a similar fashion offered early adopters a free USB HDD with two full-length 4K videos and additional 4K clips.”

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