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Techie's Lounge Forget UHD, SD still king

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Report: Forget UHD, SD still king
Report: Forget UHD, SD still king
By Chris Forrester
June 3, 2015


While just about everyone agrees that 4K/UHD is the ‘next big thing’ for broadcasters wishing to capitalise on viewers’ lust for everything that’s bigger and brighter, the fact remains that standard definition transmissions still dominates in most parts of the world.

A detailed report from Northern Sky Research (NSR) explains the position. Looking at the state of play likely in 2024 in NSR’s “Developing Regions” then NSR states that 4K/UHD should have captured around 3 per cent of the sector’s channels. High-def is expected to be absorbing 19 per cent of the developing world’s channels. But old-fashioned Standard Def will still account for a massive 78 per cent of the region’s channels.

In fact, NSR says the number of Standard Def channels will grow. When looking at developing regions (defined here as Central and South America, Middle East/North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia), the number of DTH channels available to consumers is expected to show strong increases to 2024, from approximately 7,300 to just over 12,700 DTH channels. Of the nearly 5,400 channels to be added in these regions to 2024, over 78 per cent will be Standard Definition, with similar trends for Video Distribution.

In more developed regions such as North America, growth is primarily derived through increasing ARPUs. This results in a transition from basic to premium channel packages. However, in developing regions, growth is primarily driven by increasing subscriber numbers, resulting from increased economic growth and households purchasing their first TV sets.

Meanwhile, the UltraHD market in developing regions has accelerated, says NSR, with Indian DTH platforms Videocon d2h and Tata Sky launching their first UltraHD channels. The set-top boxes for this service will cost around US$100 for subscribers, which, it should be noted, is several years of a basic subscriber’s ARPU. Other platforms, such as Kino Polska TV in Poland, have announced their intention to deliver UltraHD channels to consumers. Although these new channels will introduce new revenue streams for both DTH platforms and satellite operators alike, it will still remain dwarfed by the giant of SD content.
 
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