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15% of US Homes Will Have 4K TV by End of Year, Says Sony: Video
4K video adoption is growing faster than HD adoption did, Sony finds. Viewers should plan on upgrading their internet connections to enjoy that content.
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Troy Dreier: Hi everyone, this is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016 where I'm having conversations all day with the thought leaders of our industry. Joining me right now is Nick Colsey, the vice president of business development for Sony Electronics. It sounds like a good place to be and you're going to be talking on a panel about 4K. Is it all hype? I'm assuming you're taking the position, yes, we should just stick with standard definition.

Nick Colsey: Well Troy, funnily enough no. It's not all hype. It's very real. By the end of this year about 15 percent of US homes are going to have a 4K TV in their living room. This is growing very rapidly. Much more rapidly than the penetration of HD did. There's tons of 4K content out there: movies, TV shows, and increasingly, sports, live sports in 4k, as well. As a consumer, now is definitely the right time to be getting into 4K and as a content owner, content producer now—actually last year was really the right time to get started with 4K.

Troy Dreier: I can't believe it's growing faster than HD was. Are people really in a rush to upgrade their TVs already? Didn't we just do that?

Nick Colsey: The thing about the TV is when a consumer goes out to buy a new TV, the first thing that's on their mind, the top of the list is better picture quality. As screen sizes get larger and larger, the average is around 50 inches, but many TVs sold at 65 - 75 inches now, that kind of size you really need the 4K resolution to get that better picture quality. If you're upgrading from a smaller TV to a larger and just sticking with HD resolution, the pixels are going to be more spaced out. The picture quality just isn't going to look as good, so 4K really is a natural progression.

Troy Dreier: Did you say 15 percent of homes in the US now have them?

Nick Colsey: By the end of this year.

Troy Dreier: By the end of this year and what percent can stream? Isn't 15 megs the standard?

Nick Colsey: To the home you need about 25 megs to stream 4K, but an increasing number of homes have that. From an infrastructure perspective, about half of all the homes in the UK can get that speed, whether they subscribe to it or not is a different matter. I think once you've gone out and invested a 4K TV adding a little extra bandwidth to your monthly access program is a small price to pay. That's going to get you the bandwidth that you need. In most cases the homes that are buying 4K TVs are also the homes that have the best bandwidth.

Troy Dreier: Are there people who get the 4K TVs and then they don't really have the streaming capacity, so maybe their actually getting 1080 and they don't realize it?

Nick Colsey: Many of services have adaptive bit rate, so they're going to adjust the video stream that's delivered to the TV based on the available bandwidth, and that in some cases will change to HD. I think a lot of consumers are very savvy in this area. They upgrade their broadband to accommodate what they're watching. Even if they get HD, the TV does a fantastic job of uprising HD to 4K.

Troy Dreier: Now 4K isn't just about resolution. It's also about expanded definition. Right? Getting better looking images?

Nick Colsey: That's right. 4K gives you more colors and an increasingly high dynamic range. Most of our TVs since last year support high dynamic range, which in a nutshell, is the difference between looking at a TV screen and looking out of the window. If you're looking out of the window, you see these really bright lights, and huge range of light to dark, and all the shades in between. High dynamic range TV is able to deliver that. We're working with the UHD Alliance and their standards. We're founding members of that and the UHD Forum. Most of the content that's out there in high dynamic range is HDR10, which we fully support, as we move forward to live delivery of HDR. We're big proponents of the Hybrid Log-Gamma standard, which again, is in process of very wide adoption.

Troy Dreier: Thank you so much for joining me, Nick. This is Troy coming to you from Streaming Media East.

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