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Is 4K Doomed to Be the Next 3D? Akamai Says No

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The industry might be buzzing about 4K video, but is this something consumers actually want? At the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City, Will Law, chief architect, media division, at Akamai, reminded the audience that this discussion sounds awfully familiar.

"I'm a pragmatic optimist about 4K, and I'm also a student of history," Law began. "I wanted almost to print out a session we had at Streaming Media East about six years ago that was taking about the new format coming out -- how it was larger, there were no screens to display it, there were no devices to play it, content wasn't produced in it. And that format was 1080p. Six years ago we were having exactly the same discussion, and I think we're going to repeat it again. In six years time we're going to be looking back and we will see a transition from 720 to 1080 to 4K."

It wasn't long ago that 3D enjoyed the same level of hype. Yet, it still didn't catch on.

"Why is 4K different than 3D?" Law asked. "If you went to CES 4 years ago, you saw 3D everywhere. Everyone put glasses on, there were screens you didn't need glasses for, there were ones that gave you a headache after 5 minutes, one after 20 minutes. 3D was everywhere. You go to CES this year, 3D is nowhere. It's the mark of the devil."

What makes the two video technologies fundamentally different is that 4K doesn't involve new viewing technology, Law said. There's no change required of viewers who can lean back and enjoy TV shows and movies just like they always have.

For more on 4K video, watch the full discussion below.


4K Streaming: Cost, QoS, and Cutting Through The Hype

It seems every year the online video space is inundated with the next big thing and a push toward the latest technology must-have. In years past, we saw pushes for 3D streaming and HEVC; this year, it’s all about 4K. This session will cut through the 4K hype and discuss what real-world impact 4K could have and what the requirements really are to stream in 4K. Hear from experts from various sides of the industry to get some clarity on what 4K will cost content owners to implement, how QoS will be addressed, and what the future may hold for 4K streaming.

Moderator: Matt Smith, Chief Evangelist, Anvato
Speaker: Will Law, Chief Architect, Media Division, Akamai Technologies
Speaker: Joe Einstein, VP, Operations, AEG Digital Media
Speaker: Ian Trow, Senior Director Emerging Technology & Strategy, Harmonic

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