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Video: The Problem With Streaming 4K Today

Watch Charles Kraus's full presentation from Streaming Media East, Making Your Video Workflow Work for You, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Charles Kraus: If you think about 4K, I was at NAB and everything's 4K cameras, 4K everywhere, there's a small problem with that ... and it's worse outside the US. Look at the bandwidth you need to do just straight up 4K, all right, 20 to 25 Mbps. With high dynamic range, it’s a little bit higher.

I saw 4K virtual reality, with multiple views. How many views do you want to present? Multiply that by that number. If 80% of US households have less than 8 Mbps, guess what? This is one reason 4K took off like crazy for a little bit but now it's kind of stalled out, not a lot of content.

I know there are services like at CuriosityStream where you can get standard definition, high definition, and 4K, and you pay for each. But, there's just not a lot of demand yet for 4K for the simple reason that, hardly anybody has the bandwidth to get it even though everybody buys 4K TVs. Why is that? Because that's all we sell. The manufacturers have found out that it's so cheap to make the displays, that's all they're making.

I was on a panel at NAB with the guy from Sony that was talking about the “huge demand from customers for 4K.” I said, "No, there isn't. Try to buy something else if you go to Best Buy. That's all you can get. That's not demand. That's industry push, but the content’s lagging."

I know the Masters are going to take one golf hole and they're going to broadcast it in 4K. That keeps happening but it's going to take time for the infrastructure to catch up. We expand our internet infrastructure every year, Akamai does, everybody does, but it's not going to suddenly solve this problem in just a year. It's going to be a slow thing.

You know, on the other hand, 4K TVs have software in there that kind of makes the picture look really good. Some people think they're watching 4K and they're not, just because the software does a pretty good job of cleaning things up.

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