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Choosing a 4K Camera for Live Events

When discussing the current state of UHD/4K, "current" is a fast-moving target in mid-2016. This article will introduce you to what you need to know to get into 4K for live production and online video, from codecs to cameras.

Where to Go From Here

With all the hype around UHD and 4K, some producers may think they’re being left behind if they’re not already jumping headfirst into UHD/4K production. The truth is that doing any sort of live broadcast in 4K or higher is still a big challenge. For the traditional over-the-air (OTA) broadcast, there’s ATSC 3.0, which will allow for 4K resolutions. Cable and satellite providers are providing some regular content in UHD. DIRECTV launched a dedicated 4K content channel in early 2016. As of June 2016, Comcast’s 4K-capable box is still a planned item, not a reality.

That leaves over-the-top (OTT) and online streaming as the most readily available options for most consumers wanting to experience 4K in the home. Providers such as Netflix and Amazon are already offering much of their content in UHD formats. Consumers who have 4K televisions will surely want to get some return on their big investment and will be seeking out that super-sized content. As prices drop and the rate of change for UHD/4K standards settles down, more consumers will upgrade their antiquated HD sets and get with the “programming.” Only one-third of U.S. households are projected to have 4K television sets by 2019, according to a December 2015 HIS study.

But if your business needs to make the jump to 4K live production now, then the cameras described here should get you headed in the right direction.

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