CHICAGO--Comcast has expanded its 4K service with a new set-top box that brings the conglomerate's growing 4K lineup to the X1 platform.
By 2019, a mere four years from now, subscription revenue from OTT providers like Amazon and Netflix will reach $31.6 billion, four times as much as it did in 2014, when revenues worldwide for SVOD providers totaled $8 billion.
Driven by the technology's proliferation across devices beyond just televisions, such as smartphones, tablets and personal computers, the global market for 4K/Ultra HD will nearly double in revenue this year to $18.8 billion, according to IHS.
Despite nascent consumer demand for 4K/Ultra HD, Netflix has been the most aggressive supplier on the programming end, driving up the already high cost of producing original series like House of Cards by shooting them in 6K, for example.
Looking for ways to spark consumer interest in 4K/Ultra HD, the consumer electronics and pay-TV industries seem to have an ally in YouTube, which has debuted its latest experimental videos: Not only are they in 4K, but they run at 60 frames per second.
As operators in the U.S. prepare to hoist the next big video resolution standard, 4K/Ultra HD, new data from ABI Research suggests that less than half of global pay-TV customers have good ol'-fashioned high-definition displays in their homes.
DirecTV stands firmly behind the deployment of 4K/UltraHD services and plans to have 50-70 4K channels available to subscribers by 2020, according to SVP Philip Goswitz.
It remains very uncertain that the programming production and distribution pipeline will have the goods by then, but Strategy Analytics says that nearly half of U.S. living rooms will have 4K/Ultra HD TV sets by 2020.
Broadcom is using the occasion of the CableLabs Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla., to roll out a new 4K set-top chip for set-tops, new diagnostic analyzers for cable operators, and a 5G Wi-Fi combo chip.
If online video's future--particularly when it comes to 4K streaming--depends upon the capacity and speed of the nation's networks, then companies like Google play a critical role. Google Fiber's ongoing challenge to other Internet service providers is to bring 1 Gbps services to consumers at a reasonable price.