Intelsat Survey Sees Widespread 4K Uptake #IBC2014

With UltraHD set to be a major topic at this year’s IBC convention between Sept. 11 and 16, Intelsat has released results from a new survey that suggest a relatively rapid adoption of the technology.

More than three in five respondents (63%) said they expect 4K consumption to be mainstream within five to seven years.

The survey also found that many executives are already planning UHD upgrades, with 42% of those surveyed saying that they have already made the decision to launch a 4K service and that 23% planning to launch in less than four years.

The main driver for this interest revolved around the idea of using 4K as a way of differentiating their offerings and as a way to attract new subscribers and viewers.

Opinion was split, however, on 4K first movers. About 35% of non-technical executives expect DTH satellite service to be the first segment to launch UHD while 60% of technical executives believe that 4K will first take hold in VOD platforms.

For the survey, Intelsat interviewed nearly 80 technical and non-technical (primarily marketing) media executives from its global customer base, which includes many of the world’s largest media companies.

“While it is becoming more evident that the transition to 4K UHDTV is highly likely, the road to adoption will take many paths, given the business model evolution resulting from the multi-screen viewing environment,” stated Peter Ostapiuk, VP of media project management at Intelsat in a statement. “As with high definition television, socio-economics, demographics and technology infrastructure will determine the adoption timeline. This time, however, media companies are more focused on building the right business model that will enable them to deliver high-quality and reliable content delivery across multiple platforms and, at the same time, achieve a strong return on their investment.”

The survey found differences in regional adoption, with 47% believe 4K will first take hold in the Asia Pacific region, followed by 34% for North America. Only 16% believed Western Europe would be the first to roll out the new technology.

The study also looked at issues that might slow with the speed of adoption, with 67% citing higher transmission and content production costs; 62% noting the availability of more efficient transmission technologies; and 51% pointing to affordable television sets.

About 71% said their ability to get a return on their investment was their greatest concern.

Other important issues included the development of a critical mass of content (a subject cited by 38%), sufficient household penetration (35%) and the availability of UHD-enabled set top boxes (31%).

The most likely types of content to first be upgraded to 4K were movies (mentioned by 53%) and sports (42%).