CES 2014: 4K video and optical storage

At CES this week 4k video is everywhere, not unlike 3-D video two years ago. But 4K is different: supply creates its own demand. The implications for storage are enormous.

4k screens for $1000? 4k prosumer camcorders for less than $2000? Major video editing suites transitioned to 4k? Storage fast enough and large enough to edit uncompressed 4k streams?

Yes, yes, yes and yes. Unlike 3-D, 4k video offers real-world benefits for producers and consumers. For producers, 4k future proofs their productions at a low incremental cost.

For consumers, 4K video is a visible step up from HD - if you have a large screen. With low-cost 4K screens from China leading the way, it won't be long before more consumers future proof their media rooms with 4k screens and 4K projectors.

The next step is getting 4k content in the home home. Given the pathetic nature of America's Internet infrastructure, this may be an opportunity for Hollywood to get consumers buying 4k Blu-ray discs.

Many pictures shot on film have already been scanned at 4k and could cheaply be remastered onto Blu-ray. The key is consumers are price sensitive, so Hollywood can't be greedy.

OK, never mind!

The Storage Bits take
People go to theaters for an experience they can't get at home - although a big screen and surround sound can come close. If people can't get quality 4k content over the network, they'll be tempted to buy 4k content on optical media.

In the meantime, 4k upscaling can do for Blu-ray what HD upscaling did for DVDs: make it more than acceptable at 4k resolutions. I saw a demo of upscaled Blu-ray and it looked darn good.

I don't know if Hollywood learned anything from the Blu-ray debacle , but if they did they will keep prices for remastered 4k content low - 15% max over HD - and thank their lucky stars that fans will buy the same content again.

In the meantime the engineers are already working on 8k video. We may start seeing 8k content by 2020 if 4k is successful.


Comments welcome, as always. Why is higher resolution an easier sell than 3-D? Or is it?