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BBC not interested in 4K TV broadcasts, says Panasonic

Andrew Williams



Broadcasters are not interested in investing in 4K broadcasts at present, including the BBC, according to 4K TV maker Panasonic.

UPDATE: Panasonic has given us a little more detail on its view of 4K. It says that "the future looks bright for 4K." The standard just needs a little time.

The company says, "It is early days for 4K TV and it could be quite some time in the future before 4K is broadcast over the air. However, people will be able to enjoy 4K in many ways at home thanks to the Internet, games console or potentially via satellite as the technology exists and could be implemented very quickly."

Talking to TrustedReviews, Panasonic’s Senior Manager for TV Fabrice Estornel commented that in meetings held with broadcasters, none were keen on investing in the 4K standard. “I don’t know a single one that’s telling us to go for it”, he said, and talking about the BBC, “you can’t even talk to them about 4K.”

Estornel explained that after piling such a huge investment into HD broadcast, these companies are not keen to spend more on what is regarded as a “stop-gap” solution that will be usurped in a small number of years by 8K. Sharp showed off an 8K concept television back in CES 2012, over a year ago, so these concerns are not ungrounded. Both 4K and 8K standards fall under the same UHDTV banner.

Finding content to watch on a 4K television or projector is one of a number of problems with the nascent format. Early-generation 4K TVs will be exceedingly expensive compared with 1080p alternatives. The first set for mass production is the LG 84LM960V, which costs £22,499. It’s a huge 84-inch set, but Sharp currently offers 80-inch 1080p models for under £4000.


Panasonic’s answer to the problem is that OLED is the future of TVs, and that by the time this sort of TV is available at an accessible price, 4K will be a manufacturing norm. As Estornel says, “if you go OLED, you may as well go 4K.”

Panasonic showed-off a 4K OLED television at CES 2013. It’s a UK-friendly 56-inches in size (most UK living rooms simply aren’t large enough to comfortably house an 80-inch television), but currently has no price or release date. It is a way off.

OLED solves the basic picture problems of both Plasma and LCD televisions. Plasma TVs can look relatively dim in bright conditions and LCD TVs’ black levels and contrast are less than perfect. Panasonic’s OLED TVs offer vivid brightness and flawless black levels.

Do you think 4K is the next TV fad, like 3D, or is it the future? Let us know your view in the comments.


January 25, 2013, 11:50 am

The BBC are so backward they havnt fully embraced 1080 yet, so this is no surprise ..


January 25, 2013, 1:27 pm

The problem is the public wil get fed up forking out huge prices for every piece of new technology every few years from TVs to phones. 4K will probably be the future far down the road, maybe another 10 years away but the general public are still getting settled with 1080p as the prices for these TVs have fallen to what the majority of households can manage I would think (seeing as you can get some of them at sub £300 prices). Also, there may not be much demand for a TV larger than 42" for most homes, never mind 80" and above. I think TV sizes beyond 46" are for enthusiasts only.
I think the next fad if not standard for TV is paper thin, lightweights that can hang off picture hooks. I know folks that still think putting TVs on a wall is too much but I think if it was cheaper and effortless to do so than through buying and using some mounts folks would do it and enjoy it.


January 25, 2013, 2:09 pm

Not having had the pleasure of viewing a 4k OLED Television as yet and having read the rave reviews, it is hard to imagine how much more clarity 8k can deliver. Do we reach the point where the additional information that is being transmitted for the most part is lost because we as viewers are unable to discern or appreciate the incremental improvement? .. or is 8k for holographic projection when that finally gets off the ground?


January 25, 2013, 3:26 pm

Having seen many different ranges of 4K (or UHD as some manufacturers prefer to call them) TVs at CES the improvement from 1080p was astounding. Even the upscaling from 1080p to 4K provided impressive image enhancement. However, the real worth came from large TVs, 55-inch and above. As TheHulksMothersCousin says the benefits for the majority of people who will be looking at 42" screen size are unlikely to be as impressive. At 65" the PPI at 1080p is 34 PPI but at 4K is double that at 68 PPI and the difference is telling. A 42" TV has 52 PPI at 1080p, much closer to the 4K figure for 65".


January 25, 2013, 3:46 pm

It's not only that but freeview can barely cope with HD broadcasts so they'd be reliant on Sky for broadcasting 4k content who currently use 1080i due to bandwidth issues.


January 25, 2013, 3:55 pm

During economically better times the BBC was funded as a public service broadcaster and a highly advanced engineering company that has led TV and Radio development throughout the world. These days are long over and with all the competition (Sky, Internet etc) it's hard to imagine they will ever return and it's absolutely certain that the BBC is not currently funded to take a lead in something like 4k. You'd better petition the Government if you think they should be :-)


January 25, 2013, 10:16 pm

I understand but as I said I dont think anytimne soon most homes will be interested in a TV over 46". Until a few years ago I knew people that still had 22" tvs and below as main TVs in their homes. I dont know what is the average size of TV a UK user goes for now but I reckon its no more than 42" and it will be for a long while to come.

(EDIT) http://recombu.com/digital/new...

1080p gives a good ppi for 42" like you said so I think 4k TVs will need to become near as cheap to make most people feel the need to convert. Not soon I think.

Jack Westrop

January 27, 2013, 8:07 pm

I would imagine it will see mass adoption in around 10-15 years, most people are still happy watching SD content on their HD TV's. Lack of bandwidth prevents most channels even broadcasting in 1080p, moreover, OLED or its competitors have yet to overcome pricing issues before they even hit the mass market, nevermind take over. 4K/8K will probably never reach mobile devices as current retina grade resolutions make further dramatic increases in pixel densities pointless

Graham Taylor

January 28, 2013, 5:14 pm

If I may be so bold, I predict paper thin flexible 8K screens connected by bluetooth ,or the like, to what amounts to a sound bar. The "sound bar" will carry all the relevant connections to aerial, blueray, internet, etc. The screen will be powered by microwave power transmission so no leads at all going to the screen. The only limiting factor is that the "sound bar" has to be positioned directly under the screen. I believe someone is all ready working on short range power transmission. I would think this will be widely available in less than 10 years, much like blueray now.


February 11, 2013, 10:46 am

Blu-ray has failed to penetrate & replace DVD. 4K will probably be the same as blu-ray and only be adopted by the enthusiast. 1080p picture quality is good and will satisfy most people The average TV size in the living room is now 42 inch more suitable for 1080p than 4k.


June 29, 2013, 10:28 pm

WRONG! Most people are watching HD on their flat screens now.

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