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BBC not interested in 4K TV broadcasts, says Panasonic

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.

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