MIPCOM 2013: no huge price premium for 4K production

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 10-10-2013

Urging the adoption of Ultra HD broadcasts, Sony took advantage of MIPCOM to open a dedicated 4KTV Pavilion to showcase a series of screenings from various partners such as Blue Box Entertainment, Sky Deutschland, Saint-Thomas Productions, and Starz Worldwide.

Aiming to future proof its productions, Bertrand Loyer, president of French company St-Thomas claims that shooting in Ultra HD is “simple and even cheaper sometimes than [to] shoot in HD.” He evaluates the current additional cost of creating 4KTV content as no more than 10% than that of HD.
Yet deputy director of Arte’s factual department, Catherine Alvaresse, revealed that though 4KTV trials were being made with producers, the channel has no specific plans regarding UltraHD services. “One thing we can do is to help producers we work with to find international funding from markets like Japan and Korea where there is a demand for 4KTV,” she added.
The general thrust by the industry was that work is still needed to solve technical capabilities to boost adoption across the broadcast chain. Noted Maryline Clare-Charrier from Orange Labs and project manager on the HEVC initiative: “4KTV’s future is not only about pixels, it is also about encoding frame rates and colour.”
To really benefit from the UltraHD images broadcast on a very big screen in the Sony pavilion, viewers were urged to sit one meter from the screen. Either you hardly saw the difference between HD and UHD. This suggests there is still work to be done to make 4K take off.