A global survey of media executives suggests that 4K Ultra High Definition Television is heading for broad adoption.

The survey, conducted on behalf of satellite operator Intelsat, found that 63% of executives polled thought UHDTV consumption would be mainstream within five to seven years. 42% have made the decision to launch a 4K UHDTV service and have a specific timeframe for its rollout.

However, there is disagreement over which segments are likely to adopt 4K first.

Digital cinema (38%), over the top (OTT) and direct-to home (DTH) are the most widely mentioned segments for 4K UHDTV to gain momentum and those views differ sharply between technical and non-technical participants. In addition, 60% point to video on demand as the business model expected to first gain momentum, almost double the 34% stating that linear channels will be the first to do so.

“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, vice president, media product Management, Intelsat. “As with high definition television, socio-economic, 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.”

Media professionals surveyed believe that the pace of 4K UHDTV adoption will vary by region. For example, 47% believe 4K UHDTV will first take hold in Asia-Pacific; 34% expect North America to be the early adopter and only 16% believed Western Europe would be the first to roll out the new technology.

Roughly a third of those surveyed stated that a critical mass of content (38%), sufficient household penetration (35%) and available 4K UHDTV-enabled set-top boxes (31%) are important factors in accelerating the roll-out of 4K UHDTV. Movies (53%) and sports (42%) are the most widely identified types of 4K UHDTV content expected to gain momentum first.