Ready or not, 4K is coming ... and you need a roadmap

Daniel Frankel, FierceCableAs anyone involved in the launch of HD a decade ago can tell you, getting a new resolution standard into the consumer mainstream isn't easy.

Consumers have to be sold on expensive new display devices. New production technology has to be adopted. New satellites have to be launched. New methods of encoding and transcoding have to be employed. Actors and various on-air talent have to get new face lifts. The list goes on.

And once again, we are embarking on an epic resolution upgrade quest, with the industry in the early stages of adopting 4K/Ultra HD. As consumed as we are with mega-mergers and OTT disruption, we all have to wrap our heads around 4K, because it's really happening.

According to a new Strategy Analytics study, awareness about 4K among U.S. consumers was up to 57 percent in November from only 39 percent in January, with the vast majority of survey respondents reporting positive early impressions of the technology.

DisplaySearch says shipments of 4K TV sets spiked 300 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. DirecTV just launched a new satellite to support its just-launched 4K service, and at least one other major pay-TV operator has plans to introduce 4K program options by the end of 2014.

Content is coming along, too, with Amazon joining Netflix in offering SVOD customers a limited amount of 4K programming. Video sharing service Vimeo, meanwhile, just commenced 4K downloads.

But in the most technologically disrupted period in television history, will the adoption of 4K go as smoothly as it did for HD? What needs to happen for 4K to become a truly ubiquitous technology standard?

These are the essential questions we'll be asking at an exclusive FierceCable executive breakfast, The Roadmap to 4K/Ultra HD Readiness: How to Plan For Tomorrow's Resolution Standard, on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas.

From consumer electronics to pay-TV to mobile devices, we'll sit down with leading experts and try to come up with some answers. Sitting alongside me will be Sean McCarthy, fellow of technical staff at Arris; Raj Talluri, senior VP product management at Qualcomm; Ty Ahmad-Taylor, head of smart TV services at Samsung Electronics, and Mark Francisco, fellow, premises technologies at Comcast Cable.

You can register now at this link. We look forward to seeing you there.