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IBC: Do We Really Need to Go Beyond HD?

The "great debate" session asked industry experts to argue for or against 4K -- and included an audience vote.

AMSTERDAM – When considering a move to 4K, think “before you trash your share prices,” warned U.K.-based journalist and media commentator Raymond Snoddy during a spirited debate held on Saturday at the International Broadcasters Convention.

During the session, industry vets (who were handed sides, not based on their individual company affiliation) were asked to argue for or against a move beyond HD toward 4K or higher. At the conclusion, the audience took a vote on the issue.

Snoddy warned the audience to pay attention to the audience and not to proceed down “the path of diminishing returns.”

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He also debunked the argument that market research shows that consumers want Ultra HD TV. “They want Ultra HD TV, but haven’t seen it. What does that tell you about the market research? ... Consumers want to change their TVs as often as their phones? Dream on.”

Also arguing against higher resolution was U.S.-based media consultant and engineer Mark Schubin. “Unquestionably, you can see the difference between HD and 4K. So what?” he asked. “It’s the difference between very good and very good.”

Arguing for a move to higher resolution, Ericsson’s Giles Wilson asserted: “Ultra HD is about a sense of presence, not resolution. It’s about moving from viewing it to experiencing it.”

Arris' Sean McCarthy urged the audience not to liken this decision to 3D. “You don’t have to have everything (i.e. the content, the set penetration) at one time,” he said. “An HD signal on an Ultra HD TV looks so much better [than on an HD set]. It’s a step-by-step process.”

In the end, the audience voted by a show of hands whether they felt the industry should go beyond HD. Both sides got votes, but in the end, most voted against it.

Do you agree with the outcome? Share your views on the subject in our comments section below.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA