Resolution isn’t the only reason to adopt a 4K Ultra High Definition TV. Costs are coming down and the TVs offer plenty of other technological tweaks.
Now that we have 1080p smartphones, its likely that screen sizes will get even bigger because of the high pixel densities. Samsung may continue leading that charge with a 5.8- and 6.3-inch smartphone says SamMobile’s sources.
Netfix (s NFLX) plans to start streaming some of its VOD content in 1080p later this year, doesn’t plan to support 1080p streaming in 2010, according to a CNET report, which was updated after the company reportedly said its own road map had incorrectly identified 1080p streaming as a goal for this year. Timing, catalog size and other details of the plan aren’t public yet, and a company spokesperson told us that he couldn’t comment on any specifics. Two weeks ago, though, the company told us that it is currently streaming about 1000 titles in 720p. That’s a small percentage of the total amount of content available for streaming.
The eventual migration to 1080p isn’t too surprising. YouTube (s GOOG) launched support for 1080p streaming at our NewTeeVee Live conference last fall, and Microsoft (s MSFT) rolled out 1080p streaming for its Xbox Live service late last year as well. In fact, the Xbox could be one of the first devices to bring Netflix in 1080p to the TV set in the living room. Microsoft’s game console has been supporting Netflix streaming for more than a year now.
However, the move puts pressure on Roku, whose set-top boxes used to be one of the only ways to access Netflix streaming without the help of a PC. None of the Roku boxes currently available for sale support 1080p. Adding the capability to play back full-scale HD content could significantly raise the price point of the company’s devices, which currently sell for $80 to $130, depending on the configuration of the device. Chip sets capable of playing back 1080p could push the price of a Roku box closer to $200, but Roku recently announced that it plans to actually lower the price of its hardware to make it more attractive to consumers. We have reached out for Roku to comment, but haven’t heard back yet.
Related content from GigaOm Pro: Not Your Grandfather’s Streaming Video Business (subscription required)
Intel’s latest Atom platform for netbooks doesn’t always play nicely with 1080p video. You could add hardware, but Jolicloud has a software solution. Their newest netbook operating system supports 1080p quite nicely and here’s the video proof!
At NewTeeVee Live this afternoon, YouTube announced plans to improve the quality of video streams available on its site, upgrading the maximum
upload encoding streaming quality from 720p to 1080p.
The site will roll out 1080p video over the next few days, said Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube. In addition, the company is in the process of re-encoding all previous 1080p-capable videos, and is about halfway done that process, Walk said.
The move comes as the Google-owned (s goog) site is attempting to ramp up monetization of videos from premium content partners. But the uploads are not limited to premium content providers; all users will be able to upload videos in the highest-quality format, Walk said.
The number of high-definition videos that are being uploaded to YouTube has increased dramatically since the company enabled 720p videos. A year ago, about 1 percent of videos were uploaded in HD; that has grown to about 10 percent in recent months, Walk said.
Walk wouldn’t comment on how many viewers currently watch content in HD, but said that the company has been an aggressive promoter of HD video, optimizing for viewer preferences and defaulting to high-quality video when it finds that users have chosen HD over SD streams.
Walk also wouldn’t comment on the effect that the move to 1080p video uploads would have on the company’s cost structure, both in terms of storage and bandwidth. “There’s a lot of speculation about our infrastructure. We make these decisions in an intelligent matter, and we’re able to scale quite gracefully,” he said.
Corrected: 1080p is the new maximum streaming quality.
I love my little Flip video camera, but I’m beginning to think I should switch to a still camera that has video capabilities. Before I decide, however, I’d love to hear what NewTeeVee-ers think.
According to a recent survey (PDF) by PriceGrabber.com, 44 percent of online users own a camcorder. But 1 in 3 camcorder owners do not use one as their primary video recording device, according to the report; 25 percent use their digital cameras to record video, and 5 percent use a mobile phone. Even camcorder owners don’t want to carry multiple devices around.
Historically, I’ve been a fan of owning devices that did one thing well. The phone is used for calls, the camera takes pictures, the media player does music and the video camera does video. But as technology continues to improve, the quality distinction between mono- and multipurpose devices continues to erode.