Budget 4K: The Next ‘New Thing’

Government Video by Wayne Cole

In January 2012, JVC announced a sub- $5,000 hand-held camcorder—the GY-HMQ10—with native 4K-resolution, which is a little more than twice the resolution of 1080 high definition. If the GY-HMQ10 becomes popular with indie film and television producers, Sony, Panasonic and Canon might focus on budget 4K as well.

4K TV is something that the Japanese (most notably NHK) have been dabbling with and publicly demonstrating for several years. While consumers may have been warming up to it as the successor to HDTV, production costs have impeded content production. So who would purchase a 4K TV when there is no content being produced?

All of a sudden, 3D television popped up as the “fad du jour,” and it received a lot of enthusiasm from equipment suppliers and high-end movie production since it seemed like the next easiest way to relieve the “ho-hum” that HD TV and HD movies in the home had become. Much like when color was introduced during the era of black and white broadcasts, 3D put the biggest burden for equipment upgrades on the consumer, whereas producers, broadcasters and distributors could spend proportionately less to tweak existing infrastructure to shoehorn 3D into the existing bandwidth in a way that was backward-compatible with existing HD infrastructure.

It appears the initial excitement for 3D television exhibited by developers, producers and vendors spread to the managers of movie theaters, but not consumers. JVC’s announcement may signal a push to 4K TV unimpeded by the waning novelty enthusiasm for 3D.

JVC’s radically different experiences with Digital-S and ProHD seems to have shown the company that it is easier to work from the bottom up to foster new formats into common acceptance — that is, by introducing it in a consumer package first so that the mid- to high-end production community will take notice. In addition, the HMQ10 is the first shot in a new low-budget production format war. I expect that once it generates moderate enthusiasm in the reality TV, low-budget movie production segment, other manufacturers of production gear likely will undertake production of similar products to get a share of the market. read more...

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