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SES ULTRA HD CONFERENCE REVIEW


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The second Keynote Address of the day was presented by Sky UK’s Chief Engineer, Broadcast Strategy, Chris Johns.


He began by pointing out the uptake year-on-year of content growth, with platforms like Sky and Netfl ix producing more and more content. He also reported that Sky has recently made the commitment to double the amount of investment in commissioning 4K programmes. He referred to the running theme of Sky’s own programme, Riviera, being pin-pointed by several speakers throughout the Conference and used as a prime example of top-quality content that was fi lmed and broadcast in UHD. Mr Johns then recalled the success of HD, saying: “When


20 Let’s get this right before we move on


In a discussion about how retailers can keep up with developments across the television sector, Sean Hannam, Retail and Technology Journalist, quoted a statistic he had seen.


‘Over half of the population in the USA have a 4K television, yet half of those people are not actually watching 4K content.’ He referred to the fact that people do have 4K television sets at home, but he believes consumers still need educating on the upgrade process from simple HD.


“Yes, the margins on TVs are terrible at the moment, but I think we need to get the 4K TV market right before we start selling people 8K,” he said. “Or if we are doing this, let’s make sure we get the stats right and we get the message out there on the shop fl oor. It’s a massive job to educate the public on 8K. But there’s still a window for retailers and there’s still a great opportunity for them to make some money.” Stuart Savage, Director EU Innovation Digital TV R&D, LG Electronics, reported of similar issues where regulation in other quarters is starting to affect business


L-R: Richard Moreton (Business Development and Industrial Affairs, Samsung); Sean Hannam (Freelance Retail and Technology Journalist); Howard Saycell (Chief Executive, RETRA); Stuart Savage (Director EU Innovation R&D, LG Electronics); and Chris Forrester (Journalist and Industry Consultant, who was the Conference Chairman).


operations and the content that is offered nowadays. “More television manufacturers are moving into a service-oriented approach, blurring the lines between just selling them and becoming aggregators of content and providing services,” he said. “It’s not about making the best, shiniest, highest- performing technical device; it’s about building a whole business eco-chain that supports our business moving forward. We can’t survive similarly just selling devices as black boxes – we have to look more wider than that in order to move forward.” Retra’s CEO, Howard Saycell, moved the conversation on towards the possibility of a model going forward with a shared revenue stream with the broadcasters, the distributors, the manufacturers and the retailers… “It doesn’t feel like it’s very fair at the moment,” he stated. “There are clearly people making good money out of content, but there are whole swathes of the business that don’t make any money at all. I’m convinced that we give away wonderful technology, and you don’t see that happening in many other industries. “It’s all about supply and demand, but there’s too much supply and not enough demand,” he added. Mr Savage went on to explain that three things sell televisions – the price, size and picture quality. “The price and size you can see on the website, it’s only the quality you can’t, but there are so many reviews online nowadays that you don’t even need to go into the shop. You can rely on an expert to do that for you.” Continuing the discussion, Mr Hannam mused that dealers could try more inviting initiatives that incorporate audio technology, such as music nights in-store or fi lm nights with 4K content and top quality speakers. “Somehow the brands will need to work closer with


retail outfi ts to make sure the sales are going through,” he said.


we moved from SD to HD it was a jump in picture quality, and you could see a real difference. At the same time there was a screen evolution as we moved from the big TV boxes and went to fl at screens. It seems like a long time ago now but it was only 2006 when this started coming together. “Conversely, UHD was very quick off the mark and the CE industry started losing while this was being pushed initially.” He noted a rough timeline of developments from across


the years. Sky launched its multiple channels in 1989. In 1998, television went digital. Around eight years later, HD launched and then in 2016 UHD channels came in. There are roughly eight to 10 years between new developments coming through.


UHD was very quick off the mark.


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