Before Cimaglia Productions, I cut my teeth working in the newsroom at NBC.[1]  Compiling clips into segments, sending and receiving breaking news to and from halfway around the world; we took advantage of the latest and greatest in technology to bring the highest quality content to the viewing public as quickly as possible. In my daily operations now, I still manage to get my hands on the technology of tomorrow, but I no longer have to be a member of the press to do it. Thanks to improvements in broadband infrastructure and video compression, and market forces reducing the prices of electronics, the future of video–4k Ultra High Definition–is in the hands of new media content distributors and producers, from streaming services like Netflix to local content producers like Cimaglia Productions.[2]

4k video, at its essence, offers four times the resolution of current HD video.[3] This is four times the clarity, four times the detail, four times the optical honesty, and four times the opportunity for telling a story that connects with someone. In the era of home theaters, 4k is the best chance to get cinema-quality visuals without having to build a new wing in your house.

Networks and the old guard of the content production industry are currently unable to broadcast 4k quality television to consumers, although change is soon coming if Europe is any indication.[4] On the other hand, streaming services like Netflix, which filmed and streamed House of Cards in 4k, and Amazon Prime,[5] which plans to begin offering 4k soon, can offer 4k content to consumers. This is due in large part to faster internet connections able to offer the minimum 20mbps necessary to stream 4k video.[6] For context, however, only 11% of internet connections globally are able to handle 4k streaming video.[7] Even in America, the average internet speed was only 10 mbps as of last year, meaning that 4k streaming is still not available to most consumers.[8] As average internet speed increases every year, buoyed by advances like Google Fiber’s 1 gbps connections and the competition it spurs from telecom conglomerates, more and more people will have access to, and take advantage of,  4k content. And with more and more Americans, especially young ones, “cutting the cord” with cable every year, they will probably access this 4k content through an internet streaming service.[9]  These new media services are aware of the opportunity that these circumstances create, making moves like trying to launch weekly or otherwise regularly occurring content to compete with traditional broadcasts in an attempt to checkmate cable.[10] 

Even with broadband connections capable of handling 4k video, consumers are still unable to enjoy that content fully without hardware–televisions, computer monitors, tablet screens, mobile devices–built 4k compatible. And, in a classic Catch-22, most consumers won’t purchase 4k compatible hardware until there is a sufficient amount of content available in 4k, but content producers won’t make 4k content until there are enough people with 4k compatible hardware to watch the content in 4k! This cycle is unavoidable but, luckily, it is also temporary. Emerging technologies like game consoles, Beta, VHS, DVD, and HD video, all had to go through similar holding patterns, waiting until there was a sufficient saturation point before they took off. As it stands now, hardware producers are gearing up their focus on 4k displays and dropping technology like plasma televisions as outdated.[11] Accordingly, its safe to say we are closer to the end than we are to the beginning of this holding pattern.

While hardware manufacturers are offering more and better 4k compatible products, some people think that 4k will never be a mainstream product because people increasingly consume video content on mobile devices, like tablets or smart phones. In essence, they infer from this trend that consumers on mobile devices will not care about 4k because the smaller screens will make the improved resolution less impressive. However, the hardware manufacturers themselves are betting that consumers will care, because they are already prototyping 4k screens on phones[12] and tablets[13],  with many more options in the pipe. Just because the increased resolution is less jarring on a smaller screen than it is on a larger one, doesn’t mean that the improved picture is not a noticeable improvement on current 1080p. In a similar vein, it is impossible to deny that mobile video  consumption is a trend with some legs–people aren’t going to stop watching 30 Rock on their tablets before they go to bed any time soon. But, that doesn’t mean that consumers will always be watching video on the same devices and in the same ways that they are now. In fact, the growing popularity of Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and other devices that allow you to display content streamed through your phone on a television shows that mobile devices are not replacing televisions and other large displays. Instead, they are being integrated into our watching rituals, allowing consumers to keep track of their content through multiple displays and access it whenever and however they would like. Just like any consumer or any product, 4k video and the people that will soon be watching it are part of a larger technological movement that has revolutionized the quality, speed, and performance of video content over the past 50 years. 4k is the next in a long line of advancements that will improve how we consume video, and, with enough time, it will become the standard for how we watch on all of our devices.

I’ve been working in media for 15 years now. Like any veteran of any industry, I’ve seen change come and go. Some of it sticks around and changes the way we experience the world. Some of it fizzles out and leaves you wondering where to store your 3-D glasses. As a veteran though, I’ve had a finger on the pulse of this industry. With the technological and consumer changes that have happened–the rise of HD video, streaming video, and mobile consuming, just to name a few–I’ve felt that pulse change. And I have to say, I’ve never been so excited to discover the future of this industry as I am today, on the cusp of 4k.


[2] Maybe you could put a picture of your 4k cameras on instagram and then put it in the citation here.







[9] 44% growth in cord cutting in the last 3 years; 246% growth in online tv consumption from 2013 to 2014;



[12] Regarding phones with 4k screens, Sony VP of Mobile Development, Akihiro Hiraiwa, says, “Some Day! There was the idea that users wouldn’t be able to discern any increases in resolution once it got to a certain level, but that’s wrong. People can tell.” Kichiro Kurozumi, Creative Director and VP at Sony Mobile adds, “We now need the right size for phones, the right processors capable of running 4k. We’re looking for [these] solutions.”


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