4 Business Reasons 4K Is Here to Stay

Posted by Chris Stephens on 02/27/2014

The conversations about 4K Ultra HD video and whether or not the technology has staying power usually relate to home theater.

Will studios produce 4K content? Will consumers invest in 4K technology? Will manufacturers bring down prices of 4K displays?

They’re good questions, but they only just broach the reasons 4K is far more than a fad. The appeal of and demand for 4K Ultra HD video solutions extend far beyond the consumer market. In fact, it’s the B2B applications for 4K that will legitimize the technology. Let’s analyze four real-world ways in which 4K Ultra HD will be deployed by businesses:

Digital Signage – The digital signage market is worth close to $14 billion, according to research firm IHS, but debate still lingers on how big of a role 4K Ultra HD will play in increasingly omnipresent digital signs. That debate should have largely been put to rest at Digital Signage Expo 2014 in Las Vegas where manufacturers emphasized 4K features in their latest products. When it comes to new video quality formats, there tends to be resistance at the onset. Remember how many people were sluggish about converting to high-definition? In the end, the higher quality video always wins, and such will be the case for 4K in digital signage. 

Control Rooms – Folks who invest in equipment for command and control rooms won’t be waiting for the prices of 4K to come down. Saving money is less important than mission-critical program objectives that, in the case of military, law enforcement, government and even utility companies, often involve saving or protecting people’s lives. While each control room’s objective is unique, they’re generally focused on situational awareness -- quickly recognizing an occurrence as displayed on a screen, accessing it and reacting to it. The quality of the video affects how quickly operators are able to recognize and react. So demand for 4K Ultra HD video solutions in command and control rooms will only increase.

Manufacturing – Image quality is highly valued by manufacturers’ research and development facilities. As product developers become increasingly reliant on digital images while they design and render products, they’ll invest in the highest and most pure pixel resolution. Industries like clothing and automobile manufacturing have always been quick to adopt the latest video formats, so 4K Ultra HD will be widely deployed in the manufacturing sector.

Medical – In the medical world, both in practice and in education, the highest possible video resolution is a must. In medical research, for instance, a slight improvement in visibility can make the difference between recognizing and missing an anomaly or pattern within something extremely detailed like the human brain. Medical is perhaps the most important application of high-resolution video. The medical market, specifically catheterization and electrophysiology labs, were early adopters of 4K Ultra HD video technology.

Too often 4K Ultra HD is compared to 3D during the “hype versus reality” debate. That, however, is like comparing apples to oranges. 3D has its place – and, indeed, manufacturing and medical applications are also enhanced by 3D capabilities -- but in many ways its appeal is more subjective than that of 4K.

4K Ultra HD offers a concrete video quality upgrade.  The more appropriate comparison, therefore, is to the way high definition TV in perceived in the 1990s when many consumers and businesses wondered if the upgrade was significant. We all know how that debate ended.

4K is here to stay … until something better comes along.