With the news that Toshiba is laying off 3000 workers in order to concentrate on making 4k screens, it seems that the media industry is in a funny state. I reflected recently that is was easier for a young producer to make a 4k feature with a cellphone and get it online than it was for a broadcaster to do the same thing.
We now hear that one of the pioneers of flat screen production is betting the bank on 4k being the saviour of the consumer market. We can also see that some screen makers are creatinginteresting aspect ratio screens of 21:9 that promise to give you HD and internet or dual gaming on the same screen.
Is it really the case that more and more niches are being created with a smaller and smaller pool of people ready to invest in each new “leap” of technology. Or are we, today, in the same cycle of innovation that the film industry was in back in 1900 when the number of sprockets, composition of the film, shape of the aperture and other fundamentals were being decided. Certainly it seems that the cycle of cutting costs to illuminate more and more screen / delivery variants can continue for a few years to come. We all know, however that it can’t continue indefinitely. Sooner or later the cost of creating and delivering content needs to be paid for by some revenue model. 4k might well be the new “standard” format, but it might also be 3000 frame per second super-high frame rate or 21:9 super-wide screen or all of them.
The only certainty is that just about every piece of content that has ever been made will eventually be displayed on all of those devices. The media companies that can industrialise the process of media conversion & delivery whilst retaining the entertainment value of their media will be successful. Unfortunately waiting and choosing the right formats isn’t an option – you have to continue to create revenue to survive. The best bet today is to consider the media factory approach:
- Bring content into the factory with quality and trust
- Design trustworthy repeatable delivery processes
- Create QC metrics that measure how well the processes are performing (as well as testing the files)
I can’t predict which shape of TV will win the format wars. I can’t tell you which factory will produce the best TVs, but I can help you figure out the difference between the QC of a file and the QC of a process. Download our UQC white paper and see if you agree with me.