Mobile devices with 4K screens expected to reach 478m units by 2019. Manufacturers rely on HEVC to lead the change. but services and content will trail adoption. | While 2K screens currently occupy
the premium end of the smartphone market, 2015 is expected to witness the launch of 4K or Ultra HD devices, said a recent study released by ABI Research. This resolution race, however, will be more about marketing and differentiation than user experience given current content availability.
“While mobile device components, such as processor, memory and in some cases batteries, are gearing up to handle 4K, network and infrastructure elements remain challenging. Key video services like several under the UltraViolet umbrella, for instance, still largely distribute content to mobile devices in SD. Content protection and data utilization concerns are part of the issue, but consumers also have not demanded higher resolution video in adequate numbers for services to respond,” said Michael Inouye, senior analyst, ABI Research.
User-generated content (UGC) and productivity, however, could offer consumers additional ways to benefit from high resolution screens; the popularity of GoPro broadcasting, for example, shows the demand for high resolution UGC. Mobile device manufacturers are also considering LTE Broadcast as an outlet for next generation video broadcasting. These rely on HEVC, but are initially unlikely to push broadcast resolution.
Practice director Sam Rosen added, “OTT video services will carefully weigh the costs of 4K delivery, the impact on viewing on mobile devices, and the brand halo high resolution services can bring. New connections like wired MHL 3.0 and wireless 802.11ad can help position mobile devices as a hub for streaming high quality video and gaming to TVs.”