The technology industry has a habit of pushing and promoting fantastic new ‘products’ to the market, whether they want them or not, and evangelising their uses and benefits and how much of a ‘game changer’ they will be.

We had the HD (ready) revolution, then the actual HD revolution, 3D, Smart and now 4K. I think sometimes marketing people get their wording wrong and as a result miss the point. Smart TVs have been a great addition to the home, giving access to the web, streamed content and many other features that traditional flat panel TVs have not offered; it is a great product.

But 3D and 4k, with some already whispering about 8K, cannot be compared to the revolutionary Smart TV as, actually, they are simply improved features of an existing technology that requires the development of new types of content, compression and, with 3D, eye wear for a user to actually get benefit from it.

Without this content the feature is redundant.

Smart TVs were released when content was already there, it addressed a need, whilst the 4K and 3D features have tried to create a need before the content is available. People with HD TVs aren’t going to go out and buy a 4K TV tomorrow just because it can process better quality images, but if in 5 years they replace their current TV and 4K is a universal standard then that is what they will buy; feature not product.

Don’t get me wrong, 4k quality looks superb, it is a genuine step up in quality, but until H.265 compression is mainstream we will have problems; storage problems, creation problems and bandwidth problems. The broadcasters are playing with content now but the market is in no way ready for it.

Tripleplay very recently announced its compatibility with 4K technology, we can now deliver digital signage in 4K using the Shuttle DS81 Digital Signage player, but for us this is just another feature to our digital signage solution, TripleSign.

Some of our competition see 4K as a new solution, and for them it is as they have had to build new hardware, but for us, as a software developer using standards based hardware, it is future proofing our solution and adding another string to our bow; it is allowing us to offer something extra to our clients as and when they need it.

We know some industries have been waiting for this technology to mature, sports and retail for example, as there is need in large screen format environments, but the majority of the market is still more than happy to continue using HD or HD Ready screens and content.

Is 4K a feature or a product? I think I have made my feelings known, for us it is nothing more than a feature, but maybe our competition would differ in opinion.