4K: The Resolution Revolution
By now most people have at least heard of 4K, even if it was just the fact that The Hobbit was shot in 4K. This new resolution is roughly 4x greater than our current standard, or HD. Coming in at 3840 × 2160, why is this change so important? Isn’t 1920 x 1080 good enough at this point? There is so much more to 4K than just a simple resolution change and this change has the potential to bring about massive shifts in the entertainment world in ways most people cannot even imagine. Let’s break it down.
Must. Have. New iPhone.
Technology is at an all time high point in terms of turnover rates. Every year most of our technology is completely outdated and replaced with something new. People flock in droves to have the latest tech and have the shiniest thingamajigit. There are a couple things that are the basis of our technology though and stay around for awhile. Certain programs, processors, and chips become the standard on which all of the other new technology is built. 4K is both something that will define the next set of technological advancements and be the next shiniest toy for the ravenous consumers to purchase. It is currently a very high end luxury item without much practical purpose, but that is changing fast. 4K televisions alone are less than half the price they used to be and soon they will be affordable for the regular consumer. People eat up new tech, just look at the massive lines for the latest phone. They can’t get enough of having the next big thing. It is an endless cycle they are doomed to repeat until they die, but they don’t care, it makes them happy for a few days. Because of this hunger for technology, consumers are prepped and ready to jump at the next greatest thing. Introducing 4K! It’s bigger, faster, brighter and generally more awesome than HDTVs. The only thing holding it back is a practical application. Enter Sony and it’s master plan of entertainment domination from 2015-2020.
Sony’s Master Plan of Entertainment Domination From 2015-2020
The year 2015 is actually a rather generous number and if it happened in 2014, it really wouldn’t surprise me at all. Here’s the deal: Sony has it’s fingers in everyone’s pies when it comes to 4K and they basically have almost no competition right now. Sony is the first mover in a various number of industries when it comes to 4K. The scale of the areas Sony can take charge in the entertainment industry of is completely mesmerizing. They have a movie production company, television show production company, video game company, television company, and surround sound company just to name a few and they are all going 4K (well, except the sound…that would be interesting though). What happens when a single company leads the charge into a new format in every single one of these fields? Complete domination. Let’s break it down.
Ye Old Moving Pictures
4K movies are already a thing and Sony is testing the waters with some big name movies with it. Currently it is a bit of a hassle though since it is expensive and not every movie theater has 4K projectors yet and no one really owns a 4K TV yet, so the marketability is not yet justifying the cost. That’s where Black Magic comes in. No, not conjuring demons to resurrect loved ones or do your chores for you (I am fairly certain that Mickey Mouse is a Satanist for conjuring demon mops), the video camera. The 4K Black Magic camera will be out without the next 6 months and it’s kind of a big deal. Meet the RED killer: it’s tiny, light, shoots in 4K, and is one of the cheapest cameras on the market. It also can use all of the same lenses current filmmakers already have. The Black Magic is going to be THE camera to have and every indie filmmaker is going to have one. Now, Hollywood doesn’t want their products to have less quality than you’re average Joe with two grande so they will inevitably be forced to make the switch full force. This is going to be a rather massive hit for the movie theater companies and so production studios are going to have to put down some serious coin to invest in new projection equipment and when Hollywood invests in something, it never lets go. Ever. When this revolution happens, what company has already been producing 4K movies and already has all the gear and crews with experience? Sony of course! For a short amount of time there will be a massive spike in sales of Sony movies while the rest of the studios catch up and what will they do with that money? Invest it in their television studios of course! TV shows will start being offered in 4K as well as obviously HD. Remember when the big crossover from SD to HD happened a few years ago? Same thing basically. With TV shows being offered in 4K, that will lead to…drum roll please…a use for 4K TVs!
Currently Sony is basically the only kid on the block with some serious investment in the 4K. A few other rival companies are dabbling here and there, but Sony has the best looking and cheapest models around for miles and they are sitting in warehouses, just waiting for the time is right for them to be bought. In the meantime, there is this adorable little console war going on between Microsoft and Sony. There’s some massive debate over which is the better console (which I have covered extensively in previous posts). Irregardless of which console has better games or sells more the first year, Sony has already won the war. They have something that Microsoft and Nintendo are currently lacking: A shining reputation. At E3, Sony reps came on stage and basically we crowned them prom king of the gaming world. Microsoft suffered from a massive PR nightmare when they tried to force gamers to do things they didn’t want to, following it up by giving their customers the finger. Nintendo didn’t even appear at E3 at all and has been basically refusing to compete in the console war at all. How is this relevant to 4K? Well, like their televisions, Sony’s gaming console is the cheapest out of it’s competition (sorry Nintendo, you really aren’t competition this go around). The Playstation 4 does not currently work with 4K, but interviews with the Sony crew has shown that it is something they are open to implementing at a later date…say, maybe 2015. The Xbox One has no clue what 4K even is really and will never support it most likely. Microsoft simply doesn’t have the background to pull the photo finish the Sony is looking to pull. With it’s fingers in everybody’s 4K pie, Sony will switch to 4K, leaving the Xbox One still on HD. With everyone upgrading their televisions to 4K, HD will begin to look like complete garbage and people will stop buying Xbox Ones and turn to the company that has “always” loved and understood gamers (well, at least starting about 6 months ago): Sony. Microsoft basically tied their own noose when they had the nerd rage of the hardcore gamers turned against them and turned Sony into the shining city on a hill. In reality Sony had its own massive PR nightmares with the PS3, but that is long, long forgotten by now. Gamers are kind of like gerbils, they have short memories, freak out when people touch them, and think running in place is real exercise…I’m looking at you Wii Fit.
It’s the Little Things
When a massive change is brewing, little things begin to happen that foreshadow its coming. The most notable little thing that has happened recently was the release of HDMI 2.0, officially making it possible to connect 4K televisions and 4K media devices. Also recently both Youtube and Vimeo began officially supporting 4K formats on their sites. Before that happened, Sony announced a 4K media box that features many popular movies by Sony Pictures, all in 4K. Oddly enough, something as small as the HDMI 2.0 was something holding back the tide of the 4K revolution, but no longer. There are rumors flying around like mad that Sony is going to be releasing an online TV service, which could be HUGE and essentially make cable boxes dinosaurs. The next challenge that is going to be faced is the fact that there is no way that 4K videos will be able to be streamed on our current internet system. Oh, what’s that? A new player has been partnering with internet companies to improve internet on a global scale? It can’t be Sony, that would be…oh wait, it’s Sony. Originally meant to create higher functionality for the Playstation Network in various European countries, Sony has begun to delve into the internet business which means that if they had the motivation to, they could begin building a framework for 4K streaming. Is your mind blown yet?