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4K Over-The-Top Content On Track For Steep Growth

Juniper Research has found that 4K OTT (over-the-top) content services are poised for steep growth in the coming years.

Juniper’s research shows that 4K OTT services will attract more than 189 million unique users globally by 2021, up from 2.3 million this year, which it states will be “driven by greater content availability and compatible devices”.

According to Juniper, this means that in the US one in 10 residents will be watching 4K online compared with just one in 500 this year.

Connected TV is set to be the dominant channel, while viewership will occur across a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs.

While some 4K video is already offered by YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, Juniper found that “network providers have been waiting for a critical mass of content to become available before launching their own 4K offer”.

However, this year has seen new 4K offerings rolled out, including the Sky Q 4K service in the UK, coupled with new hardware launches, with device compatibility in the past having proven a significant barrier.

“The popularity of online video has seen the use of set-top boxes from vendors such as Roku and Amazon soar,” research author Lauren Foye commented.

“However, delivery mechanisms for content have seen slower adoption, as the availability of 4K-capable streaming devices is limited. New device launches, such as the 4K-capable Xbox One S this month, among others, are likely to spur a boost in 4K usage.”

Meanwhile, looking further ahead, 8K content still has a long way to go before becoming mainstream.

“In a similar form to 4K, Juniper sees 8K smart TVs emerging first, followed by streaming devices and set-top boxes, making this a drawn-out process,” Juniper states.

“With Japan seeking to broadcast the 2020 Olympics in 8K, the industry is likely to use this as an opportunity to drive sales of 8K smart TVs.

“Juniper forecasts that 8K smart TV shipments will grow more than threefold between 2020 and 2021, to reach over 400,000 per annum by the end of the forecast period.”

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