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Volume 22 No. 11
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Can 4K live up to hype where other tech didn’t?

Around a decade ago, 3D television was the next big thing — so much so that ESPN launched a dedicated 3D channel in 2010.

Around five years later, it was virtual reality that was about to break through. When the San Francisco area hosted the Super Bowl in 2016, it seemed like every media company in Silicon Valley had some sort of VR demonstration it wanted to show.

This year’s technology? Here comes 4K television, the latest generation of high-definition TV.

Insight TV CEO Rian Bester has heard skepticism around 4K television, but he’s a true believer. That shouldn’t be surprising given that Insight TV produces all of its programming in 4K and is looking to grow further into the U.S. market.

Bester cited two main reasons why 4K television has more of a chance to succeed than 3D or VR.

■ It already has gained traction in Asia and Europe. “If you look at the numbers of sets being sold, it’s catching up very quickly in the United States now, too,” he said. “All of the major operators are now, in some way or another, doing 4K. … It’s almost impossible now to buy an HD screen if you’re going to Best Buy or the other big stores.”

■ 4K TV does not have the same technical barrier as 3D or VR. “The hassle of the glasses and the viewing angles with 3D and virtual reality — all of that was not contributing to the overall experience. 4K actually enhances the experience because you’re creating a more lifelike image. Stats show people are buying bigger and bigger screens. When you combine bigger screens with more lifelike images, all of these things make the image and the movement seem more real.”