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Summer of Sports Set to Kick-Start Ultra HDTV Uptake in the UK

Ultra HDTVs gaining ground thanks to new broadcasting specifications, more content

TV has been a big deal in the UK since the BBC officially started broadcasting in 1936. And as screens got bigger and thinner, and resolutions improved beyond measure, so UK consumers sought to have the latest TV tech in their living room.

While some technological “improvements” fell somewhat by the wayside (3-D TV, for example), high-definition TV (HDTV) didn’t. According to a May 2014 survey by YouGov for TV service provider YouView, HDTV ownership in the UK rose from 37% in 2013 to 51% in 2014.

But just as one technological upgrade gains widespread buy-in among the populace, so another appears on the horizon. HDTV is about to get even more HD. And many consumers, it seems, are likely to want to keep up with the Joneses. According to a January 2014 survey from Strategy Analytics, 55% of adults ages 15 to 74 across Europe said that they would be at least somewhat likely to purchase an Ultra HDTV in the next two years.

As ever with new technology, though, at the outset it is prohibitively expensive and the ecosystem around it (content, platform, and so forth) is often left wanting. Ultra HDTV is no different. But there are signs that this ecosystem is already developing.

A summer packed full of sports is helping. The BBC trialed Ultra HD coverage of the FIFA World Cup, and it’s set to continue this trial into the Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, a new Ultra HDTV specification was recently approved by the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) Project Steering Board. Manufacturers and service providers are also getting behind this drive. Samsung, in partnership with Netflix, plans to ship Ultra HDTVs in Europe with preloaded Ultra HD content and access to Ultra HD streaming from Netflix. Signs are that Ultra HDTVs are making their way to the masses.

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