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China launches plans to develop UHD video industry

  • πηγή:China Plus
  • ημερομηνία έκδοσης:2019-03-03 09:02:15
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Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

A four-year action plan to develop China's 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) video industry has been launched by China Media Group, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the State Radio and Television Administration. Over the next four years, audiences in China can expect a feast for the eyes as a huge number of businesses bloom in the four-trillion-yuan UHD video industry, in sectors covering chips, panels, networking, and digital services.

The world's first 4K UHD television channel was launched in South Korea more than four years ago. Projects to develop a local UHD video industry have been launched in the United States, Europe, and Japan and 4K televisions sold like hot cakes in Japan, Germany, and the United States last year. In Japan, the government plans to make 4K television programs available across the country by 2025. And in the United States, telecom operators such as AT&T and Comcast are working with producers of 4K video programs to help ensure they can meet the demands of their customers.

As suppliers compete to attract consumers, the price of 4K streaming media has begun to drop. The highest price for a 4K film from Google or Apple is now 19.99 U.S. dollars, which is a price point acceptable to a wide audience. With 80 percent of consumers said to be willing to pay for the user experience of high-quality video, there are predictions that 4K video will account for as much as 85 percent of future web traffic.

Huawei's rotating chairman Xu Zhijun predicted last year that the number of 4K users in China will surpass 200 million by 2020 – more than the number of users expected in the North American and European markets combined. This will make China the world's biggest market for 4K UHD products. And the rollout of this technology is already underway: China Media Group launched its CCTV 4K UHD channel on October 1 last year.

To get UHD content from the producers to the consumers, a revolution will be required in the field of networking. China, Japan, the United States, and South Korea have each set the goal of commercializing 5G technologies by 2019 or 2020. This has forced the industry to step up its game, and competition has already begun in the media sector.

A scene from the China Media Group Spring Festival Gala that incorporated 4K ultra-high-definition video transmitted using a 5G network on February 4, 2019.[Photo: VCG]

A scene from the China Media Group Spring Festival Gala that incorporated 4K ultra-high-definition video transmitted using a 5G network on February 4, 2019.[Photo: VCG]

China Media Group used a 5G network to transmit 4K UHD video that was part of the live broadcast of the Spring Festival Gala in early February. And on Thursday, UHD video feeds from around China were beamed into the China Media Group media lab in Beijing via a 5G network, where they were then sent to one of Huawei's new 5G folding mobile phones and displayed on a 4K screen. This demonstration showed that the world's largest media organization is well on the way to using these technologies to deliver content to China's vast audience.

According to the four-year government action plan to develop China's UHD video industry, China will make breakthroughs in key technologies related to broadcasting and entertainment, such as UHD imaging, three-dimensional sound capture, the manufacture of 4K display panels, and high-precision optical lenses. There will also be a concerted effort to develop 4K-related technology outside of these sectors, including products such as high-definition industrial cameras and medical imaging equipment. By 2022, UHD video technology is expected to be in use in fields as diverse as broadcasting, education, health care, transportation, and manufacturing.

As the future home to the world's largest UHD products market, China's domestic industry will need to strengthen its capacity for independent research and development if it is to remain a leader in the field. The focus provided by the four-year action plan, and the close coordination between government and all levels of industry, will help to ensure that China remains at the cutting edge of these new technologies.