Originally Posted by Ron Jones
I agreed that we cannot have high expectations for a 4K video streaming service, since it will almost certainly be overly compressed. However, a 4K download service is certainly possible as long as you have a reasonably high speed internet service without overly restrictive monthly data limits. I appears that using the latest 4K codecs, it should be possible to get the typical 4K movie (i.e., at 24 Hz) compressed down to under 50 GB with high quality video (or perhaps well under 50 GB with the best codecs and depending on the nature of the video material). For example, Red Digital Cinema with their Redray player and using their propritary 4K codec claims to be able to achieve very high quality results at an average data rate of just 20 Mbps which would require under 20 GB of storage for a typical movie encoded in 4K.
Sure, you can probably get a compressed 4k movie to fit in 20 GB with acceptable quality. And I'd say probably more like 30 GB is a more realistic target for anything with much action and a "next generation codec", and current h264 is going to need more like 40 GB minimum for a very compressed 4k movie.
But most streaming services offer file sizes WELL below an acceptable limit. iTunes, Netflix, Vudu etc. all offer excessively compressed streams IMO. To them, bandwidth is a cost that takes away from their bottom line. And honestly, it's hard to tell how poor the quality is on the usual ~46" LCD or so, so they get away with it. They usually offer around 4.5 Mbps for 1080P, and their 3 Mbps 720P streams frequently look better because of the higher bitrate/pixel ratio when it comes to anything with any sort of motion.
So again, 4k streaming is entirely feasible with our current technology, but the reality of the situation is that upon implementation it will probably look subjectively close to the current over compressed 1080P streams due to the lowering of the bitrate/pixel ratio in all likelyhood.