Originally Posted by tdrozdowski
I don't see this being like 3D at all. For 4k, I see streaming as being key to this as well as widespread adoption of a single format (i.e HVEC/h.265). Google isn't helping much by introducing their own format. So at best, you could compare this to Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD early on - but for streaming only. As far as 4k BluRay - we should have a single format soon. 4k broadcasts - well, I highly doubt that is coming anytime soon (at least in the US). Everyone just switched over to HD and surely isn't interested in going through that again. But no matter - I see broadcasts going away and streaming taking over in the next 5-10 years anyhow. Then it won't matter - you have HD tv, you use HD streams. Have 4k? Use 4k streams. 8k? etc... Which should be a good thing - provided infrastructure continues to improve.
In terms of everyone having their own service - this is no different than it is today. Yes, its quite annoying, but at least there are a few general services that get you 90% of the content you want. If you really want the specialized 10% content, then you can pay for that as well. Or don't - vote with your dollars. I'm less concerned with the big players have their own streaming services rather than the individual broadcasters requiring you to subscribe (for only $9.99/mth!) and still make you watch their commercials in the process...
You're right, there are lots of streaming/physical media options that exist side-by-side now, but the key thing with that is the physical format(s) had boots on the ground before
streaming became a viable option. With DVD there was no petty squabbling to distract from the take-up of the format*, which is why it was so phenomenally successful, perhaps too good, because those riches persuaded rival companies and studios to take up arms and duke it out over HD on disc. That format war was an unholy mess, and although Blu-ray has made some good gains it's never really smashed it, partly because of consumer confusion at the beginning and partly because of the proliferation of streaming services in recent years.
That's why I'm concerned that the uptake of 4K media will simply become a streaming free-for-all without the base of a unified physical format to guide it from the start. Even though the modern consumer is familiar with all of these streaming options, and may even be subscribed to several of them already, splintering the 4K distribution market so early on will be anathema to most normal folks. I know that much because I've been working in electrical retail for a long time; when it comes to new formats people want simple, not "you can get this from there, that from here, and this from over there", right from the off. I've seen 3D go from the next big thing to yesterday's news in the space of about 4 years, simply because there wasn't a unifying force tying it all together for a concerted assault on consumers. And with seemingly everyone already fighting for a piece of the 4K distribution pie and no sign of a physical format, I'm dreading how this will turn out.* Yes, there was DIVX but that was crushed very early on.Edited by Geoff D - 2/3/14 at 2:52pm