BT and Sky’s decision to retain an exclusive hold on their 4K content has “driven the market rather than hindered it,” according to one leading analyst.
Both broadcasters offer a range of sporting fixtures in 4K, with Sky also offering UHD movies to its Sky Cinema subscribers.
Neither firm supplies their 4K content to the other and, even though BT sells its channels direct to end users on the Sky platform rather than wholesaling them to its rival, it’s so far kept its BT Sport 4K channel exclusive to its own TV platform.
This lack of cross-platform availability means fans risk missing out on the chance to watch key events in the best possible picture quality, promoting complaints from many on various web forums.
Despite such grumbles, Tristan Veale from Futuresource says the two firms’ approach makes sense, noting that retailing its sports content direct “has propelled BT into a strong position in the UK pay-TV market.
He added: “It’s this exclusive content which has driven them to launch the 4K service back in 2015.
“If they shared content then BT wouldn’t have been able to monetise the investment of broadcasting in 4K so the incentive would be limited.”
Veale also told SEENIT: “Further, as BT moved into 4K so early they surprised Sky and potentially pushed Sky into launching their own 4K service earlier than previously planned.
“So I would argue that exclusive content has actually driven the market rather than hindered it and is likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.”
According to Veale, rather than concerns about content availability, the biggest barrier to 4K take-up is consumer uncertainty about “the interoperability of broadcasting the additional elements of UHD; High Dynamic Range, Enhanced Audio, Higher Frame rates and Wider Colour Gamut.”
“These are causing headaches for broadcasters, Consumer Electronics manufacturers and subsequently consumers who are confused by what capabilities their AV setup has and what services can supply content for them to enjoy the full capabilities.”