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Today’s Show:

Prediction Review for 2014

Had we just waited about 11 months on our predictions for 2014, we could have done much, much better. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say. Our crystal ball didn’t improve very much for 2014, so this year’s prediction review is about as rough as years past.  But we got pretty close on a few.

Ara’s Predictions:

Netflix will have at least 50 4K titles for streaming – Its not really going out on a limb predicting that Netflix will have 4K titles. They’ve said as much. Its the number that I think is the real prediction. If you have a high speed connection and a 4K TV you will have some content display. Look for Youtube to have 4K content as well.

Result: There appears to be somewhere around 21-22 Ultra HD titles at Netflix. A couple of which are test streams. If you count individual episodes of shows like House of Cards, Breaking Bad and The Blacklist, you’re way over 50. But since the intent was actual titles I can’t even take partial credit.

OLED TV market share will remain insignificant – We have seen OLED TVs that have blown us away but when compared side by side with plasma or even the Elite LCDs they are not worth the huge price differential. Sure they can be extremely thin but is a ½ in too thick? Who cares if an OLED is half that size. Its a catch 22, until quantities go up price won’t go down. And since the quality differential isn’t worth the price I see no reason for quantities to go up.

Result: Nailed it. Anyone you know own an OLED TV? They sold 1,000 OLED TVs in Korea last month.

Cable and Satellite providers will offer cloud based DVR services – Imagine a world where you can have unlimited storage for your DVR recording. We see cloud storage all over the place so why not with your DVR. With better compression and a downspeed of about 4 Mbps you could watch most of your programs with little quality difference. Translate, anything the wife and kids want to record goes to the cloud. All of your programming goes to the hard drive at full quality!

Result: Comcast has a cloud DVR that let’s you watch your content anywhere on many devices but the hard drive is at your home. So close but no cigar. Tivo actually has a product that is exactly what I was talking about but its only available to cable operators, but I couldn’t find a company that has deployed it. So close but no cigar again. Then there are On Demand services, that integrate titles with the program guide so you can watch many shows anytime you want.  Again, close but no cigar. Bottom line, no true cloud based DVR, but I am still going to take half credit because between the three scenarios just mentioned get me exactly the device I was talking about.

Aereo to win in the Supreme Court – This case has been going on for a while. The broadcasters would love to see Aereo shut down. I think this is the year that Aereo expands to new cities without the burden of lawsuits hanging around their necks.

Result: Swing and a miss. Struck out on this one. In fact, not only was Aereo run out of business, the Broadcasters are now trying to keep them from selling off their assets in liquidation. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Illegal downloads to exceed traditional broadcast viewership for top three pirated  shows - Game of Thrones is already illegally downloaded more than its watched on television. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are still viewed more on TV than downloaded illegally.

Result: Still wating on torrentfreak.com to publish its numbers for 2014. Will have to update later. But here are the numbers for last year:

Most downloaded TV-shows on BitTorrent, 2013

rank show est. downloads est. US TV viewers
1 Game of Thrones 5,900,000 5,500,000
2 Breaking Bad 4,200,000 10,280,000
3 The Walking Dead 3,600,000 16,110,000
4 The Big Bang Theory 3,400,000 20,440,000
5 Dexter 3,100,000 2,800,000
6 How I Met Your Mother 3,000,000 9,400,000
7 Suits 2,600,000 3,520,000
8 Homeland 2,400,000 2,380,000
9 Vikings 2,300,000 6,000,000
10 Arrow 2,200,000 3,240,000

Braden’s Predictions:

The year of 4K – Manufacturers will push 4K as the new upgrade cycle for 2014. We’ll see many, many more models and prices will come down quickly. Driven down primarily by Chinese manufacturers. 3D didn’t do it; OLED is still too far off. Queue the endless debates and hand wringing over 1080p vs 4K, just like the 720p vs 1080p of yesteryear. I may have just described a few of our shows for 2014…

Result: Partial credit. 4k prices have fallen significantly, there are many more models to choose from, but penetration is still very minimal.  Strong showing for 4k, but not really the year of 4k yet.

Netflix will win at least one Content Award – Netflix is pushing into the original content space with a vengeance, trying to become the next online HBO. The industry will take them seriously this year and you’ll even see a Netflix show or Actor/Actress win an award. It may not be an Emmy, but maybe a People’s Choice or something else, but we’ll see Netflix get a trophy.

Results (updated Jan 16, 2014): People’s Choice Awards (Jan. 8) Favorite streaming series: Orange Is the New Black (Netflix); Golden Globes (Jan. 12) Best actress in a TV series, drama: Robin Wright, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

9 Channel Surround goes Mainstream – Most home theater receivers on the market are 7.1. The low cost, entry models are 5.1, some of the higher end units support 9.1. In 2014 we’ll see 9.1 receivers replace 7.1 as the standard and only the low cost, entry models will remain 7.1. The 5.1 receiver will be a relic. Dolby and DTS will both have native, discrete 9.1 support but it’ll take a while for it to show up in any content.

Result: Close. Atmos made it into the home, and Atmos supports up to 34 speakers. They don’t call them channels anymore, but it’s a similar concept. There are more than a few 9.1 receivers to choose from as well. We’ll take a strong almost on this one.

Intel and Wal-mart Shock the World – If there are any companies big enough to pull off a major disruptive change in the home theater business, its Walmart and Intel. They’re already working together with Vudu and UltraViolet, so 2014 will see them take the next step to do something really unique. It could be first run TV shows available for streaming the same time they air, or an all-you-can-eat, a la carte TV subscription, or the ability to watch first run movies at home via…

Result: Complete whiff. Air ball. Zero.

Virtual Movie Going Experience – The major studios will work in partnership with local movie theaters, to allow you to buy tickets but watch the movie in the comfort of your own home. The theater will sell the tickets, hopefully at a discount, so they share in the revenue, and everybody wins.  This sets the stage to remove the theater as the middle man altogether.

Result: Keep dreaming. Not a reality anywhere.

Download Episode #667

Posted by The HT Guys, December 25, 2014 2:36 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.