Samsung has announced a stronger partnership with 20th Century Fox that should help address the biggest obstacle to ultra-high-definition TVs becoming mainstream -- the lack of ultra-high-definition films, TV shows and other content currently available.
The two corporations plan to create an ecosystem for delivering a vast amount of varied content optimized for Samsung's existing and potential UHD TV owners and to work together to see how the technology can be used to create new types of programming and viewer experiences.
Most importantly, it also aims to examine the best ways in which the content will be delivered to consumer.
"Our strategic partnership with 20th Century Fox is a great example of how the industry is working towards bringing UHD content to end-consumers in the most efficient way while accelerating our ability to provide a full UHD ecosystem," said Kyungshik Lee, Senior Vice President of the Service Strategy Team of Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics.
Ultra-high-definition televisions offer four times the resolution of high-definition sets, which means a sharpness, clarity and depth of image that sets new standards. However, UHD content is much larger in terms of data than HD and so finding practical ways of broadcasting programming in the format is still a challenge. Netflix is betting on broadband internet, believing that streaming is the answer, while in Japan and South Korea satellite broadcasting is currently being tested.
"Our partnership with Samsung creates a unique opportunity to introduce Ultra HD movies to audiences around the world," said Mike Dunn, President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "We are laser-focused on developing solutions that bring innovations like Ultra HD from the CES show floor to the living room for people to own and enjoy."
But that's the future; for the moment at least, companies such as Samsung and Sony are focusing on either offering UHD content bundled with TV sets at the point of sale, and on streaming boxes to which content can be pushed over the internet.
As well as 20th century Fox, Samsung also announced at the International CES in January that it was working with Paramount in order to secure UHD content for its customers and that US company Comcast (owner of the NBC network) would be launching an app for Samsung Smart TV sets that would allow owners to access HUD content via internet streaming.
The latest figures regarding UHD TV demand, published on March 18 from NPD DisplaySearch, suggest that 1.6 million UHD TVs were shipped over the course of 2013 and that demand was strongest in China. The country accounts for 84% of all shipments.
After China, the next biggest market is North America, which accounted for just 5% of shipments, followed by Western Europe (4%) and Japan (3%). The Asia Pacific region is in fifth place (2%) with Latin America accounting for 1% of shipments.