Qualcomm sees mobile devices driving 4K content market

Qualcomm sees mobile devices driving 4K content market

09 JUL 2014

The increasing performance of mobile devices will be a major catalyst in the market for ultra HD (4K) content, Enrico Salvatori, SVP and president of Qualcomm Europe, said at an event in London this morning.

And the role of the mobile device will not just be in content consumption: with the increasing performance of integrated cameras above 8MP (the minimum necessary for 4K content capture), smartphones will also play an important role in the creation of 4K video.

“More and more the two elements will be available. Improving the camera on one side, improving the display on the other,” the executive said.

According to a survey of consumer electronics retailers in Germany and the UK, more than three quarters believe that 4K home televisions are likely to become a bigger part of manufacturers’ ranges this year.

In addition, 40 per cent believe that 4K content captured on the mobile device will be a major contributor to content availability, for example enabling users to share high-quality family videos by streaming to a home TV.

“At the end of the day, the device will provide the content,” Salvatori said.

Aiding this will be the fact that relatively short smartphone replacement cycles (around three years, compared with five for PCs and eight-to-ten for televisions) mean that 4K mobile devices will grow in penetration more quickly than other types of product.

For its part, Qualcomm is already offering 4K processing as a feature of its Snapdragon 805 product line, alongside LTE-A support.

This chip is used in one commercially available smartphone – Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Broadband LTE-A.

The executive also said that 4K content will be a “major driver in leveraging category 6 (LTE-A) capacity.”

But one issue which was not addressed is how operators will price LTE services to make the delivery of high-quality video over the mobile network a viable proposition.

As operators in many markets have moved away from offering all-you-can eat data packages, ultra HD video will simply provide a way to consume data allowances more quickly.

But Salvatori also noted the importance of compression technologies such as HVEC, which “can allow us to deliver 4K content over the air”.

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Steve Costello

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