During the 2010 World Cup, 3D TV was the state of the art. FIFA teamed up with Sony to use the new technology. Of course, the 3D World Cup suffered from all the limitations of standard 3D TV. The glasses were cumbersome, and most viewers didn’t have 3D displays.
This time around, FIFA and Sony are betting on 4K instead. Some of the World Cup matches will be filmed in 4K. Bandwidth constrains 4K broadcast, though, so few people will be able to watch the matches in this high quality format. The 4K versions of matches will be broadcast within Brazil, but not in the US. Even in Brazil, viewership will be limited, since set-top boxes for 4K viewing aren’t available in stores.
FIFA was wrong about the 3D trend, but we think they’re dead-on with their use of 4K. Consumers increasingly expect 4K. With HEVC encoding, bandwidth limitations will be significantly reduced. Set-top devices should be available soon, and just like HD we expect 4K broadcast and streaming to be the norm in the future.