4K TV – If NFLX Doesn’t Kickstart Ultra HD TV, Could Porn Do It?

by Brad Moon | December 5, 2013 8:38 am

4K TV – If NFLX Doesn’t Kickstart Ultra HD TV, Could Porn Do It?

Two industries hard hit by the growth of web-based streaming video could be on a 4K TV collision course that benefits both: Porn and manufacturers of Ultra HD TV sets. That may sound like an unlikely connection, but both are large industries that are struggling as consumers turn their backs on flat screen televisions and DVD players, increasingly choosing to watch streaming video offered by companies like Netflix (NFLX[1]) on a tablet, PC or smartphone.

4K TV  300x216 4K TV   If NFLX Doesn’t Kickstart Ultra HD TV, Could Porn Do It?TV manufacturers have been engaged in a decade-long price war that’s claimed victims like Pioneer and most recently, premium TV leader Panasonic (PCRFY[2]) –exiting the plasma market after this year rather than taking its chances trying to convince consumers to upgrade to a costly Ultra HD TV version of its sets.

After the failure of 3D[3] TV to revitalize the industry (count lack of compelling content, competing standards for glasses and reluctance to pay extra for 3D TVs among the issues there), television manufacturers turned to 4K TV (also known as Ultra HD TV) as the next must-have upgrade.

With four times the pixels of a 1080p HDTV, native Ultra HD TV content on these new sets looks razor sharp. The problem has been getting content — something it was hoped NFLX might help to resolve with its upcoming Netflix Ultra HD streaming service[4]. That might not be enough, though. NFLX should help with the delivery, but 4K TV needs compelling ultra high definition content to sell consumers.

Could porn be the answer?

A New, X-Rated Reason to Buy a 4K TV

A giant industry in its own right, by some counts porn accounts for 30% of all web traffic, and brought in as much as $97 billion globally in 2006[5]. The web has led to an explosion of readily available porn, but decimated physical video sales and rentals. Piracy and sharing of porn videos online combined with amateur video shot with cheap camcorders has seriously impacted the profitability of the business. As many as 80% of production companies[6] from that time have been driven out of business.

However, porn has often been upheld as an innovator, having been credited (rightly or wrongly) with helping drive adoption of VHS over Betamax then DVD and Blu-ray adoption, not to mention the pornography industry’s influence on the web. NFLX will be able to deliver mainstream content to homes, which it is hoped will goose adoption of 4K TV. But Ultra HD TV quality porn could also help to popularize the standard.

The theory goes that being able to watch porn on a 70-inch 4K TV is an experience that might actually persuade fans to pay for the service again. Amateur competitors are unlikely to have the expensive equipment needed to produce this content, which should reduce DIY competition. And because the very draw of ultra high definition porn means the effect is lost on a smartphone, tablet or even a regular high definition TV, it’s possible that the kind of X-rated content NFLX would never touch might convince someone to invest in that new 4K TV.

According to The Verge, Huccio.com (warning: site is very much NSFW) was first out the gates as a mainstream purveyor of 4K TV content[7], and others like Pink Visual are considering following suit.

Will porn be the factor that drives 4K TV adoption? And could 4K TV in turn reverse the porn industry’s fortunes?

As The Verge points out, the porn industry is already having a tough time selling high definition TV content over freely available, grainy, amateur footage. The idea that 8 million+ pixels instead of 2 million is enough to convince people to fork over money for porn might be flawed.

Either way, Ultra HD TV manufacturers are undoubtedly hopeful the movement succeeds and helps NFLX to push 4K TV into widespread adoption.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. 

Endnotes:
  1. NFLX: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=NFLX
  2. PCRFY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PCRFY
  3. failure of 3D: http://investorplace.com/2013/08/ddd-group-celebrates-streaming-success-for-already-dead-3d-tvs/#.Up98DpETuOE
  4. Netflix Ultra HD streaming service: http://investorplace.com/2013/11/nflx-will-netflix-ultra-hd-streaming-jumpstart-4k-tv/
  5. brought in as much as $97 billion globally in 2006: http://www.salon.com/2013/05/30/is_success_killing_the_porn_industry_partner/
  6. As many as 80% of production companies: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/porn-industry-in-decline_n_2460799.html
  7. first out the gates as a mainstream purveyor of 4K TV content: http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/25/5143376/sex-pixels-what-4k-means-for-porn

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