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Virgin Media: No hurry for 4K hints Liberty Global boss

The chances of Virgin Media customers watching 4K Ultra HD anytime soon took a tumble following remarks made by the firm’s owners. 

Liberty Global president and chief executive Mike Fries said that Ultra HD was “not an immediate concern” for viewers, especially as it comes hot on the heels of HD. 

Speaking at the Cable Congress in Amsterdam, Fries said the step from HD to 4K was not the same as the leap from standard definition to high definition, and any changes would have to be driven by consumer demands and availability of films and TV shows. 

Virgin Media: No hurry for 4K hints Liberty Global boss
The leap to 4K may not be enough for consumers

“For me, it’s a chicken and egg issue, it’s not an immediate concern of ours. But we’re prepared. Our networks are the most robust in the marketplace. So if 4K becomes something that consumers have to have, we’ll certainly be able to do it. We’ll be in a wait-and-see mode,” Fries told Digital TV Europe

“We’ve got the spectrum if we need it – as do most cable operators – but I think it’s too soon to tell. People are just now getting used to their big screens. They’ve just spent hundreds, thousands of dollars on these big screens.” 

Fries added that in his opinion viewers are not ready to change so soon after upgrading to large HD screens and going through the switch from analogue to digital. 

Fries showered Brussels regulators with praise for recognising cable industry efforts, which he said account for 75 per cent of fast internet connections in Europe and Scandinavia. 

Liberty Global last year purchased Virgin Media in the UK, which has just begun upgrading its network to a top speed of 152Mbps, and has demonstrated Gigabit-plus connections.

Streaming 4K Ultra HD video, which has four times as much detail as today’s Full HD TV, would require connections delivering at least 16Mbps reliably, on top of your other internet traffic.

Image: MulticamHD

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