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Quality Assurance at CES

25 Jan, 2016 By: Stephanie Prange

This year’s CES event highlighted two facets of the home entertainment business: the exploding streaming video service of Netflix (which is more about instant access that top-quality picture and sound) and the premium-quality of 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR).

In a press conference prior to the show, the Ultra HD Alliance made the case for premium viewing on 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Meanwhile, in the opening day keynote, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made the case for the wide distribution footprint of Netflix, announcing international expansion with a flourish, while chief content officer Ted Sarandos mingled with stars such as Chelsea Handler on the stage to tout Netflix’s growing library of original content.

Our industry has often stressed the quality of picture and sound in the home theater as its key advantage, and the UHD Alliance is once again defining quality for home entertainment viewing with its new Ultra HD Premium logo and specs, announced at the show. Blu-ray as the delivery mechanism in the Ultra HD Premium home theater system really “lights that bad boy up,” as Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, so colorfully put it. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment president Ron Sanders said the picture was so good that it looked almost 3D.

Meanwhile, Netflix executives at CES touted their unmatched international reach and burgeoning quirky and unusual content targeted at niche audiences. With its data insight, Netflix can create content for the myriad tastes of an international audience, unhampered by the quest for mass market ratings, executives argued.

In reaching for quality in home entertainment, I think both facets of the business are benefitting consumers. While 4K Ultra HD with HDR is widening the highlight, color and contrast gamut on home theater systems — offering a top-notch picture — Netflix is increasing the variety of content for niche and international audiences. It’s a great time to be a consumer of home entertainment, as the industry expands in picture and content quality.

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