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Major TV manufacturers look to Netflix to overcome 4K content deficiency problem


For the biggest, most recognisable tech brands, the focus of their press conferences at CES has been their 4K and Ultra HD televisions. We knew beforehand that this would be the case, but what we were really curious about was how the manufacturers were going to go about solving the content deficiency problem. Ultra HD and 4K hardware has been around for a little while now, and although it’s increasingly impressive and aesthetically very pretty, there’s still a serious lack of native content that can take advantage of it.

One man, though, seems to have the answer all these companies have been searching for.

As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took to the stage for the second time on CES press conference day and announced that all original Netflix series would from now on be filmed in 4K, it became clear that the major manufacturers are wise to the fact that they can’t win this one alone. It will take more than flashy curved screens or thoughtfully designed Smart TV interfaces to persuade people to invest in 4K — they need to make sure they’re able to supply the content people want to see the most. To achieve that right now, they need to throw their lot in with Netflix. It’s particularly important in light of the fact that Roku — a platform originally set up to provide a delivery mechanism for Netflix — has just announced it will begin making its own television sets this year.

Following Samsung and LG, Sony became the third household name to reveal its 4K partnership with the streaming service alongside its 2014 television lineup yesterday. Hastings had already appeared at LG’s press conference earlier in the day, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him again, but also just shows that he is in demand and no one company has managed to monopolise his time.

Sony also has its own library of 4K films that can be downloaded, but it seems it may be Samsung that will be leading the way in terms of native content provision. As well as Netflix, the company also has a partnership with Amazon that will give those with Samsung TVs access to content from a range of partner providers including Warner Bros, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Discovery.

Aside from the focus on 4K streaming, Sony’s announcements included three 4K TV ranges and several HD ranges too. Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba have also announced 4K and UHD TVs at CES, but their offerings have been rather overshadowed, not only by Samsung, LG and Sony, but also Vizio.


Best known for its budget TVs, Vizio claims it has invented <a href="http://redirect.viglink.com/?key=11fe087258b6fc0532a5ccfc924805c0&u=http%3A%2F%2Freviews.cnet.com%2Fflat-panel-tvs%2Fvizio-rs120%2F4505-6482_7-35833922.html%3Fautoplay%3Dtrue%22%3E"the best TV in the world” — the 4K Reference Series, which on paper looks mighty impressive. Just to rub salt in the wound, it’s become the fourth and final TV manufacturer at CES to announce a streaming partnership with — you guessed it — Netflix.