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4K ‘not an immediate concern’, says Liberty Global CEO

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

Ultra HD, also known as 4K, is “not an immediate concern” with consumers not yet ready to take the next technological leap following the recent shift to HD, according to Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries.

Speaking at Cable Congress in Amsterdam, Fries said that he did not think the step from HD to 4K was the same as the improvement from standard definition to HD, bringing only “marginal differences.”

He said that the step up to 4K would have to be consumer-driven and content-driven, but added that content providers are not yet reformatting to the technology and would not do so unless they see demand.

“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,” said Fries.

“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. They’re not ready to change just yet, in my opinion.”

Speaking on the same panel discussion, titled ‘the magic mix of cable, content and competition,’ Bert Habets, CEO RTL Nederland, agreed that 4K is “not really high on our agenda.”

“Obviously we are anxious to look into new developments. If we see there is a consumer trigger to make that switch we will follow, but we’re not actually pushing right now for this,” he said.