BAMTech CTO Joe Inzerillo Favors 1080p/HDR Over 4K in Today’s Media World

‘Between better pixels and more pixels, in our minds, better pixels wins’

The debate between 4K UHD and 1080p with HDR (high dynamic range) has become one of the hottest topics in live sports-video production in the past few months. For his needs, consider BAMTech CTO Joe Inzerillo firmly in the camp of HDR.

BAMTech CTO Joe Inzerillo (right) spoke at the Streaming Media East show in New York City last week.

“4K is not all that impactful from a customer standpoint, to me, relative to HDR,” he said during a keynote conversation at last week’s Streaming Media East show in New York City. “If you take a 1080p HDR feed and you put it up against a 4K, non-HDR feed, 99% of people are going to say that the HDR looks better.”

It’s logical for someone in Inzerillo’s position to feel this way about video quality: a lot of the content distributed by BAMTech clients is largely not going to be consumed with the size of screen and distance from screen required for 4K to have a real impact on the viewer.

“When you start thinking about things like the fact that a lot of people are still watching on laptops or iPads or other types of connected devices on a much smaller screen, 4K doesn’t really buy you anything,” he said. “HDR does immediately. Even on those displays, HDR is going to give you better blacks, better color depth, things like that. Between better pixels and more pixels, in our minds, better pixels wins.”

Inzerillo touched on numerous other topics, including the challenges of running an over-the-top (OTT) service, a task he finds to be far more challenging than a TV Everywhere (TVE) offering. In his opinion, TVE platforms are largely seen as an added bonus for a cable subscriber, and an OTT service is a deliberate purchase of a specific video service, be it for the content or the experience it offers. That leaves much less room for error.

“Just the way that you go about thinking about these things, when you have cable with a TVE service and you have issues, it’s possible that you’re going to call and cancel your cable, but it’s probably not super likely,” he said. “Whereas, if you’re OTT and that service you are selling is what people are buying, if you have issues or the user interface isn’t good, then it leads to churn immediately.”

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