We have recently seen streaming service Hitbox.tv introduce 4k streaming into their platform. For those unfamiliar: 4k resolution is 3840 x 2160 – a big step above HD resolution which is typically 1920×1080 or 1280×720.
This is a huge improvement over the quality Twitch streamers typically see, where it’s difficult and largely frowned upon to stream at 1080p 60 FPS because of bitrate restrictions (restrictions made by streaming platforms that limit how much data you can upload to the servers to prevent eating up a ton of resources). While the community and content on Twitch is undoubtedly larger and more prevalent, these are the kind of improvements a streaming site can make over the typical formula to perhaps open some people’s eyes to what they are doing.
It would be much harder for a site the size of Twitch or Youtube to begin pushing out 4k resolutions due to the user base size of both broadcasters and audience. In the past we have seen smaller companies innovate and grow, while bigger companies settle and stagnate in many other fields. However this is also part of the beauty of competition: streaming on Twitch and streaming in general has largely been an activity done at 720p and 30 or 60 FPS, but with Hitbox innovating and improving their content to be streamable at 4k resolution we can maybe start looking forward to Twitch and other platforms making this level of quality possible.
Competition is the mother of innovation, and hopefully this competition is one that we can all benefit from. With 4k capable equipment becoming more readily available and cheaper, I would expect to see a shift towards this super high definition sooner rather than later. I’ll be ready when it happens.