4K is just a stepping stone on the way to higher resolutions
In April, the conclusion that most people drew from NAB was that 4K is a real thing, and is the next step after HD. After this week's IBC, we've moved on from that, to the probability that even higher resolutions will be part of our lives as well.
For example: 8K is now well and truly on the horizon.
Demonstrations of this 16 x HD technology get more impressive with each passing trade show. The pictures have always been stunning - you virtually have to have your eyeball in contact with the screen to see any pixels - but the methods used to bring you the pictures are getting better all the time. The cameras are smaller and more practical, and compression techniques are becoming more efficient. This week we saw 8K courtesy of HEVC (h.265) for the first time.
4K is the default
Meanwhile, with 4K as the default resolution for new movie cameras, some devices are delivering even more than that. RED's Dragon-equipped Epics are capable of 6K, and, surprisingly, workflows that can handle this material already exist.
You don't need to fundamentally rewrite anything just to be able to process more pixels - but of course things will slow down. You absolutely do have to change things if you want to process 6K video in real-time.
One of the most impressive demonstrations we've seen this week was RED 6K raw video being debayered and played in real-time. RED announced a collaboration with NVIDIA that has produced a CUDA-accelerated version of REDCINE-X, and using this, we saw RED raw 6K files playing smoothly at 24p. Apparently the software works across multiple GPUs so even more real-time capability is possible.
Insanely high resolutions demand massive processing power, but from what we've seen this week, that's not going to be a problem at all.