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Ultra HD 4K satellite TV channel launches in Europe

by Mark Tyson on 15 January 2013, 10:39

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE), Samsung (005935.KS), LG Display

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Ultra HD (4K) boasts an appealing set of specifications and may be as big a step forward for consumers as the step from fat old CRTs to sleek HD LCD TVs. We’ve had quite a few stories about the new format on HEXUS and at the recent CES there were a number of showings of 4K TVs and screens.

Ultra HD TVs are quite a rarity right now; a lot of the screens we have seen are “unveilings” of future products and technology. Engadget notes that only three Ultra HD TVs are available to buyers at this time. Matching the scarcity of the Ultra HD TVs, we have the problem of content available at 4K.

Eutelsat Communications have launched a dedicated demonstration Ultra HD channel for Europe on the EUTELSAT 10A satellite. Transmissions of content filmed in 4K are now live for your enjoyment. The company boasts that “Delivering a resolution of eight million pixels, four times the resolution of HDTV, Ultra HD (4K) is poised to mark the next big leap forward in the immersive viewing experience.”

In technical terms the new channel has the following spec:

  • Progressive mode 50 frames per second
  • 8 million pixels; as you would expect – four times the resolution of HDTV
  • MPEG-4 encoded at 40 Mbit/s in four Quad HD streams
  • Codec provided by ATEME
  • Frequency: 11304 MHz
  • Polarization: Horizontal
  • Symbol rate: 27500
  • DVB-S2
  • 8PSK
  • FEC 2/3
  • Pilot ON

The 40 Mbit/s figure is double the bandwidth used by current HD broadcasts. However as codecs are refined and developed it’s quite possible that Ultra HD broadcasts could use less bandwidth than 1080i does now.

We heard in November that Sony is planning to bundle a “content delivery system” with its XBR-84X900 84in 4K TV to solve the content conundrum. This system, it has since been revealed, is a “hard-disc server” Sony will loan you containing the following movies: The Amazing Spiderman, Total Recall (2012), The Karate Kid (2010), Salt, Battle Los Angeles, The Other Guys, Bad Teacher, That's My Boy, Taxi Driver, The Bridge on the River Kwai. This offer is exclusively for US customers.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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At the moment, I'd rather they got 1080p broadcasting sorted, rather than the 1080i we currently get…
We'd have to get bigger DVR's
Still - gotta admit, 2160p50 at only twice the bitrate of 1080i50/1080p25 is pretty impressive.
That's 8 times as much picture for only twice the bandwidth.
Still - gotta admit, 2160p50 at only twice the bitrate of 1080i50/1080p25 is pretty impressive.
That's 8 times as much picture for only twice the bandwidth.
Progressive video can often be encoded more efficiently than interlaced, I believe (mocomp and such). Also, one has to wonder how a good 1080 feed upscaled to 4K will look compared to “the real deal”. Well made DVDs often look very good alongside not-so-good Blu-Rays.
Isn't it about time we standardised globally on 60p?

Oh, and UK HD broadcasts on freeview run at 8-10Mb, so this is 4x times that…