updated 01:02 pm EST, Mon January 14, 2013
Satellite demonstration channel broadcasts 4K resolution content
The first channel dedicated to broadcasting Ultra HD content has launched in Europe. Operated by Eutelsat Communications, the channel started broadcasting demonstration footage on January 8th, with the aim of helping television manufacturers, satellite services, pay-TV operators and production companies in broadcasting their own content in the format.
Operating at the 4K resolution of 3840x2160 at 50 frames per second progressively, the channel stream is encoded in MPEG-4 and transmitted at 40Mbps in four quad-HD streams. The compression, supplied by ATEME, allows for the stream to be four times the resolution of HD broadcasts yet only use double the bandwidth. A more efficient codec, such as HEVC, could lower the bandwidth required further, allowing for more channels to be broadcast, or for other features such as multi-language support.
The channel's launch gives some idea on how content providers will have to work with the new standard. So far, online video processing company eyeIO, supplier of encoding services to Netflix, has added support for 4K video into its software, though services using it will need their customers to have sufficient Internet connections to stream without buffering. Sony, on the other hand, supplies its customers with a home server, complete with Hollywood movies and short videos from Red Bull Media House.