In Broadcast - March 2013 - 34


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 17 - MARCH 2013

N E W S

InFOCUS

Ultra-High Definition Finally Lifts Off
There’s a head of steam behind Ultra-HD as different parts of the production to transmission chain are
tested. But we’ve been here before with 3D TV, so can the industry create a body of content sufficient to
fulfill expectations as it promotes Ultra-HD as the next entertainment experience…

By Adrian Pennington
Contributing Editor

T

34

he launch by Eutelsat in January
of Europe’s first Ultra-HD
channel had the desired effect
of gaining the satellite operator
headlines but there is considerable
work to be achieved if this showcase
is to move to commercial reality.
It is one of a number of test
broadcasts of 4K services expected
this year. Eutelsat rival SES plans
to launch its own show channel
to give retailers the opportunity
to feed new 4K displays with 4K
content directly via satellite. The
enhanced viewing experience that
a 4K image offers has attracted pay
TV broadcasters to tests, including
Brazil’s Globo (in anticipation of its
host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup);
Sky Deutschland and BSkyB both
of which have trialed 4K recordings
of soccer matches.
Japanese TV set manufacturers,
like Panasonic and Sony, look to
have succeeded in bringing forward
the launch of a 4K service in Japan
to summer 2014, to capitalise on
consumer demand for the World Cup
to be translated into Ultra-HD flat
panel sales. It seems as if this will
be transmitted over the country’s
communications satellite system,
rather than a broadcast network
which will happen later.
Satellite broadcasters are believed
to be best placed to meet the
bandwidth demands of a 4K picture
which has the equivalent of eight
megapixels (3,840 x 2,160 image
system), four times that of 1080p

– once considered the next step in
broadcast quality – and 16 times
that of 1080i.
With present technology 4K would
take up an entire satellite transponder.
Given that operators are currently
squeezing four or more HD channels
out of the same bandwidth the
economics don’t stack up. “Instead
of six HD channels per transponder
costing operators around $400k a
year each, one 4K channel would
cost well over $1 million,” calculates
Satlink Communications CEO
David Hochner.
Transponders over Europe can cost
U$2 million to U$3 million a year in a
prime location for live HD distribution.
“The cost for broadcasters of
creating a 4K channel, factoring
in upgrades to existing equipment
and infrastructure could be U$10
million to $15 million,” estimates
research firm NSR. It expects the
global satellite Ultra-HD market to
reach U$412 million by 2025.
What has galvanised the industry
is that the means of reducing the
data rate is about to enter the
market. The HEVC compression
algorithm, also known as H.265 and
ratified as a standard by the ITU in
January, is expected to deliver 30%
to 50% of efficiencies by bringing
the data rate down from 40 Mbps
to around 20 Mbps, similar to HD
channels launched using the MPEG2
compression scheme a decade ago.
According to David Wood,
Chairman of the ITU Working Party

A hands-on demonstration at the Eureka Park TechZone at CES

Period drama ‘Belle’ was hailed as the first major British motion picture to be
shot in true-4K using Sony’s F65 camera

in the Broadcasting Service Study
Group, “Using HEVC it should be
possible to broadcast 4K pictures
between 30 and 40 Mbps. This is in
the capacity of the DVB T2 channel.”
It is likely that those countries yet
to deploy a DVB-T2 system might
use a HEVC DVB-T2 scheme. France,
for example, already with HEVC on
its radar for a DTT 2.0 launch in
2015/16 and France Televisions is
already conducting 4K tests.
“Provided there is enough volume
there to make the set top box
affordable then HEVC would surely
allow more HD broadcasting,” notes
Wood. “HD bit rates will probably
be down to 4-5Mbit/s with HEVC
(incidentally similar bit rates at which
SDTV began).”
A compression scheme is not all
that’s needed. In order to get 4K
to the home, new encoders and
decoders need developing and those
require dedicated silicon – which will
only come onto the market late 2013.
Then there is the question of
whether 4K requires HEVC at all.
Recent improvements in MPEG4
encoding, by developers such as
ATEME which is a partner of the
Eutelsat project transmitting 4K
encoded in MPEG4 at 40Mbps, may
also permit commercial deployment
sooner than expected.
Cable operators may have more
capacity than satellite operators
at this stage. Until bandwidth
issues are resolved, Hochner says
higher resolution broadcasts will
work better with local origination
carried by fibre via the domestic
infrastructure within each market.
“It depends on the end user,” he
says. “If it’s one-to-many, satellite
might be better for a broadcaster
but if it’s point-to-point, they will

go with fibre, because fibre has less
limitation on bandwidth.”
New modulation techniques
can also squeeze more bits from
existing bandwidth. NovelSat’s NS3
increases spectral efficiency through
algorithms that utilise the greater
processing power available now
compared with the time the current
DVB-S2 standard was developed
a decade ago.
NovelSat claim NS3 will increase
video throughput over 72MHz
transponders by up to 78%,
although the EBU which is using it for
distribution of live sports, admits to a
28% gain. Even this lower level will
yield huge cost savings for the EBU.
With 140 million west
European and 130 million North
American connected households,
Futuresource points to growing
interest in broadband as another
route to market Ultra-HD.
“OTT provides opportunities
for new companies to enter the
video delivery market and as their
subscriptions bases hit saturation,
just as with payTV operators, then
higher tier pricing could work
combined with exclusive content
rights,” says Carl Hibbert, Head
of Broadcast Content & Services,
Futuresource Consulting. “Google,
Amazon, Apple have the deep
pockets to acquire premium content,
including movies and sports."

Ultra-HD Displays
Penetration of Ultra-HD sets will
grow slowly as prices have some
way to fall from their current £15,000
to £20,000 tag. Futuresource
predict a base of 123,000 displays
in UK homes by 2016 (US trade
CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - March 2013

In Broadcast - March 2013
Contents
InNews: Red TX Records for War of the Worlds
InNews: Sky News Reports Live Using iPhone in China
InPreview: TV Connect – The Global Ecosystem Show
InView: in Good Company – Jump PR
InGear: TSL Professional Products – Solutions for Acquisition Through to Delivery
InGear: Belden Extends Mic Cables Line
InMedia: Post Asylum Centres on Smoke Workflow
InMedia: Carrier ID & Broadcasters
InMedia: Satellite Broadcasters’ Present United Front
InFile: Save Time on Video Management
In Broadcast - March 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - March 2013 - In Broadcast - March 2013
In Broadcast - March 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - March 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InNews: Red TX Records for War of the Worlds
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InNews: Sky News Reports Live Using iPhone in China
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InPreview: TV Connect – The Global Ecosystem Show
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 38
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InView: in Good Company – Jump PR
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InGear: TSL Professional Products – Solutions for Acquisition Through to Delivery
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InGear: Belden Extends Mic Cables Line
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 60
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 65
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In Broadcast - March 2013 - 67
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In Broadcast - March 2013 - 70
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 72
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 74
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InMedia: Post Asylum Centres on Smoke Workflow
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 78
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 79
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 80
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 81
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 82
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 83
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 84
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 85
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 86
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 87
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InMedia: Carrier ID & Broadcasters
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InMedia: Satellite Broadcasters’ Present United Front
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 90
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 91
In Broadcast - March 2013 - InFile: Save Time on Video Management
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 93
In Broadcast - March 2013 - 94
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - March 2013 - S6
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2016
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC03
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2016
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2016
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC02
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_CCW15expo
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC01
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_IBC2015
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