Ultra-HD: Industry needs more work on 4K

While there’s a sense of growing enthusiasm for 4K/Ultra-HDTV transmissions from equipment vendors, display manufacturers, satellite operators and perhaps even some well-heeled early adopters, some experts are urging caution while almost pleading for various industry elements to pull their fingers out in order not to disappoint the public.

Thomas Wrede, SES’ VP/Reception Systems, speaking on the margins of the huge Satellite 2013 show in Washington said that there was still a considerable amount of work to be done in the background. “SES is extremely serious about Ultra-HD, but we need an agreed standard for HDMI connectivity, for a start,” said Wrede.

“Work needs to be done with the Hollywood studios as to how we are going to secure their content and the High Definition Content Protocol (HDCP) standard needs updating. And all this before silicon has been laid down. It is true that work is being done by some silicon chip suppliers but much more work needs to be done. For example, we want to start demonstrating Ultra-HD programming at the point-of-sale but again what hardware can we use, what HDMI interface can we use?”

Wrede stressed how ready SES was with 4K/Ultra-HD, including preparing a test channel with specially shot material (mostly captured in Barcelona recently) but said the next few months, and certainly the period leading up to IBC in September, would be crucial. He was additionally looking forward to seeing what the encoder and compression specialists would be showcasing at NAB and IBC, given their importance to the whole transmission process.

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