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Satellite operator SES, unveiling its latest viewership numbers in London March 18, also said that it anticipated Ultra-HDTV satellite transmissions would make their debut appearances over Europe by the autumn of 2016.
Nick Stubbs, SES’s VP/GM for Western Europe, told journalists and clients that he expected there to be “multiple operators broadcasting 4K/Ultra-HDTV services by the autumn of 2016. The consumer electronics industry is already pushing 4K display sales very aggressively and [retail] prices are coming down fast. We have carried out tests for most of our major European clients, including Sky Deutschland, Sky UK, Canal Plus in France and in Spain, and of course it is up to them as to when they launch services.”
Stubbs said it was near-impossible to suggest which market might be first, “but I would put money on Sky in Germany being an early entrant into 4K. They are keen on the technology, and German audiences are early adopters of new technology. Initially it will be a pay-TV offering, and each of them will be looking at how 4K fits into their individual [plans] for future services. You can see that Sky Deutschland is already very bullish. The momentum is beginning to roll.”
Questioned as to how many U-HD channels might be on air by the autumn of 2016, and Stubbs said it was tough to be specific especially so far in advance but it would be “multiple, definitely and certainly more than one.”
Mike Chandler, MD of SES’s UK operation, suggested that there were many elements which now needed to fall into line, not least new set-top boxes or displays with receiver technology built in. “No operator wants to get into swapping out large numbers of set-top boxes. However, I certainly see a number of pay-TV operators launching premium 4K services [by autumn 2016].”