“First European 4K channels in 2016”

Ferdinand Kayser, CCO at Luxembourg-based satellite operator, says he firmly expects some key European broadcasters to have 4K channels on air during 2016. “The catalyst will undoubtedly be the UEFA soccer and that year’s Olympics from Brazil.”

He said he expected some important pay-TV broadcasters, such as Canal+, to start closing their Standard Definition services soon.

Kayser also announced that SES would be showcasing the world’s first fully end-to-end 4K live encrypted transmissions on its stand (1.B51) in conjunction with Samsung and Conditional Access specialists Kudelski’s SmarDTV module (1.C81).

He added that while there would be plenty of 4K technical trials and demonstrations meanwhile, the core ecosystem for 4K was now in place. “Everything is more or less ready. We still need set-top boxes and their key 4K chipsets to be available, but this will happen well ahead of time.”

Kayser said that SES expected that by 2020, there would be some 200 U-HD channels on air around the world, and being viewed on about 100 million screens. “By 2025 that will grow to 1,000 U-HD channels, and more than 500 million displays in use. And congestion-free viewing of Ultra-HD is a ‘sweet spot’ for satellite.”

Questioned as to whether SES favoured 4K or the anticipated 8K transmissions under development in Japan, Kayser admitted that 8K would be “wonderful” for the satellite business.

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