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Harmonic, Intelsat partner for UHD demo channel

Responding to growing consumer demand for Ultra High Definition (UHD) content and televisions, video delivery infrastructure specialist Harmonic and satellite services provider Intelsat are partnering to launch HVN Intelsat UHD, a linear UHD demonstration channel for the North American TV markets.

This channel will be broadcast via Intelsat’s Galaxy 13 satellite located at 127 degrees W and will provide multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) with an opportunity to prepare and test their UHD transmissions from the moment that they start downlinking content from Intelsat’s Galaxy 13 satellite through their own networks and into the subscribers’ homes. This platform will also be available to US cable programmers to conduct their own testing of UHD content. Since Intelsat’s Galaxy 13 satellite has 76 HD channels and reaches 98 per cent of the cable headends in the continental United States, it creates an ideal environment for further enhancing the end-to-end delivery of UHD content to consumers.

Harmonic and Intelsat plan to demonstrate the HVN Intelsat UHD channel content at the upcoming IBC2015 Conference at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam. Utilising an end to end UHD video processing system from Harmonic, Intelsat will transmit live and linear 2160p60 (HEVC Main 10 profile) video content via C-band on the Intelsat Galaxy 13 satellite. The content will then travel from Intelsat’s Atlanta, Georgia, teleport facility using the IntelsatOne IP/MPLS network to Intelsat’s Fuchsstadt, Germany teleport facility, where it will be uplinked via Ku-band on the Intelsat 905 satellite located at 335.5 degrees E, and received and decoded at the RAI in Amsterdam.

The initial commissioning test signal will leverage transport stream servers located at Intelsat’s teleport facility in Atlanta, Georgia, and Harmonic’s ProMedia Xpress multiscreen transcoder and packager for pre-compression of the UHD video loop. Later this year, Harmonic will deploy its MediaGrid shared storage system, Polaris playout management suite, Spectrum X advanced media server system and Electra X3 advanced media processor to enable full UHD channel production and transmission from the company’s HVN Center in San Jose, California. That signal will then be uplinked in Intelsat’s teleport facility in Atlanta, Georgia via Intelsat’s Galaxy 13 satellite.

“As consumers purchase millions of 4K televisions before Ultra HD content even reaches critical mass, it has become clear that they are ready to experience the fully immersive viewing experience that Ultra HD provides,” said Peter Ostapiuk, head of media product services, Intelsat. “By partnering with Harmonic, Intelsat can now enable pay-TV operators to test the distribution of live linear Ultra HD broadcasts in crystal-clear 2160p60 resolution to the home. Our customers will now have an opportunity to further test bandwidth allocation and UHD content delivery via Intelsat’s hybrid satellite terrestrial network, which will pave the way for the distribution of amazing content—from popular sporting events to the latest movies and TV shows—and a viewing experience that can enhance customer satisfaction.”

At the heart of Intelsat’s UHD workflow is Harmonic’s Electra X3 advanced media processor, the industry’s first fully converged platform for broadcast and OTT delivery of UHD content with live, full-frame, full-GOP UHD encoding. Electra X3 is powered by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, an advanced encoding technology that supports resolutions of up to 2160p60, leveraging the HEVC Main 10 codec. Using the Electra X3 media processor, Intelsat can deliver superior video quality at minimum bandwidth.

“By providing a complete UHD workflow solution for the delivery of live and linear broadcasts, Harmonic is driving the industry closer toward full-scale UHD service deployment,” said Peter Alexander, CMO at Harmonic. “Harmonic offers all of the video infrastructure components that satellite operators such as Intelsat need for delivering 2160p60 UHD video content, including live, full-frame, full-GOP encoding, storage, and playout systems, enabling them to quickly roll out UHD services with market-leading video quality and a low total cost of ownership.”

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