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Satellite operator SES has confirmed that multiple US cable operators are testing Ultra HD (or 4K) content across its fully-managed Ultra HD platform and receiving HEVC 4K IP set-top boxes in preparation for Ultra HD subscriber trials into US households later in 2016.
SES has signed Ultra HD trial agreements with Cable America in Missouri, Golden West Telecommunications in South Dakota, MTC Cable in New York, Sjoberg’s Cable TV in Minnesota and ATMC in North Carolina. As part of the programme aimed at accelerating 4K delivery to homes across America, SES is shipping 4K/HEVC set-top boxes to cable operators participating in the first-ever Ultra HD trials.
After purchasing more than four million Ultra HD TVs last year and a projected 10 million in 2016 in the US alone, consumers are increasingly demanding 4K content from their cable operators. Using the multicasting capability of the DOCSIS 3.0 transmission standard and traditional digital TV to deliver a wide range of 4K programming to subscriber homes, SES is enabling even the smallest cable operators to be among the first in North America to provide linear and live Ultra HD. Unlike current Internet-delivered 4K offerings, SES claims that its managed solution, delivered over dedicated bandwidth, provides a much higher quality viewer experience, free of buffering and network congestion.
SES is currently carrying four Ultra HD channels on satellites serving every cable system and nearly 100 million homes across North America, including Fashion One 4K, NASA TV UHD, and High 4K TV. The fourth choice on SES’s regional 4K dial is SES’s own UHD1 channel, which has quickly become a popular venue for up-and-coming 4K content producers creating great Ultra HD material with an eye toward ultimately launching their own Ultra HD channels. Cable operators of all sizes across North America can easily downlink 4K content from SES’s growing Ultra HD satellite platform to test the mix of 4K movies, TV shows, news, and sports events across their networks.
“As millions of cable subscribers increasingly press for 4K content on their new Ultra HD TVs, some of the smallest cable operators in the US are now leading the way to bringing Ultra HD to homes across the country,” noted Steve Corda, Vice President of Business Development in North America at SES. “SES’s breakthrough, fully-managed Ultra HD platform is enabling us to conduct the first-ever trials, which are bound to play a key role in the national and global rollout of Ultra HD.”
“Ultra HD has arrived in Minnesota, as we prepare to deliver 4K content to subscriber homes this year,” said Richard Sjoberg, President and CEO at Sjoberg, a cable television innovator serving 33 towns in Northwest Minnesota. “Along with high-speed broadband, we’re seeing an increasing demand for Ultra HD across our subscriber base, and together with SES we’re on the leading edge of technology, with a simplified solution that will make the transition to Ultra HD far faster and more efficient. We’re looking forward to being among the first in the country to deliver game-changing television to our customers.”
“We are excited to be participating in this trial focused on offering Ultra HD content to our customers,” said Glen Faulkner, General Manager at MTC Cable in upstate New York. “The SES solution provides an economical platform for the delivery of Ultra HD content, which is now more frequently requested by our customers. The cable television industry, with high-capacity DOCSIS 3 networks widely deployed, is well-positioned to be at the forefront in delivery of this high resolution content.”