DirecTV’s latest satellite, its fourteenth, was successfully launched out of French Guyana on December 6th, and will be a “significant milestone” in DirecTV’s build-up of its 4K/Ultra-HDTV services.
Phil Goswitz, DirecTV’s SVP/Space and Communications, speaking from the launch, congratulated rocket company Arianespace as well as Space Systems/Loral, the satellite’s builder on the success, adding: “Today we achieved a significant milestone in the development and future adoption of 4K Ultra HD and ensured our customers will have an entertainment experience that is second to none for many years to come.”
The DirecTV-14 launch was spectacularly ‘on target’, with its apogee height just 5 kilometres away (at 35,930 km) from its target 35,925 km, and will now be transitioned via a geostationary transfer orbit and over the next weeks tested and finally placed into its 99 degrees West operational position.
Testing will then take place of its 76 Ka-band spot-beams (from 16 transponders) as well as the 18 ‘National Reverse’ transponders, which will be the first time full-scale ‘reverse band’ capacity has been used. Not all the craft will be used for Ultra-HD. The satellite will also be used to expand – and back-up – the broadcaster’s existing ‘ordinary’ HDTV services.
DirecTV is making no commitments as to when 4K DBS services will start, other than the rather vague ‘early next year’. Goswitz said “DirecTV will use this new technology to create the most advanced broadcast available – live, linear 4K Ultra HD services that at this moment do not even exist. 4K Ultra HD technology is a brand new technology and many have doubts and indecision about it, but not at DirecTV.”
Another satellite, DirecTV-15, is scheduled to be launched in Q1/2015.