Satellite operator AsiaSat has revealed plans to deploy Asia’s first dedicated Ultra HD (UHD) broadcast platform in the coming months.
Initially using a C-band transponder on AsiaSat 4 at 122°E, the UHD platform, based on DVB-S2 and HEVC solutions, will be able to deliver two to five full time UHD channels. Transmissions will be in a free to air format, available for reception by terrestrial TV stations, pay-TV platforms and home viewers across Asia which possess appropriate decoding equipment and a C-band antenna as small as 2.4 metres.
William Wade, President and Chief Executive Officer of AsiaSat, noted that UHD is gaining momentum in Asia with UHD TV sets readily available and affordable. “However, there is still a lack of UHD content and consumer receivers in Asia. AsiaSat is proud to play a key role in UHD content delivery in Asia with the launch of this new UHD broadcast platform. We are committed to working closely with content and technology partners to make the delivery economics work for UHD broadcasting in this part of the world,” he confirmed.
“The adoption of UHD will continue to be driven by consumers’ increasing demand for improved picture quality for sports and movies. Upcoming major sporting events such as the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2018 FIFA World Cup are expected to be key drivers for the adoption of UHD. We look forward to supporting the UHD transmissions of these events on AsiaSat 4 and our future AsiaSat 9 satellite that is designed to meet the higher throughput requirements of UHD broadcasting,” he added.
“As Asia’s premier satellite operator for over 25 years, AsiaSat has always strived to be at the forefront of advancing satellite communications. We are well positioned to work with our partners to introduce more exciting TV services to Asia,” he declared.
The UHD Research Laboratory was established at AsiaSat’s Tai Po Earth Station in Hong Kong. The initiative is aimed at promoting and incubating the reception of UHD content under the AsiaSat footprint. The Lab is tasked to evaluate UHD solutions including the technical compatibility of satellite reception and transmission, playout and compression technologies, as well as content providers. Over the past few months, tests were successfully conducted on various HEVC encoding equipment, including off-air and real-time transcoding of channels at various bit rates.