Northern Sky Research (NSR) forecasts that by the end of this year there will be some 196 4K channels broadcasting. SES, in a presentation at the recent NAB show in Las Vegas, says they are already carrying 50 of them, and that around the world there are a total of 131 4K channels available to viewers.
NSR’s forecasts say that next year the 4K totals will expand to 259, and 334 by 2021. Looking further down the broadcasting road and NSR forecasts that by 2026 some 934 4K channels will be available.
Thomas Wrede (SES’s VP/New Technology & Standards) said that while 8K might be appealing for some broadcasters, and Japan in particular, there were some very real challenges ahead. He said that even with HEVC coding there would still be the challenge of handling 80-100 Mbit/s of data, and a while the industry was already mass-producing 8K panels and displays there was no formal global industry standard for 8K TV.
SES in May last year handled experimental 8K transmissions from its 23.5 degrees East satellite, using HEVC and at a data-rate of 80 Mbit/s (and in a partnership between SES, technology provider Newtec, software enabler Spin-Digital and Sharp, and using a Sharp 70” LC-70X500 display.
Wrede called for a more efficient codec, and suggested VVC (Versatile Video Coding) as the “natural successor” to HEVC, and allowed two channels of 8K to be carried with 35-40 Mbit/s, and thus two channels per satellite transponder.
He appealed for the broadcast industry to start working on an 8K broadcast standard.
There is work being done on the new standard, with various Calls for Proposals having been considered by an experts body, with the VVC ‘final standard’ expected to be published by July next year. This “H.266/MPEG/VVC” suggested standard – with 33 organisations having made submissions – is looking to achieve a further 50 per cent compression over H.265 (HEVC).