Sky will start offering programming from Love Nature, the all-4K channel which is owned by Canada-based Blue Ant Media, later this year the channel will broadcast as part of Sky’s ‘on demand’ service and to UK, Germany and Italian subscribers.
However, with precious few UHD channel transmissions available, will this move start something of a 4K ‘rush’ of new material on Sky’s line-up?
Ward Platt, CEO, Global Networks & Kids, Blue Ant Media, said: “Over the last five years, we have commissioned over 500 hours of the highest quality 4K natural history programming with leading production companies around the world. We are thrilled that these amazing stories and breath-taking visuals are now available for Sky viewers to enjoy. “Bringing Love Nature to Sky across Europe is a significant milestone for the brand’s ongoing global expansion.”
In terms of other factual and documentary programming, Discovery, for example, has been mulling adding 4K to its portfolio of offerings and it is known that some of Discovery’s spin-off channels have also been capturing content in UHD.
It is certainly the same with National Geographic which has been at the forefront of 4K capture, and is already a member of the Sky family of channels.
Travelxp and InsightTV are both capturing all their programming in 4K. Indeed, Travelxp has been gathering its material in the superior High Dynamic Range technology, and is already experimenting with 8K filming. Both Travelxp and InsightTV are available in some markets in 4K although in the lower quality HD on Sky.
Sky has certainly not ignored 4K but uses its SkyQ set-top box to deliver its Drama and Sky Arts 4K programming on-demand. In addition to movies and sport much of this on-demand is usually in the desirable 10-bit colour depth, frequently described as the “better pixels” option.
Whether Sky’s Comcast relationship will boost the number of UHD channels or services is yet to be seen. Comcast offers two dedicated full-time 4K channels (104/105) and an occasional Channel 106 for special events. Comcast’s Xfinity service offers a VoD service for its 4K content, other than when its NBC sister service is showing the Olympic Games when the channel offers a number of add-on 4K services via a number of ‘Virtual’ channels. For example, it showed all of the recent 52 FIFA Women’s World Cup games in UHD.