4K TVs were everywhere at IFA in Berlin, but no broadcast 4K standards have been established. At IFA we saw some of the early work on 4K TV channels. Here we give you a quick overview.
Updates on 4K TV channels from IFA
First of all, Samsung had partnered with Eutelsat to demonstrate a 4K demo channel. The 4K test channel was actually set up earlier this year, but at IFA we saw a live demonstration on Samsung’s Ultra HD TVs.
Eutelsat and Samsung’s 4K demo channel at IFA 2013
In this demonstration the 4K channel from Eutelsat was broadcast via satellite and DVB-S2 in four separate Full HD streams that were later combined into a 4K video signal. The frame rate was 50 Hz and bitrate was 40 Mbit/s with mpeg4 compression.
The DVB consortium also shared some news. In addition to the Samsung/Eutelsat demonstration the DVB Group demonstrated how it is possible to broadcast a 4K channel, compressed with HEVC the successor to mpeg4. For this demonstration they had teamed up with Astra and Sky Deutschland. They used one of the Astra satellites.
Lastly, the DVB group demonstrated how a 4K channel could be delivered via DVB-C2, the next generation of cable TV. The channel was broadcast via satellite, and distributed into a test setup of a cable TV network, and received via DVB-C2. The DVB group is clearly very keen on making 4K channels work, it seems.
Football in 4K
British TV provider Sky also talked about 4K at IFA. Sky sent the first live football match in 4K just before IFA started. The test transmission was broadcast via Sky’s commercial TV network, but only as a test stream to the Sky headquarters. It was sent in 50 Hz. At IFA Sky said that they are also working with BBC to define broadcast 4K standards via the UK UHD Forum.
Despite everything we saw and heard at IFA it is clear that the broadcast industry is still in the very early stages. At IFA the HDMI 2.0 standard fell into place, but there are still a lot of pieces that have to fall into place, including DVB tuner standards, HEVC encoders, and not least HEVC decoders at your end you will have to buy new TVs or a new set-top boxes.