Examining the Ultra HD Roll-Out at the IBC Conference

Ultra HD services are starting to roll out from the world’s broadcasters at an accelerating pace. In the UK, Sky launched its potentially ground-breaking satellite 4K service with the start of the new season of the English Premier League, while NHK has conducted hugely exciting 8K tests at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The 130 hours of 8K content it’s transmitting back to Japan represents by far the biggest test of the format yet, and is a significant waypoint towards the broadcaster’s stated goal of being able to cover and broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Games at that resolution.


Meanwhile, according to a new survey of 475 global video service providers by SNL Kagan, 96% of respondents believe that a majority of consumers and video service providers will adopt 4K UHD TV by 2020. As a result of that, 88% of them, and that translates as over 400 broadcasters, are planning to launch 4K UHD content by 2020, with an astonishing 78% (370) saying they will have launched content two years earlier by 2018.

In other words, where Ultra HD is not yet here it is coming fast, and IBC will be examining how the roll-out is progressing, as well as the challenges it still represents. in a major paper session ‘UHDTV Launches Across the World’.

The session will examine some of the major firsts to date in UHD broadcasting including: the launch of Europe’s first UHD sports channel, BT Sport, which is now a year old; the adoption of UHD by Pope Francis and the always-innovative centro televisivo vaticano for the first worldwide Ultra HD HDR transmission of a major ceremony; and the first global broadcasts of full-spec 8K to trial receivers.

To overcome the difficulties of achieving these firsts necessitated the use of cutting edge technology, and attendees can hear first-hand how the challenges of setting up higher resolution workflows and production and distribution chains were met and surmounted in a succession of detailed presentations.

All in all, four papers are being presented as part of the session:

  • “BT Sport Ultra HD – Europe’s First Ultra High Definition Television Sports Channel” (Andrew Beale, Chief Engineer, BT Sport, UK);
  • “Opening Of The Holy Door By Pope Francis: First Worldwide Live Distribution Via Satellite Of 4K UHD Pictures And HDR HLG Test” (Christiano Benzi, Director Special Projects Italy, Eutelsat HQ Paris, France);
  • “Real- World Live 4K Ultra HD Broadcasting With High Dynamic Range” (Peter Sykes, Strategic Technology Development Manager, Sony Professional Solutions Europe, UK);
  • “Celebrating The Launch Of 8K/4K UHDTV Satellite Broadcasting And Progress On Full-Featured 8K UHDTV In Japan” (Satoshi Hara, Engineer NHK, Japan).

Taken together they promise to provide a fascinating glimpse into the new landscape of Ultra HD broadcasting: a landscape that looks set to become increasingly crowded as the next few years unfold.

View the full details of this conference session here






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