DirecTV Preps for Ultra HDTV Signals
DirecTV has begun the groundwork for a rollout of ultra HDTV (UHDTV), according to a report.
AdvancedTelevision.com said that Philip Goswitz, senior vice president of space and communications and technology development for DirecTV, is preparing for 4,000- and 8,000-line services, although Goswitz did not say when.
Reports have indicated, however, that the format could be ready by as early as 2016, with 2018 to 2020 seen as a more likely timeframe. In any event, DirecTV is looking toward the future.
“4,000- and 8,000-line services are great for the satellite industry, and will ensure that satellite broadcasting continues to distinguish itself for image quality of service,” Goswitz reportedly said, according to AdvancedTelevision.com “We see this as a key strategic advantage for us.”
DirecTV representatives could not be reached Friday for comment.
Current 1080p signals use 1080 horizontal lines of resolution. The so-called “4K” format is used by the digital cinema industry, but those refer to horizontal lines of resolution. Digital cinema resolution, for example, is commonly 4096-by-1714 pixels.
It’s possible that Goswitz referred to so-called QFHD, which basically doubles the 1080p HDTV standard in the vertical and horizontal dimensions: 3,840-by-2,160. But those still don’t come close to 4,000 lines of vertical resolution.
True ultra HD or UHDTV, however, has been proposed by NHK, also known as Super Hi-Vision. At 7,680-by-4,320, or 4320p HDTV, the resolution far exceeds conventional HDTVs and digital cinema. Uncompressed, the video would require massive bandwidth and storage space; in 2006, however, NHK demonstrated a compressed version, using an NHK codec that compressed the video signal from approximately 24 Gbits/s down to 180-600 Mbits/s and the audio from 28 Mbit/s to 7-28 Mbits/s. Prototype TVs from LG (pictured) have also been shown.
To enable the transition, DirecTV sees itself migrating from Ku-band to Ka-band satellites. Ka-band satellites offer higher bandwidth than Ku-band satellites, but reportedly are more susceptible to so-called “rain fade,” or a degradation of performance during rainy conditions.
“At DirecTV we see a couple of things happening,” Goswitz said. “First, our subscribers are migrating away from Ku-band, and upgrading themselves to Ka-band and its HDTV services. In four or five years, our Ku-band [transmissions] could end. We are also developing the so-called Reverse Band for DBS services, and these are on our Road Map for future international services. 4000-line is exciting to us because of its image quality, and the potential for glasses-free 3D.”