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More U.K 4K news: you can already watch UHD satellite broadcasts in the United Kingdom

by on February 18, 2015

Stephan Jukic – February 18, 2015

Surprisingly, ultra high-resolution broadcasts are already available in the United Kingdom, unfortunately however, they’re still a bit limited, boring and sort of hard to pick up on.

4K UHD technology is definitely the next big thing in home entertainment and while TVs with the resolution are selling like hot cakes, the content side is still lagging a bit behind the rest of the ecosystem.

This is changing of course and new premium 4K content is coming out all the time but for now a lot of what you can see, especially from satellite and TV broadcasts is either extremely constrained or limited in some other way.

So far at least, the absolute best sources of really high quality programming in full native 4K resolution still come to homes via streaming channels over the web, from services like Netflix, (both of which are available in Europe) or Amazon Prime, which is still restricted to U.S audiences (or overseas viewers who know how to rig up a U.S IP address.

Furthermore, there are the rumors circulating about Sky and its plans to launch a 4K broadcasting service in the UK sometime in 2015, however, these are still in the air and largely unconfirmed.

What does exist for now however is a functioning ultra HD channel being run by SES Astra, the company in charge of running the very satellites Sky uses and will presumably also use for its 4K broadcast services in the UK and in Germany (where it has more concrete plans in place).

The channel is now broadcasting in the United Kingdom and can be picked up by ordinary satellite dishes, as long as you also happen to have a functioning 4K TV with the built-in capacity to decode HEVC as well of course.

However, the demo channel isn’t exactly showing what could be described as Netflix quality entertainment. Instead, it shows demo imagery of sports, animals and assorted cityscapes. Hardly spectacular but it will at least let you get a taste of what satellite 4K TV will look like when it starts transmitting to TVs later in the year (maybe). SES Astra’s channel airs on the company’s 19.2 degree service.

Demo landscapes and other visuals like the one above are all that the SES Astra 4K satellite channel is showing for now

Demo landscapes and other visuals like the one above are all that the SES Astra 4K satellite channel is showing for now

According to Mike Chandler, managing director of Astra (GB) Ltd, his company is “….making use of the capacity to enable UK and Irish retailers, installers and enthusiasts to understand the technology that makes UHD possible, and what it will mean for their viewing experience”.

In other words, the channel is up and running as a broad service for those who are trying to sell 4K TVs, so that they can demo the resolution to their customers with samples of native content.

This obviously isn’t as exciting as concrete news of multiple cool satellite broadcasts in 4K would be but it does at least clearly show that UHD satellite broadcasting is very much possible and functional.

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  • ted ponsonby
    November 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I would like to know what tv you viewed Satellite UHD on because on my LG 4K WebOS TV the Satellite SES demo is great and so much better than Netflix UHD ,. i have had Netflix UHD from the start and tho the bright n hi contrast scenes on all their stuff is good i can clearly see the better quality of the SES demo,. this LG has a 4K satellite receiver built in,. the low contrast and dark scenes on netflix stuff is crap, and they know it,. so heres hoping for a quick sat UHD n UHD BLURAY experience very soon, and netflix would need to pull their 4K socks up or lose out on the surge to get 4K coming soon.,


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