Here are DirecTV’s plans for 4K content

by on November 11, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – November 11, 2014

DirecTV has already made several confirmations to the effect that it is actively working on a U.S wide introduction of 4K ultra HD transmissions to the homes of its customers and now they’ve laid out their plans in even more detail.

DirecTV CEO Mike White recently gave a statement to financial analysts stating that the pay-TV company would definitely be ready for 4K and that it has always wanted to be a leader in its industry, thus the focus on this new and advanced resolution standard. “4K is no exception” according to White.

Part of DirecTV’s 4K transmission plans hinge on a deal being made with Samsung Electronics that would see programming content from DirecTV’s own set-top boxes, called the “Genie”, fed directly to participating models of Samsung ultra HD TV sets. This is supposed to begin at some point during this last quarter of 2014.

According to White, “The preloaded number of movies is flexible, so if demand is strong, we can preload more movies into the hard drive”. He also noted that DirecTV has already secured the distribution rights to over a dozen movies that come in native 4K resolution, also explaining that it’s still early in the ultra HD revolution and implying that this selection of 4K content will grow considerably over time.

DirecTV is in the process of launching its revolutionary new DirecTV-14 satellite launched into orbit by Arianespace in December of this year. What the new satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, promises is a whole array of new transmission technology that will not only show DirecTV’s commitment to the latest in content transmission but also the development of a full broadcasting payload capacity that will make transmission of 4K Ultra HD movies and other content fully functional with minimal glitches.

CEO White also claims that the new satellite will allow DirecTV to introduce whole new ultra HD channels to customers by sometime in 2015 and that meanwhile, viewers would be able to enjoy linear 4K transmissions and, of course, the preloaded content coming to the company’s “Genie” set-top boxes.

DirecTV's "Genie" set-top boxes will feature both preloaded and downloadable 4K movies for  Samsung UHD TVs

DirecTV’s “Genie” set-top boxes will feature both preloaded and downloadable 4K movies for Samsung UHD TVs

However, the CEO also cautioned that since we’re still in the early stages of 4K transmission and content in general, consumers would still have to wait and see how everything pans out. White referred to the fact that only about a million UHD TVs have been sold in the U.S so far in 2014 and that manufacturers and retailers are expecting to see this number grow by multiples only in2015.

The initial offering of ultra HD content from Netflix will be only VoD during the end of 2014 and only for customers who have Samsung 4K sets and the Genie HD DVR. There will be several movies loaded in advance into the Genie boxes and customers will then be able to choose from a still wider selection which can be downloaded overnight prior to viewing.

However, once the DirecTV satellite hits orbit later in 2015, the VoD selection and live streaming options that the company can offer to customers will expand enormously depending on specific customer demand patterns.

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