Discovery is getting ready to develop 4K content for when pay TV platform operators want it

by on June 26, 2015

Stephan Jukic – June 26, 2015

Discovery claims that it is “driving hard” on 4K resolution technology so that the company can be ready when pay TV platform operators start to demand ultra HD for their subscriber bases.

The CEO and president of Discovery, David Zaslav, and the network’s international president, JB Perrette, both recently confirmed the science and documentary channel’s supposedly firm commitment to developing content in the emerging format as it becomes more of a priority for TV viewers worldwide.

According to Zaslav, “Our content looks fantastic in 4K” and “When there was the transition to HD we saw a bump in our market share because our content looked fantastic. We have been quietly driving very hard on the 4K transition and are starting to see that happen. So, when distributors raise their hand and say we want some 4K, we are the leader and our content looks great. It’s an additional opportunity for us”.

Furthermore, Perrette, the president of Discovery International, explained that while in-home 3D hadn’t taken off at all with consumers and later electronics manufacturers –largely due to the glasses they were forced to wear in order to watch it– Discovery is ready for 4K to move forward like HD originally did.

Specifically: “On the non-fiction side, we’ll be doing more 4K commissioning, although how it will get exploited is to be decided”, according to words Perrette shared with the website of Television Business International

Perrette also covered the still existing problem of bandwidth with 4K ultra HD resolution. Basically, while display devices and storage media for UHD video content are developing nicely and plentiful, sending data from one storage platform to another is a serious obstacle that internet connectivity is still barely keeping up with.

The Discovery International chief claims that a lot of distributors who work with Discovery are working on the problem of transmitting 4K content and on analyzing the level of consumer demand for it. He also stated that Discovery wants to be at the leading edge of that evolution.

4K content is not likely to flop like 3D did. This is becoming more obvious every day now that the resolution is showing itself to be the obvious successor to Full HD across numerous electronics such as projectors, TVs, cameras, PC monitors and soon even smart phones.

Nonetheless, pay TV channel operators and broadcasters in general are moving very slowly and cautiously with full 4K development. Some like Sky Deutschland, BT Sport and a few others have done experimental 4K broadcast work and BT is even opening up a 4K broadcast channel for live sportscasts in Europe later in August of 2015, only under the condition that they first invest in a set-top box.. But, these companies are the exception rather than the rule and Discovery, despite its words about driving 4K hard, has so far shown itself to be just as cautious about the resolution.

Sky Germany is one of the major broadcasters which is seriously experimenting with live 4K broadcast content

Sky Germany is one of the major broadcasters which is seriously experimenting with live 4K broadcast content

And possibly with good reason. Revamping broadcast transmission infrastructure so that it can accept 4K UHD resolution or so that it can switch to IP transmission through which 4K can be streamed is not a low-cost process.

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