Discovery offering 4K UHD content with its Discovery GO app, available in Samsung 4K TVs
Stephan Jukic – January 12, 2016
UPDATE March 13, 2017: Despite our much earlier reporting of these pending content selections in 4K resolution from Discovery GO and its app to Canadian customers for their Samsung 4K TVs, there was never any followup on the matter from the content provider or Samsung Canada. As of this update, Discovery GO is not available on any North American 4K TVs to our knowledge and is not currently supporting 4K video formats either. Efforts to contact Discovery for further clarification will be made again. There is a Discovery Channel app for Samsung TVs but it does not support regular 4K video service in the U.S at this time to our knowledge.
Discovery has been discussing and developing 4K UHD recording and distribution capacity for some time now but the major popular science and history network is finally putting its money where its mouth is so to speak and offering a selection of titles in 4K ultra HD resolution for its OTT streaming service called Discovery GO. The network announced this move at the recently completed Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada in the opening days of January, 2016.
The new content in 4K service is being delivered through a partnership with Samsung Electronics, which has integrated the Discovery GO app into its smart TVs for 2016 and 2015.
4K Ultra HD resolution means pixel dimensions of 3840 across and 2160 high and ultimately offers a far sharper, more detailed level of video quality, comparable to that of an 8.8 megapixel photo.
According to Daniel Casman, a Canadian videographer from Toronto who helped the Canadian telco giant Rogers in their own 4K UHD transition work, “More pixels means more information and more details.”
Of course, creating 4K content and even more importantly, setting up the distribution system for its functionality is a time consuming and often expensive process, with new content having to be shot on professional 4K cameras and older content in film reprocessed by running the film reels through a 4K lens. Furthermore, the distribution process itself is even trickier, requiring a whole new augmentation of network and streaming infrastructure which can handle the much larger data loads of all those extra pixels and other video improvement data like HDR, found in 4K video.
Despite the challenges, OTT and streaming services worldwide are steadily moving into the 4K content landscape and Discovery is only one of many to start feeling the pressure to move in this direction.
Other major players in the 4K content game include Netflix, whose streaming 4K UHD services are arguably the largest in the world in terms of original content. Furthermore, other science-oriented content services like the Smithsonian Network’s SVOD service Smithsonian Earth are also starting to offer selections of 4K content to their subscribers and viewers.
Likewise applies for a growing number of other streaming services which include YouTube, Vimeo, Vudu, Amazon Prime and M-Go to name just a few.
Of course, on the other end of the chain, users themselves also need to make some investments in technology if they want to enjoy 4K movies, shows and other programming. This means having access to a 4K UHD TV with the latest connectivity essentials like HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 content copy protection as well as the ability to decode the HEVC (H.265 and VP9 4K video compression codecs used for most 4K OTT and transmission content. Furthermore, for access to any streaming web-based 4K UHD content service, sufficient internet connectivity is essential, with the bare minimum for most services being a domestic speed of 15 to 20Mbps.
However, moving back to Discovery GO, the company’s entire catalog of popular science and other shows will not yet be offered in 4K. Instead, the conversion process will be graduated and the current selection of titles for early to mid-2016 release consist of: Close Encounters, River Monsters, High Tech Rednecks, How It’s Made: Dream Cars, Shark, Jade Fever and How Hard Can It Be.
Viewers with Samsung 4K TVs will have the most immediate access to the new 4K service but the inclusion of the Discovery GO app with access to the company’s expanding archive of 4K UHD content will surely follow in other 4K television brands and models.
Story by 4k.com