Have you heard of NASA and Harmonic’s new 4K ultra HD Channel?

by on September 24, 2015

Stephan Jukic – September 24, 2015

As of very recently, NASA announced that it would be partnering with video delivery infrastructure leader Harmonic to launch a new channel called NASA TV UHD, which will be the very first ever non-commercial consumer market ultra HD 4K channel devoted to what will obviously be coverage of space-related subjects. The channel will be distributed by SES’s AMC-18 satellite, with 4K UHD capacity.

This is definitely the first channel of its kind for the North American market and as far as we know also the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

This partnership between Harmonic and NASA is the result of a Space Act Agreement between the video delivery company and the U.S space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Via Harmonic’s end-to-end 4K video delivery infrastructure, NASA Television will be able to deliver linear (broadcast) 3840 X 2160p 4K UHD video content to a wide range of viewers, allowing them to enjoy the latest scientific footage from the agency’s explorations in orbital and deep space on a broad range of different TVs and other internet-connected display devices with 4K display resolution. HD TV and device owners will of course also be able to watch NASA’s channel, assuming that their internet connectivity settings allow the data load of the native 4K signal to pass through.

According to NASA, the new channel will be ready for public access as of November the 1st, after more preliminary testing is done.

Given that NASA has been filming an ever accumulating quantity of 4K UHD content through various different ultra-high resolution cameras, the evolution of a channel exclusively dedicated to UHD footage from the agencies exploits comes quite naturally. According to Robert Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications at the agency’s headquarters in Washington DC, “Partnering with Harmonic gives NASA an outlet for its UHD content, which has four times the resolution of HD and is the next iteration of digital television.”

A still shot from some of the ISS footage captured for distribution to NASA's UHD 4K channel

A still shot from some of the ISS footage captured for distribution to NASA’s UHD 4K channel

Video for the new NASA TV UHD will feature a wide range of footage of the “breathtaking beauty and grandeur of space” and will be sourced from high-resolution images and content generated onboard the International Space Station and other existing and future NASA missions. There will also be displays of remastered video from much older historical NASA missions.

Harmon is currently negotiating with TV operators to carry the channel via satellite, cable and optical networks for easy consumer access. The channel will of course also be available via online streaming to internet connections with enough power to handle the compressed but still large signals.

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