It Looks Like DirecTV Will Begin 4K Broadcasts Later This Year

by on September 23, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 23, 2014

The American Pay-TV giant DirecTV is now actively, officially, looking into supporting and promoting Ultra HD 4K content for the remaining months of 2014, according to Michael White, chairman president and CEO of the company, speaking recently to a Goldman Sachs sponsored Communacopia Conference.

Despite previous criticisms of the overall market for Ultra HD 4K media in the past, White has changed his mind on the technology more recently and has also guided DirecTV in the same direction, claiming the company intends to be ready for broadcasting of 4K and aims at a leading position in the market itself.

“This year is probably the first year you will start to see some critical mass of television sets in the home – still tiny but more than prior years. Our plan is to have an Ultra HD VOD capability by the end of this year” according to White.

The CEO also underscored the rather poor eventual outcome of the hype that tried to buoy 3D TV a couple of years ago as a main reason for his initial pessimism about 4K technology. He also explained that the wider acceptance of 4K will likely depend heavily on how the purchasing patterns of consumers play out when it comes to 4K TV sets.

However, a couple of key points with regards to both of these observations are that first of all, 4K resolution is a natural next stage in the enhancement of pixel quantities in digital display, something which makes it a very different animal from the highly tangential 3D TV.

Second, the purchasing patterns will largely be guided by 4K TV price drops, and these are already happening at a rapid rate. Just as of this last week, TV maker Vizio came out with some of the most inexpensive 4K TVs on the market today but did so while sticking to a large number of very high quality, premium brand features.

Vizio's new P602ui-B3

Vizio’s new ultra affordable 4K TVs are revolutionizing the pricing structure of UHD display

According to White however, “Ultra HD on an 80 inch screen is fabulous for certain content, but on a less than 40 inch screen, it’s not so clear to me it’s different enough, but we’ll see from consumers as the industry evolves”.

Given that less than 40 inch 4K screens for laptops and PCs are already selling well and 4k screens for even smaller screens on smartphones and tablets are already in the pipeline, the problem of 4K not being desirable on less than 40 inch screens already seems to be something of a moot point.

White also says that he expects DirecTV’s first 4K content will likely put more focus on broadcasts of special events instead of regular movie and TV show content. However, he also believes that in the following years, DirecTV intends to stream an ever wider selection of live content and more general movies and shows.

Currently, the company supports over 184 channels in Full HD 1080p but the big effort in the direction of Ultra HD will be supported by entirely new satellites that the company plans to have launched in the next 18 months.

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