Satellite Operator SES claims 4K ultra HD breakthrough in partnership with Armstrong

by on July 21, 2015

Stephan Jukic – July 21, 2015

Major satellite operator SES has begun what can be called the first ever live and linear 4K transmission trial with the cooperation of U.S Cable multiple system operator (MSO) Armstrong.

The two companies are working together to bring a camera-to-screen ultra HD 4K ecosystem online from the Armstrong headquarters in the town of Butler, Pennsylvania. The camera-to-screen technology being used is primarily the baby of SES but with augmentation from Armstrong’s cable operations.

SES’s 4K UHD offering was first unveiled in April of 2015 at the NAB Conference and combines broadcast and IP (internet Protocol) technologies into a single fully managed and highly scalable service. Furthermore, the solution from SES leverages satellite broadcast technology power and the multicasting capacities of DOCSIS 3.0 to bring 4K into a new playing field in the broadcast space. In order to do this, SES is also relying on Armstrong because the DOCSIS standard, an advanced transmission system, is used by Armstrong and a number of other large cable companies today.

According to Mike Giobbi, Chief Technology Officer at Armstrong, “We have a great long-term relationship with SES that enables us to innovate with satellite-delivered content solutions and provide exciting new potential offerings…. We look forward to testing ultra HD on our cable system and working closely with SES on this exciting solution.”

A 4K broadcast via satellite being delivered to a Sony ultra HD TV through one of the ASTRA satellites operated by SES

A 4K broadcast via satellite being delivered to a Sony ultra HD TV through one of the ASTRA satellites operated by SES

Furthermore, Steve Corda, VP of Business Development for SES in North America explained that SES is very excited to have Armstrong as a partner in testing their linear UHD 4K broadcasting solutions in a real-time, real world environment. He further noted that the results of these tests will support a lot of progress toward both companies objective of linear live broadcast 4K UHD TV.

This of course would mean a roll-out of 4K resolution to households with the right TVs across the North American market. Best of all, the system would be highly scalable and should ideally work at a peak level of performance efficiency in transmitting the high bandwidth data that 4K resolution requires with its 8.2 million pixels, roughly 4 times as many as normal 1080p HD graphics.

The ideal of moving 4K content into the world of conventional linear broadcasting is still in what could mostly be called experimental development and most 4K content being actually delivered to consumers throughout North America (or other markets for that matter) is still getting there via high speed internet connections, via IP channels in other words.

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