Sky Deutschland getting ready for Ultra HD 4K with live test broadcasts

by on December 22, 2014

Stephan Jukic – December 22, 2014

The German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland has decided to move more concretely forward in creating a regularly running Ultra HD service that delivers assorted content to the company’s millions of German and other European viewers in 4K.

For now however, they’re keeping things simple and have only gone with a live 4K transmission of a concert by the German hip-hop band Die Fantastischen Vier this last Saturday the 20th of December. From Stuttgart, Germany.

The concert transmission is a single small step and is also Sky Deutschland’s only ultra HD production since earlier test transmissions of football (soccer) matches in 4K ultra HD that were done earlier in 2014. However, given that we’re talking about a live transmission in full UHD at 3840 x 2160 pixels, this is still something a bit more impressive than a typical ultra HD stream of pre-recorded content.

The test run of the concert was made as part of general experimentation in transmitting UHD content so that more experience could be gained by the company before it unveils a full-blown 4K broadcast service at some point in the near future.

For the concert itself, a total of 10 native UHD video production cameras were used to capture the performance and the signal was encoded as a 35 Mps HEVC signal in real-time collaboration with a company called Fraunhofer HHI/Rohde & Schwarz. After encoding, the signal was transmitted at 50 frames per second in Dolby 5.1 for testing and in Audio 3D 9.1 for the first time ever.

Live sports and concert broadcasts done in 4K resolution will be a major audience pull in the next couple years

Live sports and concert broadcasts done in 4K resolution will be a major audience pull in the next couple years

As far as actual viewing of the concert event goes, the audience was almost laughably small; a single, audience filled Arri Cinema in Munich and outside of that venue, just four test households, all equipped with Sony Bravia 55X9 4K TVs that has been provided by Son y in collaboration with the Sky Deutschland effort.

These are some pretty small steps on the part of the German broadcaster but they’re at least moving in the right direction as far as 4K content is concerned.

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