The first free-to-Air 4K channel in Europe is…… A German shopping channel

by on July 9, 2015

Stephan Jukic – July 09, 2015

While it may be a major achievement in broadcast history, the first free-to-air broadcast TV 4K channel in European history doesn’t exactly fuel enormous excitement for the caliber of its content.

Instead of showcasing beautiful nature documentaries or fast-action movies and TV shows, the channel, the German equivalent of the Home Shopping Network, streams sales offers and assorted products as demonstrated by two on-screen hosts to viewers with 4K TVs in the United Kingdom, most of Europe and in Germany itself.

Nonetheless, as we said, the new satellite broadcast channel is a milestone for broadcasting technology and while the shopping content angle is a bit of an odd choice, it will likely pave the way for the implementation of much more exciting content down the road.

According to what we know so far, broadcast technology firm SES Platform Services will handle both the satellite channel and its online streaming version, with plenty of learning in the process about how to effectively managed the workflows and content delivery mechanisms of 4K resolution to a broad broadcast audience. According to Sophie Lersch, chief product officer for services at SES, the UHD aspect of the new channel places highly specific and challenging demand on playout, encoding and content management, areas in which the company is learning a lot with the 4K angle.

Furthermore, Lersch stated that, “As a result, we can now offer all services that broadcasters and content providers need in order to market and distribute their content in UHD [4K] –linear or on-demand, and via satellite or the internet”.

SES Platform Services is particularly qualified to manage the new 4K broadcast channel since it operates a group of Astra 28.2°E satellites which also handle transmissions for Sky and Freesat in the United Kingdom. The 4K channel will be broadcast from the Astra 19.2°E satellite group, which is also used to handle a German HD+ free-to-air service.

BT Sport 4K ultra HD will soon broadcast Champions League games in full 4K resolution

BT Sport 4K ultra HD will soon broadcast Champions League games in full 4K resolution

Product reviews conducted in German may not sound all that exciting even if they’re delivered in native 4K resolution but, again, they represent a milestone in the transmission of 4K content in general. Furthermore, as we’ve covered earlier, European 4K TV owners will soon also be able to access the BT Sport Ultra HD channel as well. This service offers a much more interesting delivery of Premier and Champions League games in full native 4K ultra HD resolution.

Pricing details for the upcoming BT Sport service aren’t yet open to the public but it will mainly be available via internet streaming to TV through ultra-high speed internet connections of 30 or more Mbps.

BT Sport launches as of August 2nd to European customers.

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