The technological details of DirecTV’s recently launched 4K Ultra HD content service

by on December 2, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – December 2, 2014

As is becoming more widely known among fans of 4K content and technology, DirecTV has also recently jumped on the bandwagon with a major investment in ultra HD. The company has unveiled a 4K VOD content service to customers who also own certain brands of 4K TVs and as of 2015 is also expected to offer a Live 4K transmission service thanks to two new satellites being launched by the company that will be capable of directly beaming live broadcasts to subscribers on Earth.

Now, Elemental Technologies, a platform partner of DirecTV’s in the deployment of the media company’s UHD content, has shed more light on exactly how the DirecTV VOD service is expected to work.

Elemental Technologies video processing and transcoding platform was the one selected by DirecTV for delivering the content the latter company is offering to its user base and according to Elemental, DirecTV is tapping into the platform providers “Elemental” server to prepare 4K VOD movies and shows with HEVC compression encoding for the sake of easier delivery to customers who already have an Internet-connected Genie HD-DVR of model HR30 or above and also own a 2014 Samsung Ultra HD TV.

Unfortunately, only owners of Samsung 4K TVs can currently access DirecTV's 4K VOD service

Unfortunately, only owners of Samsung 4K TVs can currently access DirecTV’s 4K VOD service

Unfortunately, other brands of 4K TV aren’t yet supported by DirecTV’s service but this is expected to change in the near future.

Other customers of Elemental also include media broadcasting giants such as the BBC, HBO, ESPN, ABC News, Comcast and CBS Interactive. Of these, the BBC and Comcast are also planning on launching a 4K streaming application and service for Samsung UHD TVs by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.

DirecTV is the first U.S-based MVPD platform to unveil a VOD offering for its customers. The service has been available since the month of October and has launched with a still to be expanded selection of some 30 titles from Paramount Pictures and K2 Communications.

Some of the selections include titles like the 2009 Star Trek movie, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “Dinosaurs Alive!”, “Amistad” and “Forrest Gump”.

These titles and others are being offered as part of a pay-per-view service that averages between $3.99 and $15.99 per download.

DirecTV has promised to grow its 4K selection as popularity increases and more TV models support their VOD platform and the company has also pledged to unveil a limited amount of live 4K content as of 2015 after it has launched its transmission satellites into orbit. Other benefits expected of the company and its satellite transmission for 2015 include linear 4K channels and much broader ultra HD streaming services.

Of the two satellites, a Ka-band machine called DirecTV-14 is the one that will be principally hosting the company’s ultra HD transmissions. These satellites were slated for launch on December 4th from French Guiana but have been delayed slightly due to bad weather.

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