UAE telecom Du to introduce 4K content broadcasting in the Emirates

by on January 26, 2016

Stephan Jukic – January 26, 2016

In a move that’s aimed as apparently direct competition to the recent efforts of Etisalat to give UAE subscribers access to 4K ultra HD content via set-top box distribution technology, Du, the UAE telecom provider will start its own 4K content broadcast service.

The company has already claimed that it is teaming up with several different studios and facilities for content upgrades and 4Kvideo production and this announcement comes just a month after Du’s competitor Etisalat, also laid out its plans for 4K content delivery to subscribers for the first quarter of 2016.

According to Samera Geissah, Vice-President of Consumer, New Business and Innovation at Du, “Very soon, we plan to introduce 4K streaming to our subscribers. We have already obtained rights from certain studios for delivering their content. To start with, we will be offering a bunch of TV series and movies in 4K”

The service is expected to go live at some point near the end of March and will take advantage of the growing popularity of 4K ultra HD TVs in the UAE and surrounding markets. 4K televisions have been gaining popularity in the region since 2014 but the lack of native UHD content for these new home entertainment systems has hampered their effectiveness and limited them to upscaled display of conventional Full HD content for the most part.

online 4K content services like Netflix are creating pressure among telcos to offer their own UHD entertainment

online 4K content services like Netflix are creating pressure among telcos to offer their own UHD entertainment

Thus, both telcos and other content service providers are under growing pressure to start introducing new 4K entertainment content due to the combination of growing 4K TV sales and the expanding presence of online 4K streaming video content from international services like Netflix, ICFlix and Starz.

Netflix in particular has a major brand footprint and has become legally available in the UAE as of a few weeks ago, with offerings of numerous titles in 4K ultra HD.

Along with this competition, Du is also facing a similar battle against Etisalat, which announced that it has partnered with Huawei of China to introduce the first 4K IPTV service for the Middle East and Africa, which will be available to Etisalat’s eLife customers as of the end of the first quarter of 2016. This new Etisalat service will also involve the introduction of a new set-top box with 4K video capability.

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