Videocon and Cisco join forces for 4K broadcasting in India

by on February 19, 2015

Stephan Jukic – February 19, 2015

Direct-to-Home (DTH) service provider Videocon joined has decided to go with software giant Cisco’s AnyRes Live UHD encoders as a crucial part of its effort to launch a 4K-enabled Ultra HD broadcast viewing service that the company is working on.

The Cisco 4K encoders are in the midst of a global launch and represent a deliberate ingredient in a widely planned participation by the company in “redefining TV viewing”. For this reason, the encoders are designed to deliver supposedly best-in-class quality for the needs of real-time media transmission applications like live sportscasts, 24-hour programming and general movie broadcast services.

Interestingly, this announcement by Videocon also comes right in the midst of the still ongoing 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Because 4K resolution offers four times the pixels of conventional Full HD, it gives viewers the benefit of an astonishingly clear picture quality even when viewed from extremely close distances. However, because of this same display quality and all its rich detail, 4K UHD is not easy to transmit via broadcast channels and requires a considerable investment in revamping infrastructure, hardware and software in order to be pulled off successfully.

This is one of the main reasons why most broadcasters worldwide have either shown little interest in developing 4K broadcasts or are only in the experimental stages of starting them. They’re waiting until a greater consumer demand develops through wider content options and more K4 TVs in actual households.

Videocon's DTH broadcast service, which will be starting 4K transmissions thanks to Cisco's AnyRes decoders

Videocon’s DTH broadcast service, which will be starting 4K transmissions thanks to Cisco’s AnyRes decoders

Videocon is essentially doing the same thing that a number of other more enterprising broadcasters in other countries have done; the company is taking crucial but moderate steps in producing its own 4K broadcasting ecosystem in a way that doesn’t leave the company overly exposed until enough customers are capable of enjoying ultra HD broadcasts to create a genuinely viable market for the service.

Some of the technical highlights of the new Cisco AnyRes Live UHD encoders include:

  • Encoding delivered via HEVC/H.265 codec such as the one used by many 4K streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime for their 4K content on the web
  • Broad frame rate support that ranges between 24fps and 60 frames per second
  • Picture quality that gives excellent color depth at 10 bits
  • Transmission with an UHD front end input that offers reliable synchronization with live signal feeds
  • Capacity for multi-format ABR encoding using both the 4K optimized H.265 and the older H.264 standard, meaning that the encoders can work with SD, HD and Full HD just as well as with UHD.
  • Flexible graphics processing features that include logo insertion etc.

The use of the Cisco encoders by Videocon marks their first ever public deployment and is a precursor to at least two more similar expansions in other Asian markets.

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