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We can expect a launch of DirecTV 4K UHD live sports broadcasting services by early 2016

by on December 1, 2015

Stephan Jukic – December 1, 2015

The satellite pay-TV services giant DirecTV, which also happens to be a part of AT&T, is right now in the process of testing out ultra HD 4K sportscast transmissions via satellite as a run-up to a formal launch of this service at some point in early 2016.

DirecTV, which has launched two new satellites into orbit in the last year for the sake of eventually developing direct 4K video and live content transmission services for subscribers, is now moving ever closer to being a major leader in this growing content landscape.

DirecTV’s SVP of video and space communications, Phil Goswitz has confirmed these new developments at a fairly recent TranSPORT conference in New York City and stated that “Our goal is to have them [subscribers] tuned to DirecTV and have as much linear live content, especially sports content as soon as possible”.

DirecTV is already offering a rather limited OTT service of 4K entertainment distribution and has been doing so since late 2014 but the existing service is available to only some consumers and comes with a very limited selection of content.

In response to the question of where the biggest gap in 4K UHD technology is now found, Goswitz explained to delegates and reporters that “There are only three questions – Where’s the content? Where’s the damn content? Where’s the goddam content?”

One of the DirecTV satellites that will be used for the 2016 4K live content broadcasting service being launched in 2014

One of the DirecTV satellites that will be used for the 2016 4K live content broadcasting service being launched in 2014

He also went on to explain that even now, DirecTV already has the capacity to launch as many as 50 UHD 4K channels at a transmission rate of 30Mb/s, in addition to its extensive collection of HD and SD channels which are well established on the consumer media market. According to Goswitz, the technical challenges around offering the same breadth of service with 4K video content have already been mostly solved.

In other words, we can assume that DirecTV is now simply ironing out the details and serious about launching their service in the first quarters of next year.

Goswitz also went on to state that, “I think the belief that there are technology challenges is a bit of a misinformed myth. I think technology throughout the entire ecosystem is ready. But I think content is king; the plane is ready to take off and there is no king on board. So we are moving into working with partners who are enthusiastic about it [4K entertainment content] and we are bringing our check-books. Forty% of people are going to have UHD TVs coming out of Christmas…”

Now, for us consumers and 4K technology watchers alike, the only thing left to do is wait and see. The current content landscape for 4K movies, programming and live entertainment broadcasts most of all is still strangely and annoyingly sparse, even as 4K UHD TV sales grow almost exponentially in nearly all major electronics markets. With this strange divergence of trends in place, a massive new injection of advanced and possibly even live satellite broadcast content in 4K ultra HD from DirecTV would certainly be welcome news to millions of UHD TV owners in the U.S alone.

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