Luxembourg’s satellite broadcasting company — SES Astra — is planning to launch Ultra HD channels in “two to three years”. President and CEO, Romain Bausch, told analysts that the satellite operator could help pioneers such as BSkyB with the launch of Ultra High Definition broadcasts. This news is earlier than previously anticipated, it is to be further discussed this week when SES holds its Investors Day in London on May 22.
“U-HDTV is still in its early days but NHK’s approach is for full 8K [transmission] but the other U-HDTV is 4K and we see this as being more commercially focused and could be a reality only two or three years from now. We are very confident that U-HDTV will happen. BSkyB lead the introduction of HDTV in Europe so do not be surprised if you see us partnering with BSkyB in order to pioneer the introduction of Ultra HDTV in the next two to three years. We are in close cooperation with our customers on their plans,” said Bausch.
Bausch added that there is ample capacity for Ultra HD transmissions available at 28.2 degrees East for the UK and Ireland, and 19.2 degrees East for mainland Europe. “SES is well prepared, and as soon as our customers are ready we are ready and without any additional capacity investment needed on our behalf.”
Other satellite companies, like DirecTV, have suggested preparations for Ultra HD transmissions.
The specifications for Ultra HDTV include 8K and 4K resolutions. NHK has been developing and showcasing the impressive results of of 8K resolution (7680×4320 pixels), which is 16 times sharper than current high-definition television. While 8K may take time to mature, 4K is certainly the next logical step in Ultra HD’s journey, since 4K flat panel displays are already shipping from manufacturers.