Register here for a free copy of SATELLITE & CABLE TV Magazine, SMS & email Update




March 2015

ULTRA HIGH DEF TV COMES TO INDIA


Indian TV viewers have got their first taste of Ultra High Definition TV (UHD TV) content.

Ultra High Definition TV sets have been available to Indian consumers for several months. However, Ultra High Definition content has been practically non existent, beyond a few demo clips that can be downloaded from the internet. This Ultra High resolution format needs huge video files, making even downloading such content a daunting task.


TECHNOLOGY

A TV picture is created by a series of Horizontal lines (The horizontal resolution). Each horizontal line is created by a series of dots. The number of dots is the vertical resolution.

High Definition (HD) has a resolution of 1920 dots wide x 1080 dots high = 2.07 million dots. Each dot on the screen is referred to as a pixel, and it is the smallest feature on a TV screen.

The HD Standard is also often referred to as 2K (i.e. 2,000) which is approximately the 1920 pixels along the width of the picture.

The next higher resolution - Ultra High Definition, doubles the dots in both directions. Hence UHD TV has a resolution of 3840 pixels wide x 2160 pixels. This yields approximately 8.29 million pixels on the TV screen. UHD TV is often referred to as 4K resolution (approx. 3,840), and UDH TVs as 4K TVs.

The UHD TV resolution is best exploited by large screen TVs (above 50 inch diagonal). Smaller screen sizes will simply appear as if the adjacent dots have merged.





BANDWIDTH HOG

UHD TV requires a large amount of satellite bandwidth. UHD transmissions utilise High Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC), which is 50% more efficient than the MPEG-4 used by most DTH platforms. A single UHD TV channel will still occupy space equivalent to 2 HD channels or 3.6 SD channels.


CRICKET IN UHD

Indian cricket fans had the option to view the Cricket World Cup in Ultra High Definition. The 2015 Cricket world cup ran from 14th February to 29th march 2015.

Internationally, Sports has always been a prime mover for value adding. It is hoped that in India too, UHD TV will get a boost from cricket. TV manufactures targeted enhanced sale of their high priced UHD TVs during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.


DTH STBS

Tata Sky and Videocon have both promoted their Ultra High Definition (4K) DTH STBs.

The Tata Sky 4K STB includes Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound, and is available to existing subscribers for Rs. 5,900 and new subscribers for Rs. 6,400.

The Videocon d2h 4K STB is available for Rs. 6,590 to new subscribers & Rs. 5,990 for existing customers.


NO PREMIUM FOR CONTENT

Both TataSky and Videocon did not charge extra (compared to HD TV charges) for the World Cricket Cup 2015 in UHD resolution.

"We are planning to offer more 4K content other than just the World Cup. We are working on monthly subscription," Videocon d2h CEO Anil Khera told the press. Khera also said that till broadcasters started producing content in 4K, Videocon d2h would have one channel in 4K UHD wherein content providers could provide their content. It would be uplinked from the company's Greater Noida facility.


LOOKING FORWARD

What UHD content will be available in future, will depend on the initial response from Indian consumers. UHD content is extremely expensive to transmit on satellite, and DTH platforms will not commit resources unless they see a positive consumer response. Also the other DTH platforms seem to have taken a wait-andwatch approach.