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Europe prepares for Ultra-HD

7 September 2012
Europe prepares for Ultra-HD

Sky Deutschland is the first of the Sky-branded European channels to come out firmly in favour of Ultra-HDTV. Brian Sullivan, CEO at Sky-D, is very clear: “We already have an Ultra-HDTV project working here. It’s all early days but I am a great enthusiast and a big and positive supporter of Ultra High Def.

“I first saw a demo about six years ago when the camera was about the size of a small car but even when I saw that almost static picture, I was totally, totally captivated and when it happens, I can promise you we will be one of the first. It makes sense for Pay-TV to showcase this technology in the first instance.”

His comments confirm the widespread industry gossip that suggests that other parts of the News Corp pay-TV broadcasting arms are also looking at U-HD for an early introduction. Sullivan’s experience included many years working at BSkyB on technology aspects of the business, notably the introduction of the Sky+ set-top box, HDTV and then 3D-TV. He has been running Sky Deutschland for three years.

Sullivan is not alone in planning for U-HDTV. Satellite operator SES, already carrying Sky’s UK and German signals, as well as Canal Plus, is also ready. Ferdinand Kayser is CCO at SES. “It’s been at the heart of SES since its early days to deliver a large choice of linear TV in the highest possible quality,” he affirmed. “With Ultra-HD we now see our customers, some of the largest broadcasters in the world, embracing an even higher picture quality.

“It will be the next big thing in broadcasting taking the consumer experience to the next level,” said Kayser. “It will make linear TV even stronger and more compelling and ensure satellite will remain the most powerful TV infrastructure in the future.”

Kayser added SES would go the ‘extra mile’ for U-HDTV, and is “contributing to the development of the necessary ecosystem — both operationally and technically — in order to make Ultra-HD happen."

It is the same at SPS, the SES-owned Munich playout centre used by Sky Deutschland. Wilfred Urner is CEO at SPS. “For me the question is not so much when we might start to play it out, we could do this tomorrow. To make U-HD a success for our clients the flat screens will have to be Ultra-HD ready, and it isn’t so many years ago that we had the same problem with high definition.” – Chris Forrester

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