Russia's NTV+ pay-TV operator will broadcast 4K material from this winter's Sochi Olympic Games (7-16 March 2014). Oleg Kolesnikov, CTO at NTV+, speaking at a special Eutelsat 4K event at IBC, told delegates that the transmissions would go to public viewing areas and cinemas.
"We have already been testing 4K in July in readiness for the Olympics and we very much want to demonstrate the technology to Russian viewers. Our tests were using the H.264 mosaic cluster of four images using Canon cameras and Ericsson encoders, and using Eutelsat satellites. As an intermediate solution this works but we need to move forward so that the complete image is encoded in one go. We have planned for other tests this autumn, but using HEVC technology."
Eutelsat's panelists including Jerome Vieron, advanced research manager at Ateme, stressed that 4K was much more than just a boost in pixel-count. "Our objective is to create a truly immersive experience and with our 4EVER partners we want to take this technology rapidly forward. But the truth is that we are only now at the starting block of the race."
Samsung's John Adam, head of business development, said: "This IBC is a 4K show. Last week's IFA show was very much a 4K event, although in truth we need to say 4K is kind of here today. There are still gaps that need filling. There are certainly discussions about the connectivity with the set-top box, and we have to solve copy-protection issues, but looking forward we are seeing broadcasters in Europe, in North America and in Asia who are gearing up for 4K. The 4K train left the station at CES in January. The industry is now awash with 4K displays and it is only going to get better."
Massimo Bertolotti, transmission & distribution manager at Sky Italia, stressed that for Sky-I its 3D transmissions remained a good revenue stream even though the company was looking ahead to 4K, and test transmissions (soccer, Formula 1, motor-bike racing) had already taking place. "We at Sky see 4K as the new viewing experience. Today the system isnÕt stable, because all of us are cutting and pasting existing technology and we have yet to see a complete 4K eco-system. We are discussing the FIFA World Cup with Sony for next year, but I am not sure the full chain will be in place for the soccer."