Channel 4 has successfully launched its first HD service. C4 HD launched in December and is carried on BSkyB's digital DTH service, with core technology supplied by Pro-Bel. Channel 4 is a long-term customer of the company and this is the extension of an ongoing business relationship, writes Fergal Ringrose.
The channel, which runs in parallel with the SD variant, uses a mixture of native HD content, the amount of which is quickly increasing, according to C4's Technology Projects Manager, Robert Luggar, and SD content that is upconverted to HD. As part of this service the broadcaster has purchased and installed additional Morpheus automation as well as Masterpiece master control technology and a 32 x 32 SD/HD Sirius router.
"We felt that the time was right to extend the channel's presence into the developing HD market. With the amount of content available in HD increasing it made sense to do it now. The biggest technical challenge was not actually the video, it was devising the systems to handle the multitrack audio content. We were also working to very tight timescales and this HD solution had to integrate seamlessly with existing Pro-Bel technology. The installation was very smooth with the Pro-Bel technology working pretty much first time," says Luggar.
"We have worked with Channel 4 closely over the years to provide it with systems as it grows and its business evolves. It is always particularly satisfying to extend relationships like this and it shows a clear confidence in our abilities," says Adrian Scott, chief marketing officer, Pro-Bel.