April 23, 2013
Satellite operator SES announced that in partnership with Harmonic and Broadcom it has created the first Ultra HD transmission in the new HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) standard live from an ASTRA satellite. The end-to-end demo was presented at SES Industry Days in Luxembourg. The company claims the new standard features up to 50 percent improvement in encoding efficiency, as compared to MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) broadcasts.
The demonstration “used Harmonic’s ProMedia Xpress and a HEVC decoder reference-design system based on Broadcom’s BCM7445 device for receiving HEVC encoded Ultra-HD television transmission,” explains the press release. “The signal was broadcast in DVB-S2 using a data rate of 20 Mbit/s.”
“We’re still a bit away from Ultra HD becoming the standard for television,” suggests Engadget. “One of the things standing in the way is just how much bandwidth pushing that many pixels demands… The tech still isn’t quite ready for prime time, but we’d say a 4K ‘House of Cards’ stream is probably closer than any of us realized.”
“We are convinced that the HEVC standard will become the option of choice for TV operators broadcasting Ultra HD content and expect the industry to develop prototype Ultra HD receivers in the coming months,” says Thomas Wrede, VP Reception Systems, SES. “With this initiative SES will be significantly driving the Ultra HD ecosystem forward and provide a 24/7 test channel to its industry partners.”