Ultra-HD is making significant progress around the world (channel count up 27 per cent) in particular over the past 6 months, according to data from Eutelsat presented at last week’s MIPTV programming market in Cannes.
Claudia Vaccarone (Eutelsat’s Director of Global Market Research) told delegates that Eutelsat was carrying about 33 per cent of the UHD channels on air, and that the global count was some 125 channels. “Here come the channels,” she said, and Eutelsat used the occasion to announce that it was now carrying an all-UHD factual channel from NASA.
The global count (at the end of March 2018) was:
– Satellite/DTH individual channel 52 channels
– Sat/DTH physical feeds – 81 channels
– Cable/IPTV – 71 channels
– DTT – 2 channels
Vaccarone reminded delegates that the progress towards HDTV transmission was also slow, and despite HDTV now being the accepted transmission standard, the fact is that the current global channel count is about 11,700 HD channels, and that this number represents just 27 per cent of the channels on air. In other words, in the 12 years or so that digital HD has been available there are still tens of thousands of channels still transmitting in Standard Definition.
She welcomed the MIPTV event and its focus on UHD programming, but echoed Stuart Smitherman (Vivicast Media’s president) and his comments that the US was about two years behind the rest of the world, and in particular Europe, because of a shortage of suitable set-top box receivers for UHD technology especially in the cable and satellite sector.
Christopher Baugh, president of Northern Sky Research, speaking in a blog last week from the giant NAB show in Las Vegas, said much the same: “UHD uptake for satellite companies lagging with the big barrier being UGD set-top deployment. 1 – 2 years behind schedule.”
Set against this picture is the growth in suitable UHD displays, complete with their integrated ‘smart TV’ and 4K-capabilities (and usually with High Dynamic Range and even Hybrid Log Gamma functionality), which allows viewers to watch any amount of output from Netflix and Amazon Prime.