Intelsat and four other companies are staging a live demo of 4K video to show that it can be done with existing infrastructure and equipment today, although significant commercial launches are still some time away, and its potential as a revenue generator remains unclear.
The demo - hosted at the Intelsat stand at CommunicAsia2014 (S3-01) - involves 4K video of a rugby match transmitted from London to Singapore on BT Global Media Network via Intelsat’s IS-19 satellite, using equipment from Ericsson, Newtec and Sony.
“All of these components can be bought off the shelf,” said Ken Takagi, director of managed services media at Intelsat.
Takagi said the demo used a compressed 92-Mbps transmission, which could be accommodated on one transponder of IS-19.
Mark Wilson-Dunn, VP of global sales and marketing director for BT Media & Broadcast, said the company didn’t have to do anything to its network to support the 4K stream.
While the demo was intended to illustrate that 4K - also known as ultra-high definition video (UHD) - is a technological reality today, Takagi admitted that there’s still work to be done on the terrestrial side in terms of headend and CPE equipment.
“We need next-generation chipsets to come to market, because 4K requires more processing power than HD. You have four times the pixels, twice the frame rate, and that’s not including the audio requirements. But those should be coming to market in a matter of months,” he said.