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Trials underway to demonstrate 4K streaming to set-top box
Thursday 13 June 2013 10:12:08 by Andrew Ferguson

NTT West is partnering with NTT SmartConnect to carry out a 3 day trial of pushing a 4K video stream to a TV set-top box in Japan. In itself this is not that exciting, but they are using a H.265 HEVC codec which is the more effecient successor to the common H.264 codec.

4K TVs display a picture with a vertical resolution of 2160 pixels, double the current 1080p standard and so far it has been assumed that 100 Mbps would be needed to stream a good 4K picture. The H.265 codec is said to halve the amount of data to transmit a video stream without noticeable loss of quality, and potentially could also be used on existing HD streams to allow more channels into the same radio spectrum or simply use less bandwidth to get HD content over a broadband connection.

The other option is for broadcasters to actually increase the quality of their HD feeds by upgrading the codec, as current HD streams do show some compression artifacts. The level of compression achieved on current HD streams is apparent when you consider the raw data stream is 1.6 Gbps and most satellite HD transmissions are broadband in the 9 Mbps to 13 Mbps range.

4K televisions are still very expensive, but the price is dropping rapidly and we suspect demand for 4K will surpass 3D once the price drops to under £1000.


Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
I doubt most people will see any difference. In my experience most people's TV is too small for the distance from their seat to really benefit from current HD.

Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
(cont'd) in any case it also seems that most people don't care. They care enough to /buy/ an HDTV but when it comes to watch most will happily watch an SD stream even if an HD stream is available typically because 'I can't remember the HD channel number' or 'It's too much hassle to switch over'.
Posted by welshwarrior over 4 years ago

Where do you get your info from? Most people I know would never watch an SD channel over a HD one - it's simply a case of using the TV remote to view the channel via the guide!
Posted by SlimJ over 4 years ago
@welshwarrior My dad does exactly this (and I expect there are many others like him). Says he cannot see a different so sticks with SD even though we have HD!
Posted by idf03 over 4 years ago
@welshwarrior, especially as my Humax pops up in the corner to say 'press OK to watch in HD' and automatically selects the HD version if I try to record the SD.
Posted by welshwarrior over 4 years ago

Those Humax boxes are great - gonna get one of those next pay day!!
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
I Still watch the BBC on SD when the news comes on as they insist on just showing a blank screen for the local news rather than put something on.

So I go to SD and forget to go back.

The only time I make sure that HD is on and running is for Dr Who.

I only just got a 1080p TV last year so I doubt that I will be getting a 4k one anytime soon and Sky is still transmitting in 720p/1080i so unless we get a shift in actual content to 4k I will stay put with what I have.
Posted by ryant704 over 4 years ago
You have a nice 4/5 year wait until you need to get one... at least I would think.
Posted by bobdvb over 4 years ago
The main reason that most people think that SD sucks in quality is heavy compression. I have shown uncompressed SD that people could have sworn was HD, but we live in a world of commercial pressures so we compress stuff.

I am very sceptical about 4k, it looks fantastic close up, when you stand at normal viewing distances you can't really see the resolution. There was an EBU study which showed that most people can't tell 720p vs 1080p, so 4k is a leap beyond. What makes 4k look fantastic? 100Mbit/sec!

Worth reading Geoffrey Morrison:
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
@undecideadrian: 720 isn't used anywhere in the UK. Channels on Sky are either 576i (SD) or 1080i (HD).
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Ok but the Sky Box has 2 display modes of 720p or 1080i.

I didn't know which one was it's "native" and which one it converted.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
That setting upscales 576i and downscales 1080i.

From 2006:

and if you want to be confused:


It would have been nice if analogue -> digital could have rationalised things. Fat chance it seems.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
agreed, if ou watch old analogue SD on a CRT, it looks as good as HD to naked eye. Its just new lcd tv's make SD look really bad due to the sharpness. Plus on platforms that use compression they use heavier compression on SD.
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