SES pioneers first Ultra HD transmission

MUMBAI: Global satellite operator SES has announced that, together with its partners Harmonic, which offers video delivery infrastructure, and Broadcom which offers semiconductor solutions, it has pioneered what it says is the first Ultra HD transmission in the new HEVC standard live from an Astra satellite at 19.2 degrees East. The HEVC standard features an up to 50 per cent encoding efficiency improvement, compared to previous test broadcasts in MPEG-4 AVC (H.264).

The end-to-end demonstration which was presented at the SES Industry Days in Luxembourg 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. The signal was broadcast in DVB-S2 using a data rate of 20 Mbit/s.

The live demonstration for the first time broadcasts a full 3840x2160 pixel Ultra HD picture in HEVC, while previous demonstrations were either broadcast in H.264 or using 4 HD pictures in parallel. SES first live-broadcast a full 3840x2160 pixel Ultra HD picture using the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) standard at IBC 2012.

SES VP reception systems Thomas Wrede said, "We are very proud to present the first Ultra HD demo in the HEVC standard on satellite. SES has once again taken a leadership role in the industry by broadcasting the first real Ultra HD picture in a commercially realistic bandwidth.

“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. With this initiative SES will be significantly driving the Ultra HD ecosystem forward and provide a 24/7 test channel to its industry partners."

Harmonic senior director of emerging technology, strategy Ian Trow said, "SES has achieved an important industry first with Harmonic and Broadcom. This DVB-S2 transmission clearly demonstrates the benefit of HEVC encoding using the Harmonic ProMedia in a live to air Satellite application. A significant compression improvement has been achieved using HEVC when compared to previous Ultra HD deployments using MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)"

Broadband Communications Group associate product line director Joseph Del Rio said, "Broadcom is working to advance the adoption of HEVC technologies - and ultimately the distribution of UltraHD content - with SES. HEVC is the catalyst that will drive UltraHD television with its telepresence-like resolution to consumers."

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