4K Broadcasting

Since there’s an HD broadcasting thread, I thought I’d start a 4K broadcasting thread also, given the current 4K transmissions being tested in Sydney.

To start things off, I’ve uploaded the 4K demo loop currently broadcasting in Sydney:

Notes:

  • The SBS section of the loop had to be removed due to a copyright claim from FIFA.
  • The bitrate of the 4K transmission is about 15 Mbps, using the HEVC/H265 codec. Audio is AAC.
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Interesting ‘Nine 4K’ watermark in that loop.

I wonder when standard 4K broadcasts will commence in Australia (if ever).

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Didn’t realise a commercial network was testing.

Original story I read (think it was TV Tonight) had public broadcasters in partnership FreeTV and Broadcast Australia at 3 transmission sites in Sydney licence market.

The licences were issued to Free TV which is owned by the all the commercial television networks. Not surprising then that the commercial networks were involved.

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It probably goes without saying that these 4K broadcasts as part of the Sydney DVB-T2 trials are the first of their kind on terrestrial TV in Australia, but how do they rank on an international scale? Are there any broadcasters in the world currently transmitting in 4K on a regular basis? :slight_smile:

Probably sometime between 2020 and 2025 would be my guess.

If the concept of 4KTV via terrestrial transmission takes off, I wonder if Nine’s new North Sydney HQ may be the first TV broadcasting facility in Australia to be 4K-ready? Because knowing how Nine seem to be Australia’s most advanced FTA commercial TV broadcaster when it comes to producing content in HD and that they seem to be the only commercial network (so far) to contribute 4K content as part of this trial…

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On Terrestrial TV? Not that I know of. Though Paris currently has similar tests going on.

On Satellite, Cable or Streaming things look a bit different though.

Sky UK and BTsport both have a 4K channels and the BBC shows some World Cup matches in 4K via the iPlayer.

In Germany Sky also has 4K channels and is showing some matchs of the World Cup (which they sublicensed from the public broadcasters). Then there is HD+ with their UHD1-Channel which shows various programming from different participating FTA networks and the biggest comercial channel RTL just launched their own 4K channel to show F1.

In Brazil there is SporTV 4K which showed matches of the 2014 World Cup and is broadcasting select events ever since.

In France TF1, Canal+, BeinSport and SFR Sport have 4K channels.

TRT (the Turkish public broadcaster) has a 4K channel, so does SRF from Switzerland and TVP from Poland and the Austrian ORF as a similar streaming setup to the BBC for 4K.

There probably is more, but that’s the ones I currently know about from the top of my head.

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Makes you wonder what the hell are Foxtel doing? We haven’t heard a single thing about them doing 4K.

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Pay TV broadcaster Now in Hong Kong is showing this year’s World Cup on a separate 4K channel.
I think NHK in Japan is planning a 4K channel as well.

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Are the networks showing that one promo reel with everyone’s content, or are they running exclusive promo reels with that shared 4K 4Free advertisement? It is just the way the reel is edited and explained?

Also, what channels are these reels on out of curiosity?

Apparently their iQ “3.5” box with slightly upgraded internals which some people have been getting supports outputting at 2160p.

For those who watched the clip early on, YouTube has finally finished encoding the 2160p version so you actually watch it in the original 4K resolution now.

LCN 401 = 4K
LCN 402 = 1080p
LCN 403 = 540p

NHK’s already planning an 8K channel:

Also, not sure if it’s just an encoder configuration issue, but it appears that at 15Mbps, the encoder struggles sometimes with complex scenes. See below screenshot from the original video file:

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Are the loops the same on all of LCNs?

also does anyone know when this testing is meant to finish? Wasn’t the original date June 30?

Yes.

I’m not getting a signal on 212.5 MHz at the moment. Lucky that I recorded it just before it finished.

I’ve got the IQ3.5 (not that they’d ever tell you; it states it underneath the box) and I can set it to output 4K. Would be nice for them to get 4K going or at least improve their HD offering!

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The Fetch Mighty box also does 4K. I think it can serve content from the Netflix app in 4K.

Would have been good for them to trial 4k at the inevitable low bit rates. Networks just won’t be able to run 15Mbps 4k channels, outside of a trial environment.

I don’t think the economics will ever stack up - getting the multichannels all in HD is something far more viable for networks, and a much better use of any added capacity from a permanent DVB-T2 multiplex.

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If a commercial network gets to retain its on mux with about 3mbps on DVB-T2, they could do something like:

  • Main channel 4K - 15Mbps
  • Three secondary channels 1080p - 5Mbps
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Probably what some thought about the advent of digital HD when SD was already just being introduced.

Yes, this! Keep all SD on regular DVB-T and maybe HD primary channels to show people what they’re missing out on. Any further advances in picture quality or new channels to be reserved exclusively on DVB-T2.

The current spectrum plan allows for just one spare channel in each market - so that would have to serve all broadcasters. There isn’t spectrum room to allow for an additional set of frequencies one for each network.

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Do the networks currently produce enough content for 4K channels to be worthwhile? Because IMO, it wouldn’t be worth having 4K channels just for a handful of programs and/or demonstration loops like the early days of HD.

At the moment, I reckon the networks should aim to get all existing channels and new programming produced in 1080p (or at least 1080i like the current crop of MPEG4 DVB-T HD services) under DVB-T2/HEVC. Having say…3.5-4mbps per channel would make for decent quality 1080p services under HEVC, right?

When a majority of new programs are being produced in 4K, then I’ll be happy to talk about the idea of 4K channels.

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