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Russian pay TV operators launching Ultra HD TV services

NTV+ UHD TVRussian pay TV operators NTV+ and MTS have separately unveiled plans to develop 4K Ultra HD TV services.

NTV+ plans to launch a service comprising three channels, available throughout the Russian Federation, in the next couple of months. The services will be available in the operator’s basic package at no extra cost.

NTV+ CEO Mikhail Demin told attendees at the CSTB conference in Moscow this week that the service would initially be available in western and central Siberia from March, extending to the Far East of the country in April and European Russia in May.

NTV+ plans to use the Express-AMU1, Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 satellites to extend the reach of the service across the entire country.

The operator’s move into UHD TV follows its decision to extend its satellite service to the Far East of the country for the first time. The broadcaster will begin selling its offering in this part of Russia in April via Express-AT2 at 140° East.

In addition to the Ultra HD announcement, NTV+ has now said that the package for the Far East region will comprise over 130 channels, including 15 movie services, eight premium SuperSport channels, and nine kids services.

MTS meanwhile has already kicked off with its first 4K Ultra HD TV broadcast. The operator launched a test broadcast of the Russian Extreme channel, which airs a mix of extreme sports content, on its satellite platform yesterday.

Content is encoded in the HEVC format and the broadcast is available to all MTS satellite customers with the appropriate equipment, including an Ultra HD TV and CAM module.

MTS’s satellite project chief Alexey Ivanov said that the company was working proactively to introduce new TV formats and hailed the Ultra HD TV broadcast as “an important step” for the operator.

Russia’s satellite pay TV frontrunner, Tricolor TV, started broadcasting in Ultra HD as early as November 2015, but only in the European apart of the country. The operator’s Ultra HD offering comprises TERN’s Insight UHD, an Ultra HD version of Fashion One and Russian Extreme.