MIPCOM: Growing UHD channels chase consumer electronics-led market

Samsung's JS9500 SUHD TV

The number of UHD TV channels globally is growing from a small base, but the transition to UHD is being led by sales of UHD TVs rather than content, MIPCOM attendees heard this morning.

Speaking on a session on UHD TV at MIPCOM, Claudia Vaccarone, head of market research and CX at Eutelsat, said that there are about 30 UD channels and services worldwide with 54 different feeds on satellite. There are also 30 IPTV services distributed on terrestrial fixed networks and DTT channels are also being tested.

Vaccarone cited Northern Sky Research numbers that showed that on satellite, there are 54 different feeds, expected to rise to 785 by 2025.

She said that Europe is leading the way with 22 services, followed by 17 in North America. There are eight in Asia, three in Russia, three in the Middle East and one in Africa.

Vaccarone said that 16 of the channels are demo channels, while 13 are pay TV platform branded. Thirty of the channels are in English. Thirty-two are free to air.

Eutelsat has 10 UHD channels on its platform, on five orbital slots. FunBox 4K has joined Eutelsat’s 4K1 and 4K2 at 13 degrees East. 4K Africa and Digiturk offer channels at 7 degrees East, while Insight UHD , Fashion one 4K and Tricolor Ultra HD are at 36 degrees East. Fransat’s Ultra HD demo channels is at 5 degrees West while  Middle East pay TV provider OSN will soon launch a channel at 7-8 degrees West, said Vaccarone, who cited Eutelsat’s recent study with DTVE to show that industry awareness of UHD was now very high.

Rian Bester, CEO of  INsight channel provider TV Entertainment Reality Network (TERN), speaking on the same session, said that the transition to UHD would not be like the transition to HD, which was content-driven. UHD had been driven by the rollout of 4K screens and sales had increased dramatically, he said, while the availability of content lags behind. “What’s lacking this time is content. We have been leading the way with producing that content,” he said. “We are truly creating compelling content in UHD. We are on track to produce 200 hours this year. We have commissioned our first for shows with HDR. Everything is in 50fps.”

Bester said some lower resolution content masquerading as UHD TV had given UHD a bad name and this was a problem. However, he said TERN is doing its best to promote true UHD. He said that TERN had looked at delivering content via mobile, tablet, PC and smart TV and is looking at game consoles.

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