TDF to expand digital-terrestrial UHD trial

French media regulator the CSA has authorised transmission services provider TDF to use a third digital-terrestrial channel to pilot UHD TV services in the Île-de-France, Nantes and Toulouse areas.

TDF will add DTT channel 83 to channels 81 and 82, which have been in service since 2014. The channels are distributed via three digital-terrestrial frequencies.

TDF has led UHD tests in France from transmitters at the Eiffel Tower over the last five years. The trial was extended in May to the Île-de-France, Nantes and Toulouse with a number of ‘multi-city’ tests aimed at consumers equipped with DVB-T2/HEVC UHD TVs.

The company, in partnership with TV channels and other including the French tennis federation, has distributed signals including Wide Colour Gamut and High Dynamic Range – in  the HDR10 format ­– in addition to 4K resolution, and will soon add Higher Frame-Rate video.

TDF has teamed up with technology outfit Ateme to provide compression for its UHD service. According to TDF, improvements in HEVC compression technology have enabled the launch of the third channel, with the required bandwidth falling from 40Mbps to 33Mbps, which, alongside variable bit-rate encoding, has enabled it to fit an extra channel into its experimental UHD multiplex.

Other partners for the trial include The Explorer, the INA and St Thomas Production. SDR footage has been converted to HDR10 thanks to technology developed by research institute B<>COM.

According to the CSA, 31% of sales of TVs in France in 2017 were of UHD models.

Read Next