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DIRECTV 4k Ultra HD Channel Anticipation


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#1 OFFLINE   ActiveHDdave

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

So when is Direct TV going to have some 4k programming....When they launch their new bird up in the sky?

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#2 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

That's an interesting question.

At the last Consumer Electronics Show (Jan 12), a number of us saw several 4K HDTVs presented - with stunning imagery. There was even a 3D 4K HDTV shown (the images below show the 4K HDTV and the 3D HDTV demo units). The Sharp booth had an 8K HDTV.

The important point of note on that is only 1 device we saw was actually running 4K original content - the rest showing 1080p content on the 4K devices. The one unit showing 4K content on a 4K HDTV was a clear leap in resolution, whereas those showing 1080p content on 4K HDTV's was better, but a noticeably lesser leap.

What was learned is that recording technology for 4K was still quite new, at least in North America.

Other things we learned - the bandwidth required to deliver 4K HDTV transmissions was significantly higher than 1080p as well. Roughly - 1 1080p HD channel needed approximately the same bandwidth as 5 SD channels to transmit. In the case of 4K HDTV, it takes about 5 times the bandwidth of 1080P.

The net impact - the transmission bandwidth for just one (1) 4K HDTV signal would be about the same as 25-28 SD channels from just a few years ago. This is a major capacity leap.

It is fair to assume that future DirecTV sat bandwidth will be mandatory to provide added bandwidth capacity.

In addition, the storage capacity of 4K HDTV content on some form of media is also exponentially greater. It also requires new recording cameras.

What all this means - we were told the higher probability is that the latest dual-sided high density 50 GB Blu Ray disks could now support 4K content, and would likely be the first source of distribution for 4K HDTV content. People who eventually have 4K HDTVs in their home in the next year or more will first use those 4K Blu Rays to show them off and use them.

Thereafter - probably 2,3, or maybe 4 years from now, mainstream 4K HDTV will be supported with broadcast content. The only thing that might impact or accelerate this timeline would be new content compression technology, which a few manufacturers are actually working on at this time.

We should learn more in a little over 3 weeks when several of us attend CES 2013 in January.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 011212 Sharp I-Cubed 4K TV display.jpg
  • 011212 LG WORLDS LARGEST 84 INCH 4K3D HDTV.jpg

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#3 OFFLINE   kevinturcotte

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

Not for awhile. Some actual 4k content would be nice first, then people actually having 4k TVs. It will also require box swaps, and may even require a whole new compression method. Directv started broadcasting HD when? Some people STILL haven't even upgraded to HD YET (My Father still has an SD receiver and an SDTV. He has ZERO desire to upgrade to HD unless it costs EXACTLY the same as what he's paying now).

#4 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:07 AM

At some point sat (and cable for that matter) providers as well as content owners are going to have to change their approach in order to support emerging technologies at reasonable cost.

The broadcast model has to end. Rebroadcasting the same program over and over and over consumes an immense amount of bandwidth and other resources.

DVRs are already wildly successful. Do everything possible to move to a model where the DVR is the standard for every home. Single DVR in every home standard (HR34 + C31s).

At the same time begin reducing the amount of rebroadcast and the number of channels. How many HBO/SHO/MAX/STRZ channels do we need? ONE each. When you go from rebroadcasting the same program a dozen+ times to once you need 1/12 the channels.

Think about how much unique programming there is each month. A small fraction of the number of hours X number of channels.

Broadcast is a terribly inefficient method of delivery.

The ultimate conclusion is some kind of "PPV" for every program.

The internet will drive everything this way regardless. If the current delivery ecosystem hopes to survive they better move in this direction sooner rather than later.

#5 OFFLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

Let me be the first to start anticipating. I anticipating them all.:)

#6 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:14 AM

Some people STILL haven't even upgraded to HD YET (My Father still has an SD receiver and an SDTV. He has ZERO desire to upgrade to HD unless it costs EXACTLY the same as what he's paying now).


They need to drop the HD fee for everyone. Their equipment has long been paid for. The proof came when they offered free HD for life to new customers.

The receiver manufacturing cost is almost the same.

They should have an intense program of swapping SD receivers/DVRs for HD. Sure it costs them for awhile. No different than all the cable companies exchanging boxes for digital. Analog OTA went away requiring a box too. HD box easily drives SD TV (even my HR34 can do that).

#7 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:54 AM

They need to drop the HD fee for everyone. Their equipment has long been paid for. The proof came when they offered free HD for life to new customers.

The receiver manufacturing cost is almost the same.

They should have an intense program of swapping SD receivers/DVRs for HD. Sure it costs them for awhile. No different than all the cable companies exchanging boxes for digital. Analog OTA went away requiring a box too. HD box easily drives SD TV (even my HR34 can do that).


When figuring costs don't forget about the expense of those 5 Ka band satellites up there that provide all the HD, that's not chump change.

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#8 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

Broadcast is a terribly inefficient method of delivery.

The ultimate conclusion is some kind of "PPV" for every program.

I agree the current distribution is not the most efficient.

That said...PPV for everything won't fly either - there are numerous impediments to go that route. Ala carte has better chance, and most industry trade publications give that a low probability anytime soon.

It's about the money - revenue - income - call it what you wish.

Currently content providers get revenue from advertisers and broadcast transmitters alike. Similarly, local channels get similar but smaller revenue pieces of the income pie for rebroadcasting and their own local content (news for example).

All that goes out the window in a single-transmission channel distribution. It's pretty fair to assume that the radical impact to revenue caused by that changeover would hardly be condoned by those 2 distribution sources.

In addition, to compensate for the revenue lost...both local and national networks would have to charge exponentially more to end consumers.

The solution is certainly in reduced redundancy as you correctly pointed out. But the roadblock is and will continue to be which part of the distribution chain will survive the significant revenue shift resulting from that model.

MOST IMPORTANT - most of this has nothing to do with the topic of this thread.
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#9 OFFLINE   Carl Spock

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:34 AM

I'm leaving DirecTV unless they give me the PAC-12 network in 4K HD.
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#10 OFFLINE   JoeTheDragon

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:37 AM

At the same time begin reducing the amount of rebroadcast and the number of channels. How many HBO/SHO/MAX/STRZ channels do we need? ONE each. When you go from rebroadcasting the same program a dozen+ times to once you need 1/12 the channels.


They have to much to show to have only 1 and there still the EAST / WEST needs.
I want CLTV / CLTV HD on direct tv.

#11 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

They have to much to show to have only 1 and there still the EAST / WEST needs.


Makes you wonder why DirecTV doesn't carry OuterMax?

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#12 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:01 AM

I'm leaving DirecTV unless they give me the PAC-12 network in 4K HD.

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#13 OFFLINE   jmpfaff

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

They have to much to show to have only 1 and there still the EAST / WEST needs.


I think you are missing his point. How much DVR capacity would it take to store the entire HBO lineup for a month. Broadcast it one time to everyone's DVR in the first two days of the month...and then the programming "lineup" for all those channels is just pulling it off the harddrive without using satellite bandwidth.

The East/West need is the most obvious beneficiary of that approach, as it is identical programming just time shifted. And since most of the shows/movies air multiple times on each channel, all those duplicate showings could also be compressed.

Personally, I'm not sure harddrive capacity and pricing is there quite yet, but it is a very interesting idea, and probably not too far off into the future.

(PS....As written, I think unixguru was proposing a PPV model. Which would work. I'm editing his model slightly into a continuation of the current programming model using the local harddrive to handle repeating content)

#14 OFFLINE   nmetro

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

Eventually consumers will reach a point where enough is enough. Going from B&W to color was a leap. Going from analog to digital was a leap. Going from SD to HD was a leap. Then there is 3D, which DirecTV has only two channels. And during all these leaps, consumers paid to get to the next level, but many remained behind at each leap. There are people out there with analog BW TVs using digital converters.

Now comes 4k HD, this will be the most expensive leap of all. Broadcasters, content providers and delivery services (over the air, cable, satellite) will again have to make major investments to upgrade. Consumers too. Yet, it has been less than 5 years when major investments were made to get to HDTV. There are still channels which have not even converted to HD yet, let alone 4k HD or even 3D.

So, I feel, 4k HD may become like 3D; niche programming on very few channels. Unless, new compression technology comes forth for delivery (cable, satellite, over the air) so 4k HD uses the same spectrum as 1080i/1080p HDTV, the technology may have already hit its zenith. Therefore, those new 4k HDTVs may only see the highest potential with 4k HD blue ray players and the 4k HD DVDs. For everything else, 1080i/1080p will probably be the limit for many years to come.

#15 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

So when is Direct TV going to have some 4k programming....When they launch their new bird up in the sky?


Realistically, there probably won't be any TV stations officially launching a 4kHD feed till about 2016 or so, and when it does the actual content available in 4kHD might be minimal. I know some major movies are being shot in 4k as of last year, so those will be easy.... there was a test in the Olympics as well with 4k, so sporting events will probably also launch.

My guess? The first actual 4kHD channel to be launched will be a "temporary" channel for the 2016 Olympics, showcasing 4k technology to the public that already has 4kHD TV.

Actual TV stations that will broadcast in 4kHD will follow some time after that. At first it will be minimal. Maybe some of the main broadcast networks, maybe a few sports channels, maybe another "Discovery HD Theater" type channel that focuses on 4kHD only.
[Disclaimer] The definition of "soon" is based solely on DirecTV's interpretation of the word, and all similarities with dictionary definitions of the word "soon" are purely coincidental and should not be interpreted as a time frame that will come to pass within a reasonable amount of time.

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#16 OFFLINE   TheRatPatrol

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

So when is Direct TV going to have some 4k programming....When they launch their new bird up in the sky?

D* should focus on getting the rest of the HD channels added first before worrying about 4k.

#17 OFFLINE   JoeTheDragon

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:03 PM

Realistically, there probably won't be any TV stations officially launching a 4kHD feed till about 2016 or so, and when it does the actual content available in 4kHD might be minimal. I know some major movies are being shot in 4k as of last year, so those will be easy.... there was a test in the Olympics as well with 4k, so sporting events will probably also launch.

My guess? The first actual 4kHD channel to be launched will be a "temporary" channel for the 2016 Olympics, showcasing 4k technology to the public that already has 4kHD TV.

Actual TV stations that will broadcast in 4kHD will follow some time after that. At first it will be minimal. Maybe some of the main broadcast networks, maybe a few sports channels, maybe another "Discovery HD Theater" type channel that focuses on 4kHD only.

2016 comcast is to suck in the past so it may not even show up on there systems and do you thing that nbc comcast will yet Directv have a new tech that there own systems don't have.
I want CLTV / CLTV HD on direct tv.

#18 OFFLINE   David Ortiz

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

The important point of note on that is only 1 device we saw was actually running 4K original content ...


The Sony booth had their 4K SXRD front projector with original 4K content. I wouldn't be shocked if there is a test 4K channel from DIRECTV for CES 2013.

#19 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

I agree the current distribution is not the most efficient.

That said...PPV for everything won't fly either - there are numerous impediments to go that route. Ala carte has better chance, and most industry trade publications give that a low probability anytime soon.

It's about the money - revenue - income - call it what you wish.

Currently content providers get revenue from advertisers and broadcast transmitters alike. Similarly, local channels get similar but smaller revenue pieces of the income pie for rebroadcasting and their own local content (news for example).

All that goes out the window in a single-transmission channel distribution. It's pretty fair to assume that the radical impact to revenue caused by that changeover would hardly be condoned by those 2 distribution sources.

In addition, to compensate for the revenue lost...both local and national networks would have to charge exponentially more to end consumers.

The solution is certainly in reduced redundancy as you correctly pointed out. But the roadblock is and will continue to be which part of the distribution chain will survive the significant revenue shift resulting from that model.

MOST IMPORTANT - most of this has nothing to do with the topic of this thread.


My PPV-for-everything comment said "ultimately". Far far down the road. If the overall model is adopted - transmit a single program once or twice (as "backup") to DVRs then PPV across the board would at least be possible.

The model (not PPV) should not change the revenue situation. Advertisers are paying for eyeballs. If a 30 second ad costs XYZ and is rebroadcast 20 times for a given program then the cost of that 30 seconds becomes 20 * XYZ for a single broadcast to DVRs. (Or less - the efficiency should actually reduce the costs to everyone.)

The real question is which costs more - massive retransmission and dealing with technology upgrades or getting smarter devices (HD DVRs) to all consumers?

4K won't be the end. 8K will be right behind. All the equipment vendors have to rev technology to sell more product. 3D kinda flopped so now they are heading for 4K.

Reminds me of PPVs going to 1080p. I'm not aware of any channels that are progressive. 4K will come in PPV first.

If they don't change the trajectory there will be a lot more sats going up and everybody will need new dishes - again.

#20 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

I think you are missing his point. How much DVR capacity would it take to store the entire HBO lineup for a month. Broadcast it one time to everyone's DVR in the first two days of the month...and then the programming "lineup" for all those channels is just pulling it off the harddrive without using satellite bandwidth.

The East/West need is the most obvious beneficiary of that approach, as it is identical programming just time shifted. And since most of the shows/movies air multiple times on each channel, all those duplicate showings could also be compressed.

Personally, I'm not sure harddrive capacity and pricing is there quite yet, but it is a very interesting idea, and probably not too far off into the future.

(PS....As written, I think unixguru was proposing a PPV model. Which would work. I'm editing his model slightly into a continuation of the current programming model using the local harddrive to handle repeating content)


That's if you wanted to watch all the HBO lineup. If you're just storing stuff you've selected then the requirements are no different than today.

In my household we don't watch anything live but news.

If you've noticed, DTV is already doing this with the PPVs. The major new ones are preloaded on the DVR. I can't remember the last time I watched a PPV that wasn't. Probably cutting down on the number of transmissions already.




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