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DirecTV sees 4K TV having 'material impact' by 2016


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#21 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:06 PM

I wish you'd stop calling HD "1K", that's just being silly. HD is 1920x1080, 4K is 3840x2160 - double the width, not 4x the width.

 

I don't think compression will be a problem, 4K will use HEVC, which is the next generation after MPEG4/h.264 and requires roughly half the bandwidth for equivalent picture quality. Since 4K has 4x as many pixels, a 4K stream will require roughly double the bandwidth.

 

The problem for Directv and cable providers is that it actually triples their bandwidth requirements for each 4K channel, since they can't drop the HD version of the channel unless they replaced every HD receiver with one capable of downconverting 4K to HD.

 

With the new satellite coming, and the obvious eventual dropping of SD feeds for HD only, it's a prime time for DirecTV to do that. I don't know the state of HEVC or of HEVC capable decoding hardware, but as soon as it's to the point that they can put it in boxes, they need to standardize every single customer on an HD/4K/3D capable box and dish. Cable is in a similar situation with most companies beginning to move *all* of their systems to 100% digital and SDV, with IP video being the next logical step.



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#22 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:14 PM

I wish you'd stop calling HD "1K", that's just being silly. HD is 1920x1080, 4K is 3840x2160 - double the width, not 4x the width.

 

Double the number of pixels in both directions= 4x the number of pixels. So 4K vs. 1K doesn't seem in any way 'silly'. I get you don't like that designation. 


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#23 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:18 PM

With the new satellite coming, and the obvious eventual dropping of SD feeds for HD only, it's a prime time for DirecTV to do that. I don't know the state of HEVC or of HEVC capable decoding hardware, but as soon as it's to the point that they can put it in boxes, they need to standardize every single customer on an HD/4K/3D capable box and dish. Cable is in a similar situation with most companies beginning to move *all* of their systems to 100% digital and SDV, with IP video being the next logical step.


If the timing is right with Dswim and 4k decoding we may see a next generation of hardware that does several new things all at once in a couple years.

#24 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 06:56 PM

I don't think they'll need new receiver hardware for DSWM, all or certainly most of the current SWM-capable receivers should work fine. HEVC decoder chips run hot and expensive today, but there are so few people with 4K TVs yet there isn't any rush to push out a 4K receiver. I wouldn't look for it until D15 is launched and in position.

 

There's no way they'll "standardize" on 4K capable hardware for a long time. They don't even standardize on HD capable hardware today! HD capable hardware is far more useful because almost all the channels anyone watches are available in HD. That may never be true for 4K, or at least not for a very very very long time.

 

4K will be a Directv advantage over cable, since it'll be difficult for cable to offer more than a few token channels unless they really go heavily in SDV. But the early adopters of 4K will have to be willing to pay for it, they aren't going to get it as a freebie offer like Genies and lifetime HD are handed out today. Why should Directv do that, when they'll be the only option to get 4K for a lot of people aside from Blu Ray?


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#25 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 06:58 PM

Double the number of pixels in both directions= 4x the number of pixels. So 4K vs. 1K doesn't seem in any way 'silly'. I get you don't like that designation. 

 

So I guess you'll be calling 8K "16K", since it'll be doubling them again in both directions? The reason it is called 4K is because it has almost 4,000 pixels across. HD has almost 2,000 pixels across, so...


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#26 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

I don't think they'll need new receiver hardware for DSWM, all or certainly most of the current SWM-capable receivers should work fine. HEVC decoder chips run hot and expensive today, but there are so few people with 4K TVs yet there isn't any rush to push out a 4K receiver. I wouldn't look for it until D15 is launched and in position.

 

There's no way they'll "standardize" on 4K capable hardware for a long time. They don't even standardize on HD capable hardware today! HD capable hardware is far more useful because almost all the channels anyone watches are available in HD. That may never be true for 4K, or at least not for a very very very long time.

 

4K will be a Directv advantage over cable, since it'll be difficult for cable to offer more than a few token channels unless they really go heavily in SDV. But the early adopters of 4K will have to be willing to pay for it, they aren't going to get it as a freebie offer like Genies and lifetime HD are handed out today. Why should Directv do that, when they'll be the only option to get 4K for a lot of people aside from Blu Ray?

 

The third generation in the patents might require new hardware for the dswim system should they go that far.  And really, at this point, any hardware they put in a next generation of receivers should be strong enough to be able to decode anything of high res, so that they can tweak it to work with whatever schemes come along for the foreseeable future.



#27 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:12 AM

The third generation in the patents might require new hardware for the dswim system should they go that far.  And really, at this point, any hardware they put in a next generation of receivers should be strong enough to be able to decode anything of high res, so that they can tweak it to work with whatever schemes come along for the foreseeable future.

 

 

The more I've studied that patent and the original SWM patents to learn more about how it works, the more I think that current receivers will probably be compatible even with a third generation DSWM able to do perhaps 100+ channels. I can explain why if you want, but that probably belongs in the DSWM thread. Obviously the variations of the third generation DSWM which output IP would require a totally new receiver, but I think if they went that direction it would be because it allows them to eliminate receivers entirely, via some future RVU like protocol that sends compressed video directly to a TV. Directv may not even know what direction they'll be going with that. A second generation DSWM will provide enough channels for almost every residential scenario, so there's not going to be any reason to push beyond that in residential accounts - unless they can eliminate receivers, which would really help their customer acquisition costs.

 

Keep in mind they still make the D12, which can't even do MPEG4, so they'll be making receivers that only do HD/MPEG4 for many years after HEVC decoders are available. You can't make hardware that you can just "tweak" for different decoders. Well, you can, but it costs more and involves more power/heat than dedicated hardware. You also end up paying licensing costs for capability you aren't using, which adds up to real money when you're talking millions of receivers. My guess is they'll add a 'U' line of receivers/DVRs ('U' for UltraHD) similar to the 'H' line they added for HD. The H line won't go away...heck the D line shows no signs of going away anytime soon!

 

I agree it appears to us casual observers that it might be a good idea to future proof better than they do, but Directv doesn't seem to think that way, or maybe something about their future plans they haven't told anyone means they have a different idea about what future proofing involves.


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#28 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:26 AM

From all the evidence at retail stores and also at CES (manufacturer visibility and promotion), it appears 4K HDTV and corresponding Blu Ray, video cameras, and other equipment is already gaining more traction in a short time than 3D did over several years.

 

This appears to be real and coming. 2016 is a realistic expectation as costs come down in the interim. Another few years of aging of current generation HDTVs will help folks consider "upgrading".

 

Having seen stunning 4K content on 4K displays at CES this past January...it is a real leap in image enhancement (although most content shown at this past CES was 1080p on 4K demo units - only a few places used 4k content for demos)..

 

We'll see what gives this coming January at CES - I suspect 4K will be nearly commonplace in terms of presentations this time around.


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#29 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:50 AM

The reason it is called 4K is because it has almost 4,000 pixels across. HD has almost 2,000 pixels across, so...

 

Yup. It's a "K", not an "x" after the 4.


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#30 OFFLINE   Scott Kocourek

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 03:00 PM

And after they get all the bandwidth, uplinks, production and mastering, satellites, receivers and displays all tickey boo on 4K, somebody, somewhere is going to want 4K3D . . . 

 

 

!rolling

Saw it last year at CES, no glasses.  :)


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#31 OFFLINE   SledgeHammer

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 03:15 PM

* 4K > 3D because you don't need glasses. Who the heck wants to watch TV / movies with glasses? Especially in the home. Wake me when HgTV (or whatever HolographicTV ends up being called) is ready :).

 

* Good point on needing an SD, HD and 4K stream. Does anybody know what % of customers are still SD only? If its a small enough amount, put a crawler on the SD channels saying its going away and you MUST upgrade your equipment.  DirecTV has shown they are not afraid of "upgrade or else" directives... they did that when they shut off MPEG2.

 

* If you are upgrading all equipment to support 4K, you only need a 4K stream and the box can down rez to 1080p to save on bandwidth. Down rezzing is a lot easier then up rezzing where you pretty much have to make up the missing info.



#32 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 03:59 PM

Double the number of pixels in both directions= 4x the number of pixels. So 4K vs. 1K doesn't seem in any way 'silly'. I get you don't like that designation. 

 

As pointed out in other posts, the 4K refers to a linear number. If it were truly based upon both directions, then the 4K designation is incorrect. And 1K would be even more incorrect. if you were to use the two directions (x and y), then 4K should be more like 8M and HD should be 2M (for 1080, that is).

 

Edit to add: BTW, I have seen plenty of 4K. Typically near HD sets. The demo loops of cities and other landscapes are pretty amazing but do I really need to see individual taxi cab lights taken from the top of a NYC bridge in the distance? The PQ looks amazing compared to the HDs running near by in the Best Buy Magnolia area until you find out that the HD sets are running 480p rather than any real HD. Then you watch a "regular" program on 4K (like a concert) and say "Yes, that is nice but 4 times as nice? Not really."

 

I will be happy when the sets run the same prices as HD today, but paying even 50% more is not worth it to me. BluRay looks stunning on my 1080p set and can't really look that much better and broadcast will never get to 4K anyway.


Edited by tonyd79, 11 November 2013 - 04:04 PM.

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#33 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:32 PM

* 4K > 3D because you don't need glasses. Who the heck wants to watch TV / movies with glasses? Especially in the home. Wake me when HgTV (or whatever HolographicTV ends up being called) is ready :).

 

* Good point on needing an SD, HD and 4K stream. Does anybody know what % of customers are still SD only? If its a small enough amount, put a crawler on the SD channels saying its going away and you MUST upgrade your equipment.  DirecTV has shown they are not afraid of "upgrade or else" directives... they did that when they shut off MPEG2.

 

* If you are upgrading all equipment to support 4K, you only need a 4K stream and the box can down rez to 1080p to save on bandwidth. Down rezzing is a lot easier then up rezzing where you pretty much have to make up the missing info.

 

MPEG 2 HD was much, much, MUCH smaller when they shut it down than SD is now. I'm a firm proponent of forcing everyone to MPEG-4 capable boxes and dumping all SD feeds for networks that offer HD, however doing so is immensely complex and there are several things to consider:

 

*Number of SD boxes out there: given how long and the gnashing of teeth that resulted from requiring the EPG/APG swapout, it stands to reason that there are a LOT of old boxes out there, and a LOT of SD boxes

 

*cost of an HD box vs. and SD box. Obviously an SD-only box is still much cheaper than an HD box, or they would have at least gone ahead and started installing them for new customers. Even without requiring swapouts and shutting down SD/MPEG2, the day that an H25 or equivalent is the same price as a D12, they will start doing this. They're not just still recycling used D12, but they're still pushing out new ones. This fact alone means that it's not on the horizon for quite a while, at least 4-5 years.

 

*Most SD only customers will need new dishes. This swapout will be even more complex and costlier, since it will require someone to come out and touch each house. 

 

one day all of those factors will shift and it'll be worth it for DirecTV to shut down SD and swap everyone out, but, don't hold your breath.



#34 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:58 PM

The first step will be to stop installing SD dishes for new SD only installs. When there's a new DSWM LNB they might stop installing SD dishes and have one dish for all new installs. The D12 does SWM so they'd still be able to use less costly receivers for those customers, but no longer be adding more dishes that would need to be replaced someday.

 

The next step after that would be to no longer provide customers with SD receivers, but instead HD receivers that only provide SD output if you don't have HD enabled on your account.

 

At that point they'd still be many many years away from getting rid of SD, because of the huge installed base of SD only dishes and SD receivers. But at least they would no longer be making that job bigger every day that goes by, which they are still doing today.


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#35 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:28 PM

The more I've studied that patent and the original SWM patents to learn more about how it works, the more I think that current receivers will probably be compatible even with a third generation DSWM able to do perhaps 100+ channels. I can explain why if you want, but that probably belongs in the DSWM thread. Obviously the variations of the third generation DSWM which output IP would require a totally new receiver, but I think if they went that direction it would be because it allows them to eliminate receivers entirely, via some future RVU like protocol that sends compressed video directly to a TV. Directv may not even know what direction they'll be going with that. A second generation DSWM will provide enough channels for almost every residential scenario, so there's not going to be any reason to push beyond that in residential accounts - unless they can eliminate receivers, which would really help their customer acquisition costs.

 

Keep in mind they still make the D12, which can't even do MPEG4, so they'll be making receivers that only do HD/MPEG4 for many years after HEVC decoders are available. You can't make hardware that you can just "tweak" for different decoders. Well, you can, but it costs more and involves more power/heat than dedicated hardware. You also end up paying licensing costs for capability you aren't using, which adds up to real money when you're talking millions of receivers. My guess is they'll add a 'U' line of receivers/DVRs ('U' for UltraHD) similar to the 'H' line they added for HD. The H line won't go away...heck the D line shows no signs of going away anytime soon!

 

I agree it appears to us casual observers that it might be a good idea to future proof better than they do, but Directv doesn't seem to think that way, or maybe something about their future plans they haven't told anyone means they have a different idea about what future proofing involves.

 

 

My point is they will make sure tis all good to work with ultra, as well as dswim, and anything else coming in the next ten years, and i wouldn't be surprised if it didn't do mpeg2 at all..  an hd and ultra machine only.



#36 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:57 PM

My point is they will make sure tis all good to work with ultra, as well as dswim, and anything else coming in the next ten years, and i wouldn't be surprised if it didn't do mpeg2 at all..  an hd and ultra machine only.

 

So you're suggesting Directv's top of the line receiver would be unable to tune any SD channels? Even those which are only offered in SD? That hardly seems likely. It will have to support MPEG2.


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#37 OFFLINE   JoeTheDragon

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:11 PM

So you're suggesting Directv's top of the line receiver would be unable to tune any SD channels? Even those which are only offered in SD? That hardly seems likely. It will have to support MPEG2.

they can move sd to mpeg 4


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#38 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:26 PM

they can move sd to mpeg 4

 

Sure, if they replace every single SD receiver currently in service. There are what, 10 million SD only subscribers, with an average of what, probably two receivers each? More? Not to mention HD subscribers who might have an old SD receiver in a spare room or workout area. And all the businesses that have them - most hotels are still using SD only because HD distribution costs so much more.

 

Look how long it has taken them to replace the pre-2004 MPG receivers, and that isn't even complete yet! The savings in not having MPEG2 decoding in a receiver would be quite minimal. Maybe zero, if the patents have or soon will expire.


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#39 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:31 PM

they can move sd to mpeg 4

 

They will never move SD to MPEG-4, unless it's a channel that doesn't offer an HD feed. By the time they get ready to move to all MPEG-4 distribution, they'll just give everyone a box capable of receiving HD and downconverting it to SD for an analog set.

 

Sure, if they replace every single SD receiver currently in service. There are what, 10 million SD only subscribers, with an average of what, probably two receivers each? More? Not to mention HD subscribers who might have an old SD receiver in a spare room or workout area. And all the businesses that have them - most hotels are still using SD only because HD distribution costs so much more.

 

Look how long it has taken them to replace the pre-2004 MPG receivers, and that isn't even complete yet! The savings in not having MPEG2 decoding in a receiver would be quite minimal. Maybe zero, if the patents have or soon will expire.

 

Yeah, it will be a very long time. If they move to MPEG-4 only, it will be for bandwidth on the satellites, not to save money on the boxes. The MPEG-4 hardware will always be at least as much if not more than the MPEG-2 hardware, so that's not where the cost is in the box. 



#40 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:31 PM

At some point mpeg2 will go away. I suspect that By the time the first 4k receiver hits they will have all channels available in hd or moeg4 sd mirrors of moeg2sd (or could have, I doubt there will be more than a small small handful of channels by then without a hd version) So why wouldn't they begin preparing for that process when they launch an ultra Hi Definition box for the front line users of DIRECTV. They won't care about mpeg2 boxes and by then all channels in sd should also be available in Hi Definition or at least moeg4 sd. Heck, they may use bss space to launch the few sd mpeg4 mirros of channels they can't show in moeg4 Hi Definition. That would allow them to easy begin a very very long process (I suspect seven years to ten years) to get rid of all moeg2 broadcast. Natural attrition will help complete this process in general. And mpeg2 will cost more than MPEG 4 when mpeg4 is used more than mpeg2 but the real point was if you don't need to have any ability to do mpeg2 then its cheaper than having to have it in there too. Remember, 4k units will not be flying off the block and are going to be hooked up to tvs that can do Hi Definition. There's no reason to concern yourself with native sd on them if you have a Hi Definition signal or mpeg4 signal of a channel that can be converted to Hi Definition.




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