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Videocon d2h, Tata Sky launch 4K ahead of cricket World Cup

MUMBAI: Cricket fans in India will be able to watch the cricket World Cup in ultra high-definition (UHD) or 4K resolution as two direct-to-home (DTH) operators, Videocon d2h and Tata Sky, have launched their 4K set-top boxes (STBs) ahead of the tourney.

In July last year, both Videocon d2h and Tata Sky had announced their plans to launch the 4K service this year.

videocon 4k techVideocon d2h 4K STB will be available for Rs 6,590  and Rs 5,990 for existing customers. Tata Sky has priced new connection at Rs 6,400, while existing subscribers can avail the box at Rs 5,900. Both players have started pre-booking.

Videocon d2h CEO Anil Khera told TelevisionPost.com that the company has launched the service and the delivery will be within two weeks. “We have already got bookings for over 1,000 4K STBs,” Khera said.

Tata Sky, meanwhile, said in a statement that subscribers can enjoy it as their first connection or an additional STB at home with the Tata Sky MultiTV connection option. “The 4k STBs can be pre-booked through the Tata Sky 24X7 helpline, Tata Sky website and dealers,” the company said.

Tata-Sky-4k-Set-Top-BoxtechIncidentally, with not much content available in 4K, the DTH operators will have to depend on sporting events, as and when they are available in 4K and whenever new channels launch. However, as DTH players always have satellite capacity crunch, they will have another issue of bandwidth.

In simple terms, a UHD TV delivers four times the detail of a full-HD quality picture or video. That is equivalent of eight million pixels compared to two million pixels in the HD format. The image gets far better in clarity with much greater texture and an almost photographic emulsion of smoothness. This all without the grid-like small boxes, even if a viewer is seeing the broadcast on a large screen. In fact, the minimum screen size to enjoy a UHD broadcast is 50 inches, which is why most UHD TVs available in the market are 50 inches plus.

Anil Khera

Anil Khera

While the compression technology will work on high efficiency video compression (HEVC), which is 50 per cent more efficient than the MPEG-4 technology that most DTH players use currently, one channel will still occupy space equivalent to two HD channels or eight SD channels.

Both Tata Sky and Videocon d2h are not planning to charge anything extra from subscribers for the World Cup, and Videocon d2h is also looking at offering more content. “We are planning to offer more 4K content other than just the World Cup. We are working on monthly subscription,” added Khera.

In an earlier interaction, Khera had said that till broadcasters started producing content in 4K, Videocon d2h would have one channel in 4K UHD wherein content providers could provide their content. It would be uplinked from the company’s Greater Noida facility.

Media experts believe that the content will be available as pay-per-view (PPV), video-on-demand (VoD) or over-the-top (OTT) services and will mainly focus on key sporting events and movies.

On a large scale, the Fifa World Cup in Brazil last year was the first to be shot entirely in UHD by Sony. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) had broadcast matches of the Fifa World Cup to audiences in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia in UHD via SES’ NSS-7 and SES-6 satellites.

As per a report from NSR, a global leader in providing satellite industry market research and consulting services, there will be over 820 UHD channels across the world by 2025.

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