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Videocon d2h to roll out 4K Ultra HD services in six months
MUMBAI: Two direct-to-home (DTH) operators are in the race for launching 4K Ultra HD services in India. While Tata Sky had earlier announced it would get volume supplies of 4K set-top boxes (STBs) by early 2015, Videocon d2h said today that it would launch 4K Ultra HD services within six months.
The starting price is expected to be Rs 10,000 per box. However, Videocon d2h CEO Anil Khera said that it should come down to Rs 6,000-8,000. “While we might import a few boxes for testing purposes, we will soon start making them in-house and the cost will be in the Rs 6,000-8,000 range. As of now, we have demonstrated our capabilities of 4K readiness. We can transmit, decode and deliver the 4K signals to homes,” Khera said.
4K Ultra HD resolution comprises 3840 x 2160 (at a 16:9, or 1.78:1 aspect ratio). This technology enables image clarity with fine detail, greater texture and almost photographic emulsion of smoothness. “4K services will revolutionise viewing in this country. It will provide images with so much clarity, finer detailing and nuances that the differences will be unbelievable,” said Khera.
Khera believes that India will take to the new technology much faster than anticipated. “We will launch the service in the next six months. We are expecting that our HD customers will upgrade to 4K UHD. With more and more 4K TVs being sold, we would like to get 30-40 per cent of that,” he said.
Videocon d2h will not use MPEG-4 DVB2 for 4K. “In that format, it will take up space equivalent to 20 standard definition channels. This STB will work on high efficiency video compression (HEVC), which is 50 per cent more efficient than the MPEG-4 technology that other DTH players are using,” Khera explained.
Till broadcasters start producing content in that format, Videocon d2h will have one channel in 4K UHD wherein content providers can provide their content. It will be uplinked from the company’s Greater Noida facility.
Though early in the day, Videocon d2h managing director Saurabh Dhoot said the launch of 4K Ultra HD services will give impetus to the broadcasters to take the plunge. Very few countries like Japan, US and UK have content available in this format.
“As a leading DTH service provider, Videocon d2h is committed to bring global technology into the Indian homes through our innovations. 4K Ultra HD is the latest innovation in viewing technology. We have successfully previewed the technology today and demonstrated our capabilities,” Dhoot said.
Earlier, Tata Sky had entered into an agreement with Technicolor for volume supply of 4K STBs to be delivered by early 2015. In fact, Tata Sky is set to officially announce its 4K Ultra HD service on Friday.