15 Dec 2017
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Star India to premiere ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in 4K on 3 DTH platforms

MUMBAI: It is said cricket and Bollywood are two religions in our country, and Star India is at it once again to score big.

After showing seven ICC Cricket World Cup matches in ultra high definition (UHD/4K), Star India is now set to premiere first Bollywood movie in 4K on Star Gold.

The Hindi movie channel, which is going to premiere this year’s biggest hit, Salman Khan-starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ on 11 October in SD and HD, will also be telecasting the movie in 4K on three major DTH platforms—Videocon d2h, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.

As a build up to the 4K premiere, the channel will showcase specially created promos and short format content videos in the same service.

The content will be delivered in the same way as Video On Demand content is housed by the respective DTH operators.

“It’s a special 4K service for 2 days. Star India is partnering with DTH players who will have a separate Star Gold 4K service. It will be the first ever Hindi movie TV premiere in 4K in the world,” a source said.

However, as this is a one-off event, Star India is not launching a full-fledged 4K channel, at least not yet.

star-gold-4k-inside-sty

As per industry estimates, India has close to 16,000 UHD subscribers, with Videocon d2h leading the charts with 8,000–9,000 subscribers. Videocon d2h is the only DTH operator that runs a separate 24X7 4K channel with content acquired from broadcasters and content creators across the world.

Tata Sky, on the other hand, has about 5,000 subscribers. However, it does not have a 24-hour 4K channel due to absence of content. It puts the 4K content on a need basis.

Meanwhile, Airtel Digital TV, which has not launched separate 4K boxes, has an arrangement with TV manufacturers like Samsung for integrated digital TVs with built-in smart cards.

Industry sources claim that it has close to 1,000 subscribers.

Although 4K is relatively new across the world and only in very few countries like the US and Japan satellite channels provide UHD content, an NSR research report says that there will be over 820 UHD channels across the world by 2025.

In India, iTV Network has already partnered TERN to launch a global 4K channel called ‘Insight’ and TravelXP is shooting content in 4K.

From a pricing point of view, the year 2015 has seen a massive reduction in the price of UHD TV sets across the globe. According to IHS TV Systems Intelligence Service, 38.5 million UHD LCD TV sets are expected to ship in 2018, up from 1.5 million in 2013 and 10 million in 2014.

The lower pricing is enabling the market to expand; however, there is a long way to go as even by 2018, UHD will account for only about 16 per cent of all LCD TV shipments.

What is UHD or 4K?

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.

In other words, the image gets far better in clarity with much greater texture and an almost photographic emulsion of smoothness. All this is 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.

The UHD videos use high efficiency video coding (HEVC), which is 50 per cent more efficient than the MPEG-4 technology.

In layperson’s terms, it is double the data compression ratio of HD at the same level of video quality.

On a large scale, the Fifa World Cup in Brazil was the first event to be shot entirely in UHD by Sony.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) 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.