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Ultra HD tests to take place on DTT and Broadband

The BBC's Research and Development department, along with Arqiva and BT will be trialling Ultra HD in a series of closed tests during the World Cup.

DTG reports that the "Fifa-supplied 4K 60p feed of the final, one of the tournaments quarter-finals and one last-16 game will be linked via satellite from Rio to London data centre Telehouse and before being sent to BBC R&D in Shepherd's Bush for encoding to the HEVC (H.265) compression standard."

The Ultra HD (UHD) feed will then be distributed to Arqiva for broadcast to a number of closed test locations via digital terrestrial television. BT will trial distribution of the Ultra HD service through its content delivery network.

HEVC (H.265) is the latest compression standard for video. Currently Freeview uses the MPEG2 and MPEG4/AVC standards for terrestrial broadcasts, using either the DVB-T or DVB-T2 broadcast standard. The use of HEVC combined with the Freeview HD standard DVB-T2 on terrestrial TV enables broadcasters to have sufficient bandwidth for UHD broadcasts, as it uses bandwidth more efficiently than MPEG2 and MPEG4/AVC.

Any commercial Ultra HD service on Freeview is however many years away and will depend on if/ how TV frequencies are cleared at the end of the decade for use by mobile network operators. The tests will however help shape the technical side of any future regular service.

Matthew Postgate, Controller, BBC R&D, said: “BBC R&D has an outstanding track record as a catalyst for bringing the industry together and delivering the future of television to audiences. These trials are an excellent example of that tradition as a major technical achievement, such as distributing UHD TV over DTT and IP simultaneously from Rio, can only be made possible by close collaboration with a range of organisations. The trials will prove hugely valuable in furthering our understanding of UHD technology, and potential distribution models for the future, as well providing real benefits for licence fee payers in the near-term.”

Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Terrestrial Broadcast for Arqiva, said: “By trialling Ultra High Definition with the BBC, Arqiva can demonstrate how future UHD live events could be delivered to millions of UK homes via the leading television platform – DTT. This is the first over-air demonstration of live UHD in the UK and uses new High Efficiency Transmitters and HEVC coding technology. We are delighted to demonstrate the future potential of the DTT platform using the benefits of the DVB-T2 standard which we first deployed in 2009 as a world first."


  1. why do ultra hd on freeview a waste of space when freesat has loads of space to do it just close freeview down 358

  2. There have already been UHD tests using satellite. The UHD tests on terrestrial do not waste space - it is space not being used for any other service that would otherwise be dormant.


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