UltraHD transport ready for its closeup thanks to Ericsson

Hall One at IBC seemed to be Ultra HD central as demonstrations of the potential next-generation 4K format proved that live transport of Ultra HD signals is possible given a new range of encodes and decoders. Nowhere was that more clear than during live 4K rugby transmissions produced by BT Sport in England that were received at the Ericsson stand with the help of Ericsson AVP2000 contribution encoders at the venue and RX8200 receivers at the RAI. Fibre transport moved the 100 Mbps signal from the venue to BT Telehouse West in London where it was then carried via IntelsatOne terrestrial network to Intelsat’s teleport in Germany where the 4:2:2, 10-bit, 4K signal was delivered to IBC in Amsterdam.

“We’re majorly invested in 4K and Ultra HD,” says Matthew Goldman, Ericsson, senior vice president, technology. “And there is so much noise around Ultra HD but this is demo was true 4K as the format is about more than just spatial resolution. This is twice the frame rate to 60p and also has 10-bit depth. From our point of view the business value is a top quality, immersive picture.”

The RX8200, with support for everything from MPEG2 to MPEG4 and JPEG2000 exemplifies a new philosophy whereby one receiver can handle all formats, obviating the need for different receivers for each format.

“It’s about having the right tool for the right job,” says Goldman. “There are cases where you may want to use MPEG2 AVC or JPEG2000 and there used to be a lot of ‘rah rah’ about one format or the other and a format war. So we turned that around as all of our devices have simultaneous output so that a broadcaster at a venue can send a primary signal via satellite and a backup over fiber.”

Fabio Murra, Ericsson, head of TV portfolio marketing, compression says a new interface has also been designed with the customer in mind.

“It offers a customisable look via three buttons and steps that can allow the operator in the field to go on air,” adds Murra.

In terms of compression formats, HEVC received the lion’s share of attention on the show floor Goldman says another standard for satellite modulation with DVBS2 extensions will offer between 15% and 30% efficiency on satellite capacity. And next January HEVC will add an additional 30% capacity on the same transport, effectively doubling capacity on a transponder using both HEVC and DVBS2 with the extensions.

Both of those developments could be big news for the rollout of UltraHD, something Goldman says could be possible with HEVC around 2015. Between now and then the emphasis will be on behind-the-scenes advances and in-front-of-the-public demonstrations like that at IBC.

“We have always maintained that you have to keep the wow factor and we need high-quality UltraHD demos that are true 4K at 60p,” says Goldman. “And there is a lot of talk about the demise of linear TV because of on demand services but not when it comes to sport. And sport needs the best picture quality.”

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