Harmonic announces joint operation for NASA TV UHD
Harmonic has announced that NASA TV UHD, billed as the first consumer Ultra HD (UHD) channel in North America, is now available. Leveraging an end-to-end UHD delivery system from Harmonic, NASA’s ambient video channel provides consumers with a wide array of linear 2160p60 video content, intended to capture the beauty of the space programme.
Transmitted in the clear via the SES AMC-18C satellite, NASA TV UHD is remotely produced by Harmonic and jointly operated with NASA. Harmonic is currently in discussions with pay-TV operators to carry the channel on their satellite DTH, cable and optical networks. Tests are underway to enable consumption on a wide range of television and IP-connected devices. The channel will also be available for OTT streaming at a later date, to be determined.
NASA TV UHD consists of eight brand-new TV series designed to explore the various facets of NASA’s space program. These include: ISS Life, documenting life on the space station from the first-person perspective of the astronauts; Earth View, the astronauts’ unique perception of our planet; ‘Solar System’, showing vibrant imagery of the earth’s neighbouring planets and the sun, including time-lapse videos using solar dynamics observatory images; ‘Deep Space’, animated UHD still imagery captured from the Hubble telescope and other telescopic platforms; ‘NASA Classics’, important highlights from NASA’s history, such as the Apollo programme; ‘Mars’, an entire programme dedicated to the intriguing red planet; ‘Liftoff’, an up-close look at spacecraft launches, including rocket tests; and ‘Development’, detailing the training and R&D efforts that take place before each NASA mission.
“Not only is NASA TV UHD the first consumer UHD channel in North America, the ambient nature of the channel is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before, taking the consumer entertainment experience to a whole new level,” said Peter Alexander, chief marketing officer at Harmonic. “Each programme featured on NASA TV UHD is composed of long, beautiful shots that can only be described as breathtaking. Delivered in the eight million pixel resolution of the UHD format, it truly is a remarkable viewing experience that would not have been possible without Harmonic’s complete solution for Ultra HD video production and delivery. We’re happy that the channel is now operational with the first tranche of content.”
The NASA TV UHD utilises an end-to-end solution that includes Harmonic’s Ellipse® 3000 contribution encoder, ProView 7100 integrated receiver-decoder (IRD), MediaGrid shared storage system, Polaris playout management suite, Spectrum X advanced media server system, Electra X2 and Electra X3 advanced media processors, ProMedia Origin packager and streaming video server, and NSG Exo distributed CCAP system.
At the heart of the UHD workflow is Harmonic’s Electra X3 advanced media processor, the industry’s first converged media processor for UHD content with live, full-frame, full-GOP UHD encoding. Powered by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, an advanced encoding technology that supports resolutions up to 2160p60 (HEVC Main 10) for broadcast and OTT multiscreen delivery, the Electra X3 enables superior video quality at minimum bandwidth.