03.20.2012 11:21 AM
DIRECTV eyes Ultra-HDTV for future service offering

Ultra-HDTV — the super-sharp television system developed by the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories that's been attracting large crowds at industry gathering for the past few years — is on the radar screen of DIRECTV as it plans the future of its service offering.

Speaking last week at Satellite 2012 Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Philip Goswitz, the company's SVP/Space and Communications/R&D, said "4000 and 8000-line services are great for the satellite industry, and ensure satellite broadcasting continues to distinguish itself for image quality of service," according to media reports.

Pointing to the company's ongoing transition to Ka-band satellite service fueled by customer demand for conventional HDTV, Goswitz predicted that within in the next four to five years DIRECTV could complete its transition away from Ku-band satellites to the high-band birds.

Transitioning to Ka-band satellites positions the company to leapfrog the maximum resolution offered by terrestrial broadcasters today and opens up the possibility of other new services, such as delivery of glasses-free 3-D programming, he said.

However, it should be noted that rollout of regular Ultra-HDTV service in Japan, the cradle of development for the new technology, is years away, although there are plans for trial broadcasts of the London Olympics. Additionally, no commercially available consumer TVs exist to display the spectacular new system. But that doesn't preclude planning for the future.

Ultra-HDTV has 16 times the number of pixels of current HDTV and delivers 4320p images. It made its first major public debut in North America at the NAB Show in 2006.

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