DirecTV Debuts 4K Ultra HD Service

Satellite pay service prepares for 4K future
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DirecTV recently announced its newly launched 4K video-on-demand (VOD) service, making it the first multi-channel video provider to offer commercial 4K Ultra HD programming direct to customers’ TVs. The company also has an eye towards live 4K streaming as early as next year.

DirecTV is a provider of pay television entertainment services, delivering television signals to more than 32 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. Through DirecTV’s new 4K VOD service, subscribers are able to choose among nearly 30 titles from Paramount Pictures’ and K2 Communications, including a variety of new releases, popular films and nature documentaries.

DirecTV selected Elemental video processing to bring its 4K content programming to market. Elemental Server, a file-based transcoding solution, is used by DirecTV to prepare 4K Ultra HD VOD content for delivery to customers who have DirecTV Genie HD DVRs and supporting 2014 Samsung UHD TVs.

Together, Elemental and DirecTV have been able to knock down many of the early barriers to launching a 4K service offering, including the use of HEVC, the latest video compression standard that halves the required bandwidth compared to earlier codecs, as well as 10-bit color depth to eliminate visible contouring and posterization effects.

As Ultra HD content gains a foothold in mainstream programming, a software-based approach to implementing video infrastructure provides a method to move to 4K without a large hardware investment and ensures content providers such as DirecTV can scale to expand their 4K offers to include linear 4K channels and 4K streaming services.

With software-defined video solutions from Elemental, DirecTV has the ability to adapt to a rapidly evolving market, meet consumer demand for superior video quality and an immersive viewing experience and fundamentally change the way people watch TV.