Europe: Broadcasters Consider 1080p Transmissions

A growing number of mostly European broadcasters are looking at transmitting in 1080p HDTV" (at 50-60 Hz) as a surefire way to "differentiate" their terrestrial-based services from cable and IPTV offerings, according to a recent roundtable on the topic sponsored by Rapid TV News, a London-based online service.

Tim Sheppard, a development manager at Cisco Systems based in San Jose, Calif., said he is aware of "several broadcasters who want to do it and I suspect there will be such deployments in the next couple of years" in Europe and perhaps North America. He predicts that a few DBS firms will adopt 1080p/50-60 fps for their satellite subs, but the first step must be to begin production and program distribution in 1080p.

Sheppard said such an implication would require "a quite serious set of changes in production workflow, archive, editing, and then the contribution-side of things." But he said 1080p distribution will not take on major proportions probably for at least a few years.

At the same roundtable, John Mailhot, general manager of the video networking group at Harris Broadcast Communications, said broadcasters were already preparing for 1080p services—and that 1080p/25 fps services in the United States will be the first step, likely to be initiated by DirecTV and Dish Network.