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South Korea Cable Subs Get All-4K Channel

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—Working with all of the major cable TV providers in the country to promote next-generation television, Homechoice, a content aggregator in South Korea, is now offering UHDTV (3840 x 2160 resolution at 60 frames per second) content to subscribers of its new UMAX channel. The channel went live April 10 and runs part of the day (from 6 to 2 a.m. local time).

South Koreans now have fresh content to watch on their new UHDTV sets. The content is being compressed in HEVC H.265 using a Titan real-time encoder/transcoder from France-based Ateme (with U.S. offices in Miami and Los Angeles). Homechoice is compressing content to 32 Mbps and sending it to embedded decoders in 4K TV sets and other compatible display devices. There is no set-top box required. Decoding capabilities will be built into the sets, and viewers with Samsung or LG TVs will need to install a USB stick to receive the channel. By leveraging the HEVC decoding capabilities built into UHDTV compatible televisions and downloading an application to decrypt UMAX on their TV, cable television subscribers across South Korea can access the UHD content

The UMAX channel now offers 40 original programs, a mix of films, documentaries and animation. Homechoice plans to increase its offering to 100 programs by the end of the year.

The best part: The UMAX channel is funded and distributed by all South-Korean MSOs (CJ Hellovision, C&M, HCN, and T-Broad) and is available at no additional charge to subscribers in 2014. They just need a compatible UHDTV set. The idea is to stimulate sales for Korean manufactures LG and Samsung and get consumers to buy new TV sets.

"With the integration of HEVC capabilities into UHDTV television sets, and a cable channel that will provide consumers with the capability to enjoy this advanced technology today, cable programmers around the world will be watching the launch of UMAX with great interest," said Eunsook Wi, APAC regional manager for Ateme, in a statement. "We are proud to be a part of the worldwide launch of the first 4K cable channel."