SES UltraHD transmission via satellite and HEVC compression successful

European-based satellite bandwidth provider SES has succesfully tested an end-to-end file transmsission solution for UltraHD content using the H.265 coding scheme. The compressed 3840 × 2160 pixel (4K) signal was broadcast from an Astra satellite at 19.2 degrees East in DVB-S2 using a data rate of 20Mb/s. According to those that saw it, the live transmission provided significant improvements in file size and image quality when compared to H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) compression.

The company used technology from Harmonic and Broadcom Corp. to show that it can be done at the SES Industry Days in Luxembourg (April 18-19), using Harmonic’s ProMedia Xpress and an HEVC decoder reference-design system based on Broadcom’s BCM7445 Home Gateway Chip for receiving and displaying HEVC encoded UltraHD television transmissions.

In the past, SES has experimented with H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) transmission and using four HD pictures in parallel to display a 4K image. At the IBC conference last fall, SES showed what it called the first live-broadcast of a full 3840 × 2160 pixel UltraHD picture using the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) standard.

“We are convinced that the HEVC standard will become the option of choice for TV operators broadcasting Ultra HD content and expect the industry to develop prototype Ultra HD receivers in the coming months,” said Thomas Wrede, vice president of Reception Systems, SES. “With this initiative, SES will be significantly driving the Ultra HD ecosystem forward and provide a 24/7 test channel to its industry partners.”

SES maintains a fleet of 52 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and Internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, and business and governmental organizations worldwide.