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DirecTV begins working on broadcasting Ultra HDTV signals


According to a report from Advanced Television, DirecTV is rolling out plans regarding upgrades that will eventually send out an Ultra HDTV signal. While a 1080p high definition signal offers 1080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution, DirecTV will be offering services for both “4000-line and 8000-line services” according to the company. In order to enable the transition, DirecTV will continue moving away from Ku-band satellites within the next four to five years and change over to Ka-band to take advantage of higher bandwidth. While Ka-band technology  is far more likely to become garbled and unusable for consumers during a extremely rainy day due to increased cloud cover when compared to the Ku-band, DirecTV has already had success in broadcasting 1080p signals over Ka-band to customers in North America. 

directv-satPhilip Goswitz, DirecTV’s SVP/Space and Communications/R&D, stated “Ka-band doesn’t just mean broadband. To us it means broadcasting. The truth is that as our Ku-band transmissions end, then increasingly every dollar in revenue is attributable to Ka-band. We’ll be entirely Ka-band in about five years. Currently, of our total $27 billion in annual revenues, about $20 billion comes from Ka-band.”

Goswitz continued “4000-line is exciting to us because of its image quality, and the potential for glasses-free 3D.” The digital movie industry commonly refers to 4096-by-1714 resolution as the 4K format and several consumer electronics companies showed off 4K-capable televisions during CES 2012 with the most common resolution at 4096-by-2160. Japan plans to roll out support for true Ultra-HDTV by 2020, a resolution that’s approximately double 4K technology. Japan’s national public broadcasting organization NHK plans to broadcast portions of the London Olympics this summer in 7,680×4,320 resolution and the initial test of the technology showed off the ability to produce surround sound with 22.2 channels of audio.

Due to the massive upgrade in resolution with both 4K and 8K technologies, television manufacturers like Toshiba and Sony are able to create glasses-free 3D images at multiple viewing angles. For instance, Toshiba’s 55-inch glasses-free 3D TV offers 4K resolution, but the 3D mode is limited to 1,280×720 pixels commonly known at 720p. Designed to accommodate multiple viewers within nine different regions, the television utilizes extremely small lenses to split the video feed up into two views at different angles. The user can calibrate the views using face-tracking software built into the television. While Toshiba has already released the television within Japan and Europe, consumers within North America will likely balk after viewing the $10,000 price tag. 

TCL-110-inch-tvTelevision manufacturer TCL debuted the world’s largest 4K 3D LCD television this week at 110-inches and the company plans to donate two of the giant displays to Great Hall of the People, a ceremonial building within Tiananmen Square, for public display. Offering 4,096×2,160 pixels of resolution, the television does require active shutter glasses to view 3D.

However, it does utilize multi-touch technology to create a touch-screen on the front of the display and offers dynamic backlight technology as well. TCL is labeling the technology at “China Star” and likely plans to roll out the tech in smaller sets. TCL didn’t make any statement regarding the price of the 110-inch television or if it will be available for purchase in North America, Japan or Europe. 

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