DirecTV ramps up for the 4K revolution, slates live broadcasts for ‘early next year’

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More Ultra HD content (aka 4K content) is coming to DirecTV consumers soon. The satellite service provider has updated plans to launch a live 4K broadcasting service “early in 2016,” reports Advanced Television. Sports transmissions are already being tested.

While at the recent TransSPORT conference in New York, Phil Goswitz, DirecTV’s SVP of Video & Space Communications, discussed the launch, sharing that the company already has the capacity to introduce up to 50 UHD channels. What’s standing in DirecTV’s way, he explained, is a lack of content, not a need for technological solutions. “I think the belief that there are technology challenges is a bit of a misinformed myth,” he said. “I think technology throughout the entire ecosystem is ready. But I think content is king; the plane is ready to take off and there is no king on board.”

With Ultra HD TVs growing more popular — and expected to become even more so over the holidays — DirecTV is determined to fill the market’s current void of corresponding content. “Forty percent of people are going to have UHD TVs coming out of Christmas and they are going to be looking for something to watch,” said Goswitz. “Our goal is to have them tuned to DirecTV and have as much linear live content, especially sports content, as soon as possible.”

Like Comcast, and others, DirecTV has demonstrated interest in Ultra HD viewing in recent years, introducing its on demand 4K service in November 2014, and, more recently, the 4K Genie Mini, which brings Ultra HD video content to secondary TVs. In May, the company also launched two new satellites to increase its capacity to broadcast 4K channels, in spite of the lack of a full vault of Ultra HD programming.

DirecTV is currently collaborating with partners to tackle the content problem, and apparently expects to be poised for 4K broadcasts in the coming months. Goswitz didn’t give a specific date for the launch, but he did make it clear that it would take place “early next year.”

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