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4K Technicolor set top box test drives Sky Ultra HD satellite feed

4K Ultra HD won’t be beaming into any homes for a while, but Technicolor has announced its first 4K ready set-top box. 

The snappily-named MediaPlay DST839 was unveiled at the IBC conference in Amsterdam, where it successfully received a Sky Deutschland 4K test feed from the Astra 2 satellite. 

The MediaPlay DST839 makes use of HEVC compression technology. This enables 4K transmissions at bitrates which Technicolor says will be comparable with the maximum used for Full HD transmissions today. 

4K Technicolor set top box test drives Sky Ultra HD satellite feed
In Technicolour: The future of 4K TV viewing

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Super Hi-Vision, Ultra HD, 4K and 8K TVDespite the successful demo, there’s still some work to be done. Senior vice-president of solutions, strategy and portfolio management for the connected home, Pascal Portelli told DTVE that the processor of the MediaPlay DST839 didn’t support the 60fps (frames per second) and would need to be upgraded to the new HDMI 2.0 standard

“The only limitation so far is the processor doesn’t naturally support 60-frames per-second yet; there’s a new version coming later this year that will support it.  

“We need to have the new version of HDMI 2.0 that has enough through-put to support this. Essentially at 60-frames per-second you need double the through-put than at 30-frames per-second.” 

Depending on what industry bodies like the UK UHD Forum and the EBU (European Broadcast Union) say about 4K at 60fps, Technicolor may have to go even higher. 

Hans Hoffmann, of the EBU’s Technology and Development department has argued for the frame rate of 4K to be pushed to 100fps, saying that 4K is not just about pixels. Hoffmann says: “A good UHD service should consist of an optimum mix of increased resolution, frame rate, colorimetry and dynamic range.” 

Portelli predicts that 4K TV services could be live by the end of 2014, by which time a  revamped version of the MediaPlay DST839 will be on sale. In the UK, the BBC and Sky haven’t committed to any solid dates, but it’s been hinted that 4K Ultra HD TV could be on UK screens by 2015

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