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Now COGO promises 4K Ultra HD streams on superslow 10Mbps broadband

Video compression expert COGO claims it can stream 4K content over creaky connections, meaning Better Call Saul in Ultra HD could reach more eyeballs sooner. 

Using standard AVC compression, COGO is completely side-stepping the need for newer HEVC encoding, opening up the possibility of delivering 4K content over low-end broadband connections. 

How much is 4K Netflix and what broadband speed do you need?Currently, 4K content from providers like Netflix uses HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) otherwise known as H.265. HEVC is able to compress 4K streams down to about half of their original size. 

The company’s new suite of encoding tools will be officially unveiled at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual NAB 2015 show, which gets under way in Las Vegas on April 11. They can reportedly deliver 4K content at less than 10Mbps, while Netflix currently recommends you have at least 25Mbps of spare bandwidth to stream 4K comfortably. 

According to the latest UK Ofcom figures, the average UK download speed is 22.8Mbps

COGO vs V-Nova’s Perseus: Clash of the Titans?

Last week, we heard of Perseus, new technology from UK-based start-up V-Nova, which allows for the amount of bandwidth needed to be smooshed down to around half that figure. 

COGO’s tech could ostensibly take things even further, using existing H.264 technology to deliver Ultra HD content over 10Mbps connections – or even slower. 

The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Todd Bryant said “There is no doubt that it is absolutely the right time to be bringing to market an H.264-compliant 4K encoding solution that bridges the gap between content demand and current bandwidth limitations.”

Related: The DTG’s UK UHD Forum has been set up to get 4K broadcast standards rightBoth COGO and V-Nova are making some bold claims. If implemented, either technology could open up next-gen HD content to a much wider market. 

As COGO’s technology uses the older H.264 standard, it might be easier to retrofit older systems. V-Nova says that it’s Perseus tech has been developed alongside Sky Italia, chipmakers Broadcom, Hitachi and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) over the past five years. 

Sky Italia’s head of innovation and engineering Massimo Bertolotti said that it’s being deployed now, describing Perseus as an ‘extremely valuable asset’. It’s not been confirmed that Sky or Sky Deutschland will be making use of the same technology. 

Whatever solution is implemented, it’ll have to be adopted across the entire content delivery chain – from programme makers to TV manufacturers – to make sure folks can buy a media stream, smart TV or set-top box and have Netflix, BBC iPlayer and the rest working properly. 

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