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4K compression tech could squeeze Ultra HD streams down crappy broadband

Is your broadband too slow to watch House of Cards in 4K? V-Nova’s Perseus tech could see the amount of bandwidth required to stream Ultra HD content halved. 

The new method of data compression, developed by London-based start-up V-Nova could let the average UK home stream multiple 4K Ultra HD movies at the same time. 

Right now, the likes of Netflix say that you’ll need to have at least 25Mbps coming into your home in order for one 4K stream to work. According to the latest figures from Ofcom, the average broadband speed enjoyed by UK homeowners is 22.8Mbps. 

CEO and founder Guido Meardi claims that the technology will not only help people on slower connections get on the 4K bandwagon, it’ll improve things for everyone.  Meardi said: “With Perseus we are able to shift the entire bitrate-quality curve toward the mass population, offering UHD quality at HD bitrates, HD at SD bitrates, and SD video at audio bitrate.” 

Perseus has been developed over the last five years and has the backing of over 20 well-known names in the world of technology, including Intel, Broadcom, Sky and the European Broadcasting Union. 

UK broadcasters including the BBC, Sky and Virgin Media are currently preparing for the launch of 4K channels. Tests include broadcasting 4K content over the airwaves, over satellite and streaming via superfast broadband. US and European companies will begin using Perseus this summer while UK broadcasters are expected to follow suit before the end of the year.

As well as revolutionising 4K streaming in the home, Meardi said that Perseus could see higher definition video delivered to more. “In particular, Perseus makes 4K commercially viable at scale, enables HD over 3G/4G mobile networks and makes video available to millions who do not yet have it,” Meardi said. 

Philipp Nattermann, director of multinational management consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company added:  “Perseus has the potential to revolutionize video. Its applicability is vast, both within broadcasting, as well as other industries including aerospace, defence, security, video conferencing, medical imaging and telematics, to name a few.” 

Sky is rumoured to be readying a 4K Ultra HD set top box before the Summer. This could put pressure on BT to up its game were Sky to launch 4K sports channels ahead of the next Premier League football season.  

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