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4K Ultra HD via Freeview HD tech tested at MWC 2013

Spanish broadcasters have demonstrated 4K Ultra HD using Freeview HD technology at mobile technology bash MWC 2013.

RTVE – Spain’s answer to the BBC – broadcast scenes of Barcelona at 3,840 x 2,160-pixels across the city to be picked up at the Mobile World Congress 2013 event.

It’s part of a research project by the European Broadcasting Union, an alliance of public broadcasters, into the feasibility of getting Ultra HD on air.

4K Ultra HD via Freeview HD tech tested at MWC 2013
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Read more about Ultra HD, 4K, 8K and Super Hi-VisionEBU technology and innovation director, Lieven Vermaele, said: “The EBU is committed to exploring the potential of new transmission technologies and new video formats.

“Through our support for this demonstration we are helping to ensure that the needs of public service broadcasters are taken into account as together we shape the future of television.”

The Ultra HD signal was compressed in MPEG-4/AVC and modulated for transmission using the DVB-T2 format – the same technology used by Freeview HD.

But where a Freeview HD channel like BBC HD takes around 10Mbps, the eight million pixel UHD test video took the full 35Mbps available in a Freeview HD multiplex.

It was picked up at MWC on a standard TV aerial and routed to a PC fitted with DVB-T2 demodulator cards, which then decompressed the video for the 84in display – no Freeview HD set-top box could handle such a huge data stream.

The EBU uses the term UHD1 for the 3,840 x 2,160 image, also known as 4K, to differentiate it from UHD2, also known as 8K or Super Hi-Vision, which is 7,680 x 4,320 pixels.

There are currently no plans to introduce Ultra HD into Freeview HD, although NHK in Japan may start broadcasting a public test channel as early as 2014.

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