If India Can Get UHD Channels, Why Can’t the Americas & Europe?

– UHD Is Coming to India via Satellite TV
– Tata Sky, Technicolor & Broadcom Team Up
– Still Only 6 UHD Shows from Netflix for Every UHD TV Set

Tata Sky is buying Technicolor’s UHD set-top boxes to offer satellite-delivered UHD channels throughout India in the first half of 2015. The STBs will have HEVC (H.265) decompression chips from, you guessed it, Broadcom, which seems to be winning all the UHD set top deals. Broadcom appears to have won an as yet unannounced deal for an ARRIS-made UHD box for Comcast.

Indian subscribers that want to watch Tata Sky’s UHD channels will need, in addition to a UHD TV, a set-top box that has HEVC chips.

Technicolor is using Broadcom’s BCM7252 high-efficiency video codec (HEVC) H.265 system-on-chip (SoC) in the STBs it is supplying to Tata Sky, which will have the first UHD pay TV service in Asia. HEVC chips are required to decompress the HEVC compressed UHD signals so that pay and OTT TV services can handle the higher bandwidth that UHD requires.

Broadcom said, “Ultra HD deployments hinge on the advanced delivery mechanisms for over-the-air broadcasts, pay TV and over-the-top (OTT) services. Unlike HD, which typically relies on MPEG-4 to compress content, Ultra HD craves a higher-efficiency video codec to support transmission. The Broadcom BCM7252 Ultra HD SoC dramatically improves coding efficiency and reduces video bandwidth usage by 50 percent.”

It’s a visionary move for Tata Sky in a country like India and Tata Sky is counting on low-cost UHD TV sets becoming available in the very near future. Indians love movies and TV shows as shown by India’s prosperous and prolific Bollywood film studios. Evidently many of them have already started or will soon start filming in UHD as well as upconverting existing content to near-UHD. Indians also love watching live sports such as cricket, which will be a better viewing experience in UHD.

Harit Nagpal, Tata Sky managing director and CEO, said, “With the arrival of HEVC technology, our subscribers will soon be some of the first in the region to experience the live-action quality that only Ultra HD can provide. As Ultra HD TVs continue to become more affordable and Ultra HD content becomes more widely available, we anticipate increased subscriber demand for Ultra HD-capable set top boxes.”

Technicolor said it’s at the forefront of UHD in more ways than one. It’s making possible a UHD viewing experience on all screens by providing content preparation and 4K image certification for high quality STBs and video gateways, according to Georges Laplanche, Technicolor’s SVP for Asia-Pacific in the company’s connected home division. He said, “By leveraging Broadcom’s advanced Ultra HD devices with integrated HEVC compression technology, we can deliver 4K resolution at a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second while substantially reducing the bandwidth required for video transmission, and providing the advanced features and capabilities needed to enable the ultimate home viewing experience.

Broadcom appears to have a big lead on other makers of HEVC chips, which it demonstrated at CES a year and a half ago. Rich Nelson, Broadcom SVP of marketing in the company’s broadband and connectivity group, said, “As consumer interest in Ultra HD continues to grow, Broadcom is delivering advanced devices with market-specific features and price points that allow consumers to enjoy an enhanced viewing experience regardless of their geography. Broadcom continues to demonstrate its commitment to furthering the Ultra HD ecosystem across the globe, providing the innovation required by our customers to drive this technology quickly into the market, particularly as lower-cost Ultra HD TVs drive consumer awareness.”

Broadcom is deadly serious about HEVC as shown by what’s embedded in its BCM7252 Ultra HD SoC: – Dual-core ARMv7 processors  – 2180p60 or dual 1080p60 decode and transcode capabilities  – Connectivity peripherals including USB 3.0, PCIe, Gigabit Ethernet and MoCA 2.0  – Highest level of platform security, content protection and DRM robustness  – Dual display allowing presentation of two simultaneous video channels from the same STB via independent HDMI outputs and remote control devices  – Dedicated interfaces to a range of Broadcom companion front end cable, DOCSIS, satellite and 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices

Broadcom is already shipping its complete portfolio of UHD chips.

Where’s the Beef?  Tata Sky did not say what UHD content it will offer and when, but it is no doubt working hard to get as much as it can.

As sales of UHD sets begin to increase in inverse proportion to their retail price, Americans will soon start…

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