It looks like 2016 will be a good year for Ultra-HD. Satellite TV provider DirecTV announced its plans today to bring 4K content into subscribers' homes without specialized hardware by early next year.
We've heard this kind of talk from the firm in the past (remember when 2013 was going to be the year of 4k?), but this time it says that plans are in place and there's actual testing going on right now to make sure high-end content becomes a staple in 2016.
In a recent statement, DirceTV's Senior VP of Video & Space Communications Phil Goswitz said that the company had the capacity to launch 50 UHD channels today (at 30 Mb/s) on top of its normal portfolio of HD and SD channels, and that the technical challenges had largely been solved.
Does that mean it's all a done deal? Probably not.
Gorwitz's concern isn't necessarily about the infrastructure so much as content, even going as far as using the trite Golden era of Television mantra "content is king." Gorwitz told a roomful of journalists at the recent TranSPORT conference in New York, "the plane is ready to take off and there is no king on board. So we are moving into working with partners who are enthusiastic about it and we are bringing our cheque-books. Forty percent of people are going to have UHD TVs coming out of Christmas and they are going to be looking for something to watch. Our goal is to have them tuned to DirecTV and have as much linear live content, especially sports content, as soon as possible."
For the time being sports broadcasts will be the focus of DirecTV's 4K initiative with movies and television shows coming as soon as they become more available, presumably that early 2016 date you heard about earlier.