In a sign that 4K is gradually making progress in Europe as well as North America, Deutsche Telekom will start rolling out 4K Ultra HD channels as part of its Entertain TV service later this year.
As first reported by DTVE, Peter Kirchoff, vice president of content at the German incumbent, made the announcement at the MIPTV event in Cannes earlier this week. The plan is to launch two to four UHD channels initially, with the number climbing to eight channels over time. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is also experimenting with virtual reality, so bandwidth will be a major constraint as these "fat video" services are rolled out.
Deutsche Telekom already offers some limited 4K content today via Videoload, an online VoD service. But it does not yet offer linear channels to the TV set-top box.
Both public and commercial broadcasters are developing UHD services in Germany, which has about 3 million homes with 4K sets today. About one in every four new TVs purchased in the country are 4K sets.
Deployment of UHD has been relatively slow in the western world. In the UK, for example, Sky serves up a UHD service on its Sky Q platform, but the offering doesn't include dedicated channels. The line-up includes a selection of shows, movies and sports delivered in UHD and viewers are alerted when they are available.
BT Sport has been more aggressive with UHD, launching the first UHD channel in the UK. This channel focuses mainly on soccer, leveraging BT's hard-won rights to the Champions League and Europa League, as well as English Premier League and FA Cup matches. (See BT Sport's COO Discusses UHD.)
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Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation