Video services

Deluxe Dives Into 4K Video

Seeking to make a name for itself in the emerging 4K TV market, Deluxe has upgraded its video-on-demand (VoD) portfolio with media services products that enable or support UltraHD (UHD) programming.

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. , which is already backing DirecTV's rollout of 4K service with its cloud-based VoD platform, is striving to play the same role for other satellite TV providers, cable operators and other major pay-TV providers. The Burbank, Calif.-based company is aiming to rule the 4K market by diving in early with its content supply and VoD management solution, known as Deluxe On-Demand, and signing up service providers as they enter the 4K space.

In fact, Deluxe claims that it's already working with a certain major North American cable operator that's seeking to launch a 4K offering very soon. That MSO is presumably Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which pledged at CES last January to introduce an UltraHD service by the end of the year. No deal between Deluxe and Comcast has been announced or confirmed.

"We're really big believers that 4K and UltraHD will be important for next-gen devices, both TVs and mobile devices," said Todd Collart, SVP and GM of Deluxe Digital Distribution. With 4K TV prices falling, content providers making more UltraHD programming available and the H.265 and even newer High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) formats gaining traction, he predicted that 2015 will be "a tipping point" for 4K.

Deluxe is hoping to take advantage of these trends by offering what it bills as a "turnkey, end-to-end solution" for service providers looking to deliver 4K VoD programming. That solution includes digital re-mastering and processing of next-gen formats for UHD, ingestion of 4K mastered and re-mastered source files, processing of higher-quality encodes and transcodes, CDN hosting and delivery options, integration with 4K TV sets from such major consumer electronics makers as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and support for surround-sound audio from the likes of Dolby Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: DLB).

In related news, Deluxe recently announced UHD content processing, management and distribution deals with both Samsung and LG.

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Deluxe's deep dive into UltraHD products comes as the 4K market, unlike the doomed 3D TV market several years ago, shows definite signs of heating up after a lumbering start. In a study late last month, DisplaySearch reported that 4K TV shipments surged more than 500% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter, jumping to 3 million sets. With that increase, consumer electronics manufacturers have now shipped 6.4 million UltraHD sets across the globe during the first nine months of the year. (See 4K TV Shipments Surge After Slow Start.)

"This is much more like the transition from SD to HD," Collart said. "I think we're in a very, very different situation than 3D."

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

KBode 12/17/2014 | 1:48:13 PM
Re: Similar to HD 3D required an extra cumbersome headset, and the effect -- while interesting -- just wasn't worth the hassle. That's in contrast to 4K, which is where you know all TVs are headed as the new standard. I'm eager to jump to 4K as soon as pricing settles down a bit....whereas like most consumers 3D didn't interest me in the slightest.
jabailo 12/17/2014 | 1:16:26 PM
Re: Similar to HD I just read that Interstellar broke all records for an IMAX release film, so the next task is going to be how to bring the IMAX experience to the home.   3-D as you say didn't really prove itself in the home, or the theaters for that matter.  People didn't selectively choose 3D so much as use it if it was there.   But IMAX which cost way more than regular screens for Interstellar clearly provided a desired feature.

danielcawrey 12/17/2014 | 12:25:08 PM
Similar to HD I think what is happening with 4K is similar to what occurred with HD. It took time to grow, and when the floodgates were opened, there was a ton of sales.

3D wasn't like that, because there wasn't as much pop for that technology from consumers. I expect 4K to be different than that. 
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