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.
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