DIRECTV, the satellite television service provider, acquired by AT&T, will start its live 4K or UltraHD broadcasting service early next year.
Phil Goswitz, senior vice president of video and space communications at DIRECTV confirmed the company’s plan for 4K live broadcasting during the recent TranSPORT conference in New York.
Since the latter part of 2014, DIRECTV has been offering OTT supply of 4K material, and it is hoping to lead the industry in providing live 4K broadcasting. Many customers are now considering of buying a 4K or UHD television since the price is becoming lower.
DIRECTV is currently testing sports transmissions
Goswitz estimated that 40% of people would have 4K or UHD TVs after the Christmas. According to him, “They are going to be looking for something to watch. Our goal is to have then tuned to DIRECTV and have as much linear live content, especially sports content as soon as possible.”
According to Goswitz, the company is currently testing sports transmissions. He added that it is “bringing checkbooks” to partners who want to offer 4K channels.
Furthermore, Goswitz said the company has a capacity for 50 UltraHD channels at 30 Mb/s in addition to its existing HD and SD offerings.
Biggest challenge to 4K/UltraHD technology
When asked to identify the biggest challenge in 4K/UltraHD technology; Goswitz replied that the problem has been resolved, and the question should be “Where’s the content?”
He added, “I think the belief that there are technology challenges is a bit of a misinformed myth. I think technology throughout the entire ecosystem is ready. But I think content is king; 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.”
DIRECTV is not the only television service provider planning to offer live 4K or UltraHD channels. Its competitors, Dish Network and Comcast are now offering 4K set-top boxes. Netflix and Amazon Prime are already offering 4K video.
AT&T plans to eliminate the DIRECTV brand
Separately, AT&T is planning to eliminate, and will start transitioning it to AT&T Entertainment in January. The company is currently overhauling the U-Verse TV and DIRECTV services and end-user hardware.
“We will continue to use DirecTV as the product name of our lead TV offer until the launch of our next-generation TV platform. Once we have established our next generation TV platform, we plan to transition all TV product names to AT&T Entertainment to symbolize our move to a single entertainment portfolio,” according to the company in a notice to employees.