According to the Korea Times, satellite provider KT Skylife will begin testing 4K UHD TV broadcasts next year, with an eye on commercial service in 2015. Using the new HEVC codec, they should be able to squish a 4K signal into about the same bandwidth as 1080p taks up with today’s H.264 compression.
“We are closely collaborating with content providers and TV manufacturers to offer UHD TV content and programs as scheduled. Programs fit for UHD TVs will be available from 2015,” KT Skylife CEO Moon Jae-chul told reporters.
Moon said the firm designated channel 26 for pilot UHD service.
Moon urged the government to financially support local content providers, saying the broadcasting industry needs to find new growth momentum.
Of course, Korea is a good place for the development of a 4K broadcast service, especially given that two of the biggest TV manufacturers — Samsung and LG — are there. But, of course, Korea isn’t the only 4K hotspot these days. Sony is making just as big a push in the Ultra HD market, and its home country of Japan is rushing to make 4K broadcast a reality, too:
Like Korea, Japan has invested heavily in the infrastructure and supporting technologies for UHD TVs and set up a goal of providing the final of the “2014 FIFA World Cup” live, as the world’s first full UHD non-pilot broadcast.
Moon said, “Korea may lose its current lead over Japan in the race for next-generation TVs if Korea fails to come up with detailed business plans.”