[SatNews] SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) hosted a conference on Ultra High Definition (UHD) in London. With a gathering of expert guest speakers, the event’s objective was to exchange views and debate on the current place of UHD in the media industry and its future. This event was also an opportunity for SES to demonstrate a live broadcast of its UHD channel, recently launched at 28.2E.
Andrew Neil, an influential journalist and broadcaster, opened the conference with a statement that the launch of UHD could be compared to the switch to color TV in the 1960s. “The advent of UHD is a significant milestone in broadcast history,” he added.
Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of DTG, said that his organization’s main focus was on implementation and collaboration in technical matters and that such collaboration is the key to success. Questioned on whether consumers should buy today’s UHD devices or wait for more defined standards to emerge, he was emphatic, saying, “Go and buy!”
While on the one hand, sales of UHD screens are expected to increase to two million by 2017, and the range of UHD devices is already widening—5 models will be offered in 2015—on the other hand price erosion is also foreseen.
But the UHD screens are not the only element to consider in the debate. Dr. Giles Wilson, Head of TV Compression at Ericsson, explained that TV's next evolution would be the truly immersive consumer experience, “UHD needs to be a compelling user experience, taking them from watching a box to being within the scene.” However, he cautioned that, “There is still work to be done to define a goal and the key steps for a commercial offering, including standardization and production equipment.”
Two speakers from the production industry, Peter Sykes, Sony Professional’s Strategic Technology Manager, and Ruth Sessions, Director of Operations at Atlantic Productions, explained that UHD is now a key factor to consider for each content production. Sony Pictures and Sony Pictures Television currently have about 170 UHD productions, including Masters of Sex, The Blacklist, and Breaking Bad series. Atlantic productions indicated that they had been working with Sky in UHD and 3D productions for three years.
Thomas Wrede, VP Reception Systems at SES, closed the event by stating that SES was very aware that the pace of innovation in UHD was challenging. He noted that the broadcasters who have undertaken live tests have gone through a dramatic learning curve, but confirmed that they, and SES, were increasingly ready to start UHD transmissions. “UHD is here to stay,” he concluded.