Ultra HD: Sky sounds note of caution

November 5, 2013 09.44 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

4K_shoot_2_300wBSkyB will not rush into Ultra HD until it can be sure it can deliver a lot more to consumers than at present, according to Chris Johns, the company’s chief engineer, broadcast strategy.

Speaking in a debate organised by the International Moving Image Society (BKSTS) entitled The Merging of Film & TV, he added that the current situation contrasted with the introduction of HD, which was a ‘perfect storm’ as it came at the same time as CRT sets were being replaced by flat screens.

He added that the HD services now offered in the UK are of a very high quality and it would be pointless to provide another good product (Ultra HD) on sets on the market that are of poor quality.

Sky does not want to jump too quickly and “wants to make sure that Ultra HD is a big step change when (it) moves to live events.”

Andy Quested, the BBC’s head of technology for BBC HD and UHDTV, also expressed caution about the introduction of Ultra HD, saying it was not just about producing pictures that have more pixels.

Alison Hutchins, senior propositions manager at BT Media and Broadcast, meanwhile said that it would be best to initially show 4K services in cinemas, clubs and pubs, focusing on special events.

There will subsequently be opportunities to monetise such services in homes when broadcasting football.