Long term investment cycles and a conversion process for ‘standard’ HD that is still to complete indicate a move by Europe’s public service broadcasters into 4k could still be a long way off.

“We’ve still got all of the regional opt outs and a long way to go with HD,” Richard Salmon, lead research engineer, BBC R&D, told the SES Ultra HD conference. Reminding delegates of the corporation’s Public Value Test, Salmon pointed to EBU members that had initially said they could not afford high definition broadcasting.

“Our investment cycles in cameras are every 8 years and the investment cycle in lease is 25 years. The lenses we’re seeing for 4k cameras at the moment, we can’t afford many at 20, 25 thousand pounds a piece.”

Yvonne Thomas, project manager, future television, EBU was a little more optimistic, suggesting there were members who may skip HD and go straight to Ultra HD. However, with terrestrial spectrum being reduced and what remains needing to be shared with mobile operators, she said there was a question as to whether operators would even invest in the DVB-T2 transmission technology that would reduce the required spectrum.