ANGA COM 2015: HOT BIRD hosts SPI, ANIXE Ultra HD content

DetailsEditor | 09 June 2015

As it presents its wares at leading trade show ANGA COM, Eutelsat has expanded its Ultra HD offer after signing exclusive content deals with SPI International and ANIXE HD Television.

funboxContent will be available for direct-to-home (DTH), cable and IPTV network operators using Eutelsat's HOT BIRD 4K1 channel, which broadcasts free-to-air across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. HOT BIRD 4K1 was launched in May 2014 as Europe's first channel encoded in High Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC) and broadcasting at 50 frames per second with ten-bit colour depth.

The deal with SPI International represents the first preview of the content company's native Ultra HD material such as 4K FunBox UHD, its new fully commercial channel scheduled to launch in autumn at the HOT BIRD position. 4K FunBox UHD will address cable and IP network operators and DTH communities in Germany and other key TV markets in the satellite's footprint.

"With 4K FunBox UHD viewers will be able to experience more nuance, faster frame rates, exceptional contrast dynamics and extended colours," says Berk Uziyel, executive director of SPI subsidiary Filmbox International. "In addition to wildlife documentaries, some of the eye-popping content we are showing includes the San Francisco skyline, an amazing study of cloud movements and skylight, as well as the Ultra HD footage of Asian cities by night. We are also planning to add sports programming and musical events, all in 4K quality."

ANIXE HD's content will include extracts of lifestyle and documentary magazines, a cooking show, a cinema magazine and outdoor productions filmed with Ultra HD cameras. "We see strong evidence of a vibrant Ultra HD environment taking shape, including an array of Ultra HD TV panel producers, broadcasting expertise by operators such as Eutelsat, a competitive price-performance ratio of 4K scanners and video camera, and potential for TV advertising," added ANIXE HD Television MD Emanouil Lapidakis. "With the new measuring method developed by Smart TV Data and accepted by TV consumers, we now have a solid base to work on from the first day of our venture into Ultra HD."

Commenting on what the deal means for the satellite firm, Markus Fritz, director of commercial development & marketing at Eutelsat, said: "Following last year's successful collaboration with Red Bull we are delighted to welcome more providers of German-speaking content onto HOT BIRD 4K1. We are proud that broadcasters appreciate our innovation leadership in Ultra HD and to show how close the market is to commercial roll-out of 4K channels that will further raise the game for broadcasting and propel TV viewing into a new era. Twelve months after launch, our demo channel is established as a platform of choice and progress for partners in the broadcasting chain and is attracting increasing attention from terrestrial network operators who want to deliver more 4K content to viewers."