4K TV broadcasting ends-up on smartphones

April 09, 2014 // By Julien Happich
At the NAB Show organized by the American National Association of Broadcasters this week in Las Vegas, Ultra High Definition also known as 4K (boasting twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format) is a hot topic both for content creators, broadcasters and display manufacturers.

Even going beyond 4K, Japanese public broadcaster NHK plans to demonstrate over-the-air transmission of 8K content (so-called Super Hi-Vision featuring 7680x4320 pixels) in a single 6 MHz UHF TV channel. In February, the company had announced an 8K sensor that could shoot video at 120 frames per second, it has developed an 8K-capable video camera weighing under 2 kg.

For the efficient delivery of heavy Ultra HD content boasting 3840×2160pixels at either 60 or 120 frames per second, you must not only be able to acquire and process video at that sort of resolution and frame rate, but you must also be able to encode and decode it efficiently to enable data streaming.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the name of the game. H.265 / HEVC is said to double the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC for the same level of video quality. It can support 8K UHD and resolutions up to 8192x4320.


At NAB, MaxLinear and STMicroelectronics announced a reference design for Ultra HD set-top boxes and gateways, for satellite pay-TV operators.

The reference design supports multiple decode, multi-channel personal video recorders (PVR), video-on-demand (VOD) and multiple transcoding for streaming to second-screen clients. It combines MaxLinear’s MxL5xx family of satellite Full-Spectrum Capture receivers and ST’s pin-compatible STiH312 “Cannes” and STiH412 “Monaco” set-top box SoC decoders.

Altera was keen to announce that its H.265 Enhanced Motion Estimation Engine, paired with server software from video delivery infrastructure provider Harmonic could enable 4Kp60 real-time performance, cutting on rack space and CPU processing power.

Barco Silex also demonstrated 4K Video over IP, combining its JPEG2000 compression IP cores and transport stream solutions with Xilinx’ SMPTE 2022 cores on a single Kintex-7 device to deliver encoded content compliant with the VSF (Video Services Forum) for maximum interoperability.