Sony's New Compression Tech Could Mean 4K Content Is Closer Than You Think

No one is actually going to drop $US25,000 on a fabulous 84-inch 4K TV without something to watch on it. So to get the broadcast ball rolling, Sony has demonstrated a real-time satellite transmission system that cleverly compresses a 4K signal without reducing its stunning image quality.

Working with a Luxembourg-based satellite distribution firm, Sony demonstrated the new system at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam. Using existing H.264 compression technology, the massive 4K signal was smooshed to a 50Mbps stream, which is the equivalent of a broadcast-friendly 1920x1080 HD signal. Theoretically, that existing broadcast and streaming hardware can be used to transmit a 4K signal, which means it could speed up the 4K rollout since networks and stations don't necessarily have to upgrade all their gear.

But Sony doesn't plan to stop there. In the future, it hopes to employ a new video compression technology called High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) to further reduce the signal to a mere 20Mbps, allowing them to transmit multiple 4K signals at once. The more the merrier.


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