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Ultra HD TV Could Fuel Demand for 1000Mbps Ultrafast Fibre Broadband

Tuesday, Sep 18th, 2012 (1:14 am) - Score 1,437

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of business ISP Timico UK, Trefor Davies, has predicted that the next generation of Ultra High Definition TV (Super Hi Vision) technology will “dispel any doubts” about the need for everybody to eventually have access to a true 1Gbps capable fibre optic (FTTH / P) broadband connection.

At present UHDTV comes in two flavours, 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) and 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels), which is well above the current best 1080p HDTV standard that tops out at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The new technology is still a few years away, although BSkyB (Sky Broadband) has already been tipped to launch a related satellite TV product into homes (possibly as soon as 2015).

But what about the internet? YouTube was one of the first to make free HD video streaming available online and it could potentially do the same again with at least 4K in the future, which could be critical. Most studies show that video and IPTV services account for the majority of consumer internet traffic and have helped to support the need for superfast broadband (25Mbps+) services but we’ll require something even faster for UHDTV.

Trefor Davies said:

TV makers are currently focusing efforts on launching 4K enabled devices offering a quarter of the resolution. This is the format currently used by most digital cinema cameras. LG recently unveiled the biggest 4K television set to date – an 84 inch screen costing more than $22,000 (I won’t be buying one). Manufacturers are likely to want to offer 8K screens by 2020 when NHK aims to begin its first experimental broadcasts in the standard.

Now this is all very well and good but what will it mean for us men in the street? Well the amount of digital bandwidth needed to stream 8k video is around 350Mbps. If we assume that households will want to have multiple streams so that people can watch Big Brother, Coronation Street, Eastenders and the footy simultaneously in different rooms whilst sharing the experience with their friends via Telepresence it isn’t difficult to imagine a world where several Gigabits per second is required to the home.”

In fairness it should be said that online video streams are likely to use a more aggressive level of compression and or sophisticated codecs in order to bring that 350Mbps requirement down to a more manageable level. Likewise video streaming speeds vary from frame to frame based on many other factors too, such as the complexity of what they have to display. Some reports suggest UHDTV might actually need speeds of between 200-600Mbps.

As it stands today nobody really needs 100Mbps, let alone 300Mbps or even 1Gbps (1000Mbps / Megabits per second) connectivity. On the other hand just 10 years ago 2Mbps still looked unnecessarily fast. History shows that broadband speed, often at least partly fuelled by demand for increasingly rich online content, will continue to get faster. We’re nowhere near to actually needing 1Gbps yet but one day even that speed might begin to look slow.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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