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

Tuesday, September 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 wonโ€™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 isnโ€™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.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    UK got no chance of 1Gbps until year 2112! I won’t be here anyway!

  2. New_Londoner says:

    Currently 4k TVs cost around $25k each, and only around 20 TV cameras exist producing content. A BBC man estimated it would be 2020 before they even approached mainstream, assuming there was demand, so presumably 8k would be even later.

    As the comments in the story suggest, encoding techniques would be expected to make big inroads into bandwidth requirements by the time this is mainstream.

    1. Bob2002 says:

      >and only around 20 TV cameras exist producing content.

      I may be wrong but haven’t 4K cameras been fairly “common” ever since the Red One back in 2008?

    2. kstone says:

      Apple MAC Retina PCs already exceed HD (2,880 x 1,880), displays are coming fast. Maybe that rumor you heard about Apple looking at TVs is now making sense (Google too).

      This tv is 7k and commercially available.

      4K cameras are coming out fast (Mobile phone version already available).

      ‘As it stands today nobody really needs 100Mbps’ Really?

      OK – Watch this video, but select watch in original. Does it buffer?
      You need 100Mbps (minimum 50Mbps)

      As it stands today I also don’t NEED running water, but I want it. N

      o matter what spin is put on all this, Broadband operators have held back for so long saying ‘the applications are not there’, guess what. They are, they have overtaken what infrastructure can deliver. From Iphones to Smart TVs, there capabilities are all choked by infrastructure.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      I think you ignored the words “need” and “today” ๐Ÿ™‚ . Why would anybody “need” 4K today though when it runs at higher res than most computer monitors? The article says we might feel a need for it in the future but today we don’t.

      And yes you do NEED running water.. to live ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Unless you want to try drinking it stagnant (germs / infections) or as solid ice that isn’t ever able to turn into a liquid form.

      I do agree with the need to upgrade telecoms infrastructure to support such services before the demand arrives but in reality, for most people, it’ll probably happen after the demand is there.

    4. David A says:

      4K video cameras are very common now, even prosumer DSLR’s can handle 4K e.g. EOS 1DC and EOS C300, let alone production gear from Arri, RED etc.

      The only 4K constraints left are display cost and broadcast infrastructure.

      When 1080P displays first appeared in the highstreet, it took around 18 mo before HDTV channels appeared at broadcast.

  3. Legolash2o says:


    Youtube already does 4K videos, change the resolution to ‘Original’

  4. kstone says:

    I can buy water from the shop – it’s just slower ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I know I don’t NEED 100Mb, but I would like it. I would like 100Mb Down and Up, but I fear that is a long, long way off for Many.

    To illustrate why Broadband will need to catch up see this link, you can buy a movie in all formats including full 4K. (Hint, it won’t be on DVD!).

    This is not the distant future – this is coming fast and it is scaring the C&*p out of traditional content providers & Network providers. BW caps used 50x over to download a single 90min film ๐Ÿ™‚

    With the technology battles between Samsung / Apple / Google etc, product will appear swiftly. If people start to buy 4K screens, just like when 1080 came out they will hunt for content.

    For 1080 it was Bluerays, for 4K it will be memory sticks or Download… ๐Ÿ™‚ let the fun begin.

  5. Deduction says:

    4K Screens have been out in Asia since the beginning of the year and already have content produced for them, anyone that doesnt think its coming and coming soon is living in the past.

    DVD players etc came out in 1996…… 1080p content (including video cameras) in terms of when it were available readily to consumers appeared around 2002 (thats 7 years after DVD). Bluray cam out in 2004/05 so thats 7 years ago (spotting a patter yet???) 4K screens came out this year.

    Its coming and just like the current era our countries new mass FTTC solution just like now wont be a match for the increased sized content.

  6. dragoneast says:

    A serious question: if people can afford the equipment necessary to make the most of high quality HD services, then why can’t they afford the full costs of provisioning the broadband to service it – as B4RN are doing? Or is it more just more howling of the middle class welfare junkies after their “fair share” (and what’s different from the “dole scroungers” who want their “fair share”)? I’m rapidly reaching the conclusion that the problem with BDUK is that the expenditure should not be the state’s responsibility at all for a privatised utility service. In no other way are we all equal in terms of the resources available to us. That sort of socialism is left to North Korea (who must on that basis surely have the best broadband in the world).

    And can someone explain the link between HDTV and the several percentage point benefit to GDP that’s apparently alleged from a national superfast broadband availability? Looks to me like the benefit is to the Chinese, various other Far Eastern economies, and the good ol’ US media industry. All worthy, no doubt, but not I think as candidates for subsidies from the British taxpayer.

  7. Deduction says:

    “Iโ€™m rapidly reaching the conclusion that the problem with BDUK is that the expenditure should not be the stateโ€™s responsibility at all for a privatised utility service.”

    People like me have said that from the outset.

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