SES, Broadcom and Harmonic Demonstrate First Ultra HD/HEVC Satellite Transmission

SES Successfully Transmits 4K Video in HEVC Encoding from Astra Satellite

by Anton Shilov
04/23/2013 | 11:05 PM

SES, a leading satellite operator, together with its partners Harmonic, a video delivery infrastructure specialist, and Broadcom Corporation, a multimedia chip designer, said recently that they have pioneered the first Ultra HD transmission in the new HEVC standard live from an Astra satellite at 19.2° East.


The end-to-end demonstration which was presented at the SES Industry Days in Luxembourg used Harmonic's ProMedia Xpress and a HEVC decoder reference-design system based on Broadcom's BCM7445 device for receiving HEVC encoded ultra HD television transmission. The signal was broadcast in DVB-S2 using a data rate of 20Mb/s.

"We are very proud to present the first ultra HD demo in the HEVC standard on satellite. SES has once again taken a leadership role in the industry by broadcasting the first real ultra HD picture in a commercially realistic bandwidth. We are convinced that the HEVC standard will become the option of choice for TV operators broadcasting ultra HD content and expect the industry to develop prototype ultra HD receivers in the coming months. With this initiative SES will be significantly driving the ultra HD ecosystem forward and provide a 24/7 test channel to its industry partners," said Thomas Wrede, vice president of reception systems at SES.

The live demonstration for the first time broadcasts a full 3840*2160 pixel ultra HD picture in HEVC, while previous demonstrations were either broadcast in H.264 or using 4 HD pictures in parallel. SES first live-broadcast a full 3840*2160 pixel ultra HD picture using the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) standard at IBC 2012.

"SES has achieved an important industry first with Harmonic and Broadcom. This DVB-S2 transmission clearly demonstrates the benefit of HEVC encoding using the Harmonic ProMedia in a live to air Satellite application. A significant compression improvement has been achieved using HEVC when compared to previous Ultra HD deployments using MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)," said Ian Trow, senior director of emerging technology and strategy at Harmonic.