Comcast Serves Up A Taste Of 4K

Viewing party features Ultra HD clips from the Sochi games running on Samsung TVs, Panasonic tablets

Philadelphia—With the launch of its own 4K app on new Samsung Ultra HD sets still out on the horizon, Comcast offered a glimpse of the video future on Feb. 19 during an invitation-only Olympics viewing party held here at its corporate headquarters.

Comcast showed two examples of 4K/Ultra HD video-on-demand clips running on its QAM video network to a curved, 55-inch Samsung 4K TV that’s expected to debut this spring, and an IP version running over its DOCSIS 3.0 network to a 20-inch Panasonic tablet.

Both VOD streams were encoded in HEVC/H.265, a codec that promises to be about 50% more efficient than MPEG-4/H.264. Execs here said the QAM VOD 4K feed absorbed about the same space required for a regular HD channel. The IP version was delivered to a new D3 gateway (internally referred to  as the “XB3”) that’s capable of bonding 16 downstream channels and is outfitted with a dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) 802.11n router. Comcast estimated that the 4K IP video stream was coming in at between 18 Mbps to 22 Mbps.

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