HEVC may see Winter Olympics-driven spike

January 9, 2014 - 3:29pm
The Winter Olympics may be an opportunity for 4K video to shine.

High efficiency video coding could see increased attention in video broadcast systems due to the use of 4K video at the 2014 Winter Olympics. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, several prominent broadcasters, satellite companies and content providers unveiled plans to use 4K video to some extent at the global event, reported Light Reading contributor Alan Breznick. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, from February 7-23. 

About 1.8 billion people watched coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, according to the official website of the Olympics. This audience received 31,902 hours of television coverage across multiple broadcast channels and on more than 100 websites all over the globe. The Games were also split between live coverage and playbacks of pre-recorded events, with about 44 percent, or 14,017 hours, of the coverage presented live. The mix of programming presented as it is unfolding, interspersed with highlight packages and breaking developments, creates one of the most complex video broadcast systems to manage properly.

The event will be a way for providers to showcase the advantages of 4K and Ultra HD programming. To transport 4K video, network operators must invest in technologies that support HEVC compression. These technologies are the only way to decode 4K video for Ultra HD television sets without consuming massive amounts of bandwidth. Initial success with 4K video at the Winter Games will likely spur accelerated investment, including its spread to mobile devices for viewers on the go. If 4K becomes the norm, HEVC will be the essential standard for its effective delivery, so organizations should look to upgrade systems while they are still ahead of the curve.

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