How close are we to the day when big, national broadcasters are going to provide is with 4K television channels?
Not very, if yesterday's announcement by the BBC is anything to go by
Although clearly not intended to be a statement on the future of 4K at the BBC, you don't exactly have to read between the lines to see that the national broadcaster is not going to be beaming ultra HD content into UK homes any time soon.
What they actually said was that they will be launching five new digital channels: BBC News HD, BBC 3 HD, BBC 4 HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD: the last two are children's channels and the first is the BBC's 24 hour newschannel for the UK. All of the new channels will simply be HD versions of the existing SD ones.
All of which is good news, especially for news fanatics, as HD newscasting gives a massive dose of reality to coverage.
But it is sobering to think that even national broadcasters still have SD channels, at a time when 4K is such a buzzword.
Here's the BBC's announcement in full...
BBC's Announcement in full
The BBC today announced it will launch five new subscription-free BBC HD channels. The new channels - BBC News HD, BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD - will launch by early 2014 and will be offered to all digital television platforms that carry HD channels.*
The new channels will broadcast the same programmes as their standard definition equivalents in HD, giving viewers access to a further 250 hours of HD programmes per week than is currently available from the BBC. The majority of HD programmes from these channels will also be available to watch on demand via BBC iPlayer.
In addition, within the next six months, the BBC will present to the BBC Trust a proposal covering the technical options and timetable to launch English Regional variants of BBC One HD and variants of BBC Two HD for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
These announcements follow the successful launch of BBC One HD in 2010 and, in the past nine months, BBC One Scotland HD, BBC One Wales HD, BBC One Northern Ireland HD and BBC Two HD. Meanwhile, audience demand for HD channels continues to grow. Over 50 per cent of homes in the UK are already HD enabled, with reports estimating that the number of HD homes is expected to grow to reach over 20 million (80 per cent of all UK homes) by 2016 and over 23 million homes (90 per cent of all UK homes) by 2019.
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, says: “BBC One HD and BBC Two HD have already proved to be highly valued by our audiences and I’m delighted that we’re able to follow this with the launch of five new subscription-free BBC HD channels by early 2014. These new channels will allow us to showcase more of our programming at its very best.”