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HEVC and VP9 are the two most widely used compression codecs today, and both of them double the compression efficiency of MPEG-4 AVC (H.264).
HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding)
HEVC, also known as H.265, was debuted by Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) in 2013. The latest version was published in April 2015. This version supports format range extensions, scalable coding extensions, multi-view extensions and 3D-HEVC extensions.
HEVC is usable in different third party hardware and transmission systems with license fee. Different vendors, e.g. ATEME, Harmonic, Rohde & Schwarz, have implemented their encoders with HEVC for different broadcasting applications. In addition, all name brand 4K UHDTVs have built-in HEVC decoder and many VOD media providers, such as Netflix and Amazon, design to provide their compressed UHD content to audiences via HEVC.
Different from HEVC, VP9 is an open and royalty free video coding format developed by Google. The initial purpose of developing VP9 was mainly for easy transmission of UHD content on YouTube to users computer screen, browsers like Chrome, Firefox and etc., have been integrated with VP9.
The development of VP9 started in 2011 and the “profile 0” of VP9 was finalized in June of 2013. VP9 has four profiles: profile 0, profile 1, profile 2, and profile 3. They support for maximum bit depth of 12-bits per sample, 4:4:4 chroma subsampling and alpha channel support. Its own successor, VP10, is currently under development and target to ready by end of 2016.
As a result, HEVC is more popular than VP9. In fact, only some of the interfaces, for example YouTube, Android system, browsers like Chrome, Firefox and etc., adopted VP9.
4K-SAT uses HEVC Main 10 profile to compress the UHD content via Rohde & Schwarz latest HEVC encoder, AVHE100.
The 4K-SAT video stream is compressed at 20Mbps with frame rate at 50fps, 10-bits colour depth and 4:2:0 chroma sampling. It has been launched on AsiaSat 4 at 122°E for the UHD broadcasting in Asia Pacific region since Oct 2015.
4K-SAT is a free-to-air channel and can be received by the following steps:
1. Point a C-band antenna to AsiaSat 4. The recommended dish size is shown in the figure below.
2. Connect the receive signal (in L-band) to a satellite set-top-box (STB) which supports DVB-S2, HDMI 2.0, UHD resolution and HEVC Main 10.
3. Connect the HDMI 2.0 output of STB to a UHDTV. Input the reception parameters into the STB and scan the channel.
4. Enjoy the real UHD programmes on 4K-SAT.
HITS (Headend-in-the-Sky) is a TV delivery platform that allows cable operators to offer a readily encrypted high quality digital package of channels to their subscribers. A HITS operator will receive pay channels from various satellites which are to be decrypted and aggregated at a central facility. Channels are then turnaround with a single conditional access system, multiplexed and uplinked again to a satellite which acts as a 'Headend-in-the-Sky' and beams the signals to all cable operators' headends. This would allow cable operators to offer a new level of products and services with increased programming choices to customers at minimum investment in equipment and expertise. The cable subscribers can enjoy richer pictures, sound and an even wider range of multimedia services and value added features offered by the digital service. To receive the HITS digital cable service, please contact your local cable operators to see when this service is available in your area.