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Comcast Serves Up A Taste Of 4K

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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