DirecTV Gears Up For 4K

DirecTV will be ready to deliver 4K video on an on-demand basis this year, and be set up to follow with live 4K streaming next year or by early 2016, company president and CEO Mike White said Thursday on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

“We're working to secure some [4K] content,” White said. “We expect certainly in 2015 or early 2016, to be able to stream live content.”

The live side of the 4K ledger is dependent on the launches of two new satellites, slated to be in orbit over the next 18 months, that will give DirecTV the additional capacity it’ll need.

That extra headroom will “give us a unique advantage of capacity to be able to provide a great customer experience,” he said, reiterating that DirecTV should be able to offer 4K VOD before those birds are in place.

DirecTV’s 4K plans are relatively ggressive among U.S. pay-TV providers as consumer adoption of Ultra HD remains in the early phases.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, DirecTV, Comcast, Netflix, M-GO and Amazon all announced plans to offer a package of 4K content to Samsung Ultra HD sets. Among them, Netflix has already begun to offer a small library of 4K fare.

A Comcast official said the MSO is still on schedule to launch its on-demand Xfinity TV 4K app before the end of the year, but hasn’t announced a specific launch date. Comcast is also working on a new generation of boxes for its X1 platform that uses HEVC and can decode native 4K signals.