Report: Nearly 800 UHD Satellite Channels on the Way

By 2025 as many as 785 Ultra High-Def (UHD) channels could be available via satellite, with the capacity needed to carry the bandwidth-intensive channels driving an additional $280 million in annual leasing revenues.

That’s according to a new report from Cambridge, Mass.-based market research firm Northern Sky Research (NSR), which is pointing to 2016 as a tipping point for UHD broadcasts, especially for satellite operators.

“Given the exponential increases we've seen on 4K TV shipments, introducing UHD channels and packages is a key strategy to retain and grow pay TV subscriber bases in an increasingly competitive environment,” said NSR analyst Alan Crisp. “Additionally, this is a vital competitive response to OTT platforms' ever expanding online content catalogues.”

Commercial UHD channels have been available in East Asia for more than a year, and by 2017, NSR expects almost every major TV region worldwide to have the same. Despite UHD channels only accounting for about 1% of the market today, Crisp sees the growing number of 4K TV shipments — and the low cost for consumers to buy one — giving broadcasters a reason to invest in UHD.

“While in the short term [direct-to-home], cable TV and IPTV platforms will offer UHD for 'free' with existing premium channel bundles, longer term UHD will achieve higher revenue streams generated by increasing average revenue per user and subscriber levels,” he said.