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Rogers Launches Big 4K Initiative

Canadian MSO Rogers Communications has launched an ambitious 4K initiative that includes a new set-top box, OTT streaming from Netflix and Shomi, live 4K broadcast TV coverage of select sporting events, and a gigabit broadband service to help tie it all together. 

Next year, Rogers said customers will gain access to more than 500 hours of 4K fare, including all 81 home games of the Blue Jays in HDR format on Sportsnet; more than 20 NHL in 4K on Sportsnet starting with the January 23 matchup of the Montreal  Canadiens and  Toronto Maple Leafs (also on Sportsnet);  and more than 100 hours of 4K movies and TV shows from Shomi, the SVOD multiscreen service co-owned by Rogers and Shaw Communications that’s now available across Canada.

Rogers also announced a partnership with Netflix that will support the OTT provider’s 4K lineup that includes originals such as Narcos, Marvel’s Daredevil, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Sense8, Grace and Frankie, Chef's Table, Bloodline, and House of Cards. In an apparent nod to Netflix’s Open Connect private CDN program, Rogers said it will link its network to Netflix servers.

Tied in, Rogers also said it will offer gigabit speeds to its entire footprint by the end of 2016, starting in downtown Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. That service, called Rogers Ignite Gigabit, will be available to over four million homes when the deployment is complete.

Rogers has set up a web site for subs to get in line for the new 4K TV offering and the Ignite Gigabit Internet service (which will be uncapped), for $149.99. to reserve.

"4K TV sets have been in the market for some time and 40 per cent of all TV sales are likely to be 4K this holiday season. However, until now live TV broadcasts in 4K have been few and far between and customers have not been able to get 4K set top boxes," Guy Laurence, president and CEO of Rogers, said in a statement.

Fellow Canadian operator Videotron introduced a 4K/Ultra HD set-top in August, and has begun to pilot a gigabit residential service in Montreal that uses DOCSIS 3.0.  

In the U.S., DirecTV haslaunched a limited 4K-VOD service for its Genie platform and Samsung UHD TVs, and Comcast has launched a 4K streaming app for Samsung TVs. Comcast is also developing 4K-capable boxes for its X1 platform. Dish Network is nearing the debut of a 4K service that will run ona new UHD-capable Joey box.