Verizon Teams with SES on Ultra HD Trial

Adding a key MVPD to its 4K test group, SES S.A. said it has secured an agreement Verizon to trial the delivery of Ultra HD channels to Fios TV subscribers.

Verizon joins a growing mix of MVPDs that are on board for UHD trials with SES, which is using its satellite-based platform to deliver several linear channels in the format.

Under the program, Verizon will receive and test content from SES’s pre-packaged UHD platform.  

Other SES UHD trial participants include Frontier Communications, include Marquette-Adams, Buckeye Broadband, Service Electric Cable TV, enTouch Systems, Cable America, Golden West Telecommunications, MTC Cable, Aureon, GVTC Communications, Highlands Cable Group, KPU Telecommunications, Service Electric, Shrewsbury Community Cable, and Sjoberg’s Cable TV.

RELATED: Frontier Joins SES 4K Trials

SES introduced its UHD solution for cable systems in April 2015, and kicked off its first trial in June 2016.

“Verizon’s network is uniquely positioned to bring its customers the most innovative content solutions, including 4K/UHD.” Erin McPherson, VP of programming & content strategy at Verizon, said in a statement.

“With more than 4.5 million video subscribers, Verizon Fios represents an exciting addition to our overall effort aimed at making Ultra HD more affordable and faster to market for TV services providers across the region,” added Steve Corda, VP of business development for SES in North America.

RELATED: SES: 18 Mbps Is the Right Rate for 4K TV (subscription required)

For the trials, SES has been delivering 4K TV at 18 Mbps using HEVC coding. In an earlier interview, Corda reasoned that that bit rate squares with cable operators, because it allows them to fit two 4K TV signals into a 6MHz-wide channel. That bit rate also enables SES to balance video quality and cost, while allowing four UHD signals to fit into a satellite transponder, and up to 16 UHD channels to be remultiplexed on a satellite receiver.

Most of the cable operators that in the pilot are delivering the signals over QAM transport to set-top boxes, but some are also considering deliver over DOCSIS networks using IP multicast technology.

Channels offered via SES’s UHD MVPD trial include Fashion One 4K (reality shows, documentaries and entertainment news about fashion); Insight (reality, entertainment and sports content aimed at millennial audiences); Travelxp 4K (a travel channel dedicated to content in 4K and High Dynamic Range); Nature Relaxation (a nature channel produced in San Diego by film maker David Huting); C4K360 (extreme sports, drone races, dance and club music); 4K Universe (mix of movies, documentaries, and live sports); Nasa TV UHD;  UHD1 (an SES-programmed channel); and SES Demo Channel (test video sequences that MVPDs can use to conduct technical assessments).