No, Comcast Didn't Forget About Their 4K/HDR Set-top
What otherwise feels like an eternity ago, Comcast introduced their plans to roll out a combination 4K/HDR capable set-top box at the end of 2015 for customers in 2016. And if you haven't noticed, it still isn't here.
But fret not!
Comcast has recently updated their situation and notes the "rapid evolution of both 4K/UltraHD and High Dynamic Range has convinced Comcast engineers to slow their roll on deployments," says a report by LightReading. Joshua Seiden, executive director at Comcast Innovation Labs, spoke to a crowd at Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies in Denver, stating that they wanted to offer both 4K, HDR, and 10-bit HEVC encoding when, and only if, they are all ready to roll out at the same time.
"4K for us will always go with HDR," says Seiden to LightReading, adding that the decision to implement 10-bit HEVC is crucial to the "to deliver a premium experience with the highest possible quality of color rendering." He notes that the high-quality source material is increasingly difficult for programmers to transcode.
So for better or for worse, UHD has evolved so quickly that a company like Comcast looking to champion a cutting edge development might take a little while.
"4K HEVC almost has to be done over IP," said Seiden, adding that a single 4K stream takes up almost an entire 6MHz channel in a cable network, and with QAM resources as tight as they are, that's too much bandwidth for an operator to siphon away from other operations."
Seiden looks for the first 4K models to arrive later this year, with speculation that Comcast will begin running heavy promotions around the 2018 Winter Olympics.