Comcast Delays 4K Rollout Due to HDR Issues, Lagging Behind OTT and OTA

Comcast says the recent push to include HDR into 4K, as well as the slow development of standards such as the 10-bit HEVC codec are forcing it to take a cautious approach with new set-top boxes (STBs).


Comcast has talked about offering 4K to millions of subscribers for well over a year, but apparently the rollout has stalled. 

Joshua Seiden, executive director at Comcast Innovation Labs, says Comcast is reassessing its 4K deployment because of format issues and the push to include high dynamic range (HDR), according to Light Reading.

Originally, Comcast was targeting the introduction of its 4K boxes to coincide with the Summer Olympics, but he says the company now wants to wait until technologies like the 10-bit HEVC codec become more mature.

In addition, Seiden points out that a shortage of 10-bit HEVC decoder chips is also slowing the rollout of Comcast 4K STBs.

In the meantime while over-the-top (OTT) providers such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video continue to add 4K content to their respective services, Comcast and the cable industry fall further behind their competition.

And then there's the new ATSC 3.0 format, which promises to deliver 4K content over the air.

At the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) tradeshow in April, the Advanced Televisions System Committee (ATSC) will showcase its “NextGen TV Hub” exhibit, chock full of 4K goodness.

KLSV-LD will broadcast 4K programming, showcased on an LG Electronics TV with an integrated ATSC 3.0 tuner.

“Television’s next generation brings broadcast and broadband together with a new, flexible, IP-based system,” explains Mark Richer, president, ATSC. “Viewers enjoy more vibrant images with HDR and 4K Ultra HDTV, immersive audio with new choices, mobile TV and broadcasts to the automobile, and advanced emergency alerting to warn of danger and help find missing children.”

Gordon Smith, president of the NAB, points out that ATSC 3.0 is the next-generation of television, and the format will be a prime attraction during the show this April.

“Television is evolving to give both viewers and broadcasters more of what they love, and a stop at the NextGen TV Hub will show you what’s coming next,” adds Smith. “The NextGen TV Hub in the Grand Lobby will showcase the many ways that ATSC 3.0 will transform television, with new capabilities for broadcasters and programmers like over-the-air addressable advertising and audience measurement.  The content industry convenes in Las Vegas each April, and this year the emerging NextGen TV standard will be front-and-center.”

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; both schools are located in Haverhill, Mass.


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