UHD services come in all sizes

Yoeri Geutskens

Since the latest update this week of the B2C services, the UHD Service Tracker now tracks almost 300 service providers in the world that offer Ultra HD video content to their customers (B2B) or subscribers (B2C). The B2C services went from 189 to 209 in six months with a few services that we are aware of but don’t have enough data to include yet. You can filter these by all types of characteristics, including size. The tracker distinguishes five orders of magnitude, from subscriber counts in the mere thousands to ones that have tens of millions.

Some of the latter you’ll surely be able to guess, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Here are two that may not have sprung to mind: First of all, Tencent Video, the streaming platform of the Chinese technology conglomerate. Perhaps not significant internationally but by far the largest player in the Chinese market. Secondly, how about Fashion TV UHD? In the supersize category, it’s the only broadcaster – all others are streaming providers. The 2160p 50fps 10-bit video signal is distributed via satellite to cable operators across the world since 2017. 

On the other side of the spectrum, we find very small players, mostly local cable operators. Here are some of the smallest: Highlands Cable Group in North Carolina has offered a package with Ultra HD channels to their approximate 1,000 subscribers since 2017. Similarly, Marquette Adams, an MVPD in Wisconsin, provides a UHD bundle to its 4,700 households. In Idaho and Arizona, evoca is also transmitting over ATSC 3.0 in 4K. How are such small-town operators able to handle this, you may wonder? It’s quite simple. Some satellite operators deliver ready-made packages of UHD channels to local operators.  

In the Maldives, both the leading cable operator and IPTV provider offer a UHD service. You’ll also find UHD in Iceland, in Chelyabinsk, in Khabarovsk, and many other places. Yes, perhaps size does matter, but only so little.

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