The last few years has seen a stream of new developments in television broadcast, each advancing the quality of the picture available to us.

 

The latest buzz word is 4K. This ultra high definition format of picture delivers 4 times as many pixels as the previous highest definition which was 1080p. 4K has 2160 lines vertically and 3840 horizontally.

 

The last hyped up, leap forward in technology was 3D TV. But whereas that technology looks as though it will never really catch on for most of our mainstream viewing, 4K looks as though it will gradually take over as the industry standard for new TVs over the next few years.

 

4K will not really look any better than 1080p on any TV size below 48inch. This step up in definition is really aimed at 60inch and 75 inch TVs and bigger.

 

The unanswered question at the moment is where will the new 4K signals be available from? Initially internet broadcasters like NetFlix will make the programmes available for download but you will need a fast fibre optic internet connection to watch them. Virgin Media and Sky do have the capability to broadcast 4K but they haven’t published any plans or timetables yet to start doing so.

 

Blue-Ray discs can hold enough data to deliver a 4K movie but the question is will enough people want to buy an expensive 4K DVD player and the 4K discs to make it worth manufacturing them, when the content will be available to download?

 

The interesting question to us as aerial specialists is will 4K ever be broadcast via Freeview (an aerial)? There is limited space on the Freeview platform. The amount of data that would need to be broadcast to deliver 4K would reduce the number of channels available dramatically so it may never happen.

 

The Oxford transmitter already has one of its seven multiplexes dedicated to HD broadcasts and the Freeview spectrum is being constantly squeezed to make room for mobile services such as 4G.