×

Cable Show: CableLabs Kicks Tires on Ultra HD

Industry's R&D consortium also demos next-generation cable modem tech running at up to 6 Gbps

WASHINGTON — CableLabs has launched a project to shoot its own 4K Ultra HD video — which has four times the resolution of today’s 1080p HD — to understand how cable operators will distribute content in the high-bandwidth format if or when Ultra HD TVs take off.

“All indicators are that 4K will be coming to video-on-demand first,” said CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney (pictured above).

The Louisville, Colo.-based R&D consortium, which is owned by cable operators, has bought a Red Epic 4K camera as part of its Ultra HD lab.

At the Cable Show, CableLabs showed 4K content playing on a Sony Ultra HD television. One segment was encoded in MPEG-4 at a variable bit rate of between 60 and 120 megabits per second, and another was in HEVC at 20 Mbps.

In addition, CableLabs is staging two broadband demos, one showing up to 6 gigabit per second download speeds—delivered over coaxial cable. The industry has maintained that it doesn’t need an expensive fiber-to-the-home buildout, like the networks Google Fiber is deploying, to deliver very high Internet connections.

However, to achieve the speeds, the cable modems would consume the bulk of the spectrum on a typical cable system.

In the first demo, a cable modem based on the current DOCSIS 3.0 spec is delivering 4.6 gigabits per second over 768 MHz. The other demo uses the still-in-development DOCSIS 3.1 specification, with silicon from Broadcom, to deliver 6 Gbps in 750 MHz.

“This is dispelling the question, ‘Is DOCSIS 3.1 real?’” said McKinney, formerly CTO of HP’s Personal Systems division who joined CableLabs last year.

Chipsets for DOCSIS 3.1 are expected in early 2014, with products ready for cable operators to roll out starting in 2015, according to CableLabs.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content