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Innovation is in the detail

Ultra HD

Raindrops on a forest leaf, the texture of bark, a rushing river. Ultra HD (Ultra High Definition) television presents life in sharp focus, whether it’s the great outdoors, an elfin kingdom, or a football pitch.

If an HD picture tells a thousand words, Ultra HD tells a million.

When a picture tells a million words

There is always more to what meets the eye. Though elusive at times, it's the collection of details that make up the bigger picture.

When Ultra HD Creates Ultra High Demand

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530+ Million
households worldwide had access to 4K Ultra HD television in 2022 according to OMDIA

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825+ Ultra HD channels
will be available worldwide by 2030 according to Euroconsult


Lifelike detail on the screen


Full HD               1920 x 1080px
ULTRA HD          3840 x 2160px

With four times as many pixels as HD, Ultra HD delivers a crystal clear picture. Hidden details emerge to uncover stories. The grain of a violin reveals the hand of a master craftsman, while moisture on a goalkeeper’s brow magnifies pressure on the pitch.

Delving into the Detail: Cameras

Cinema and broadcast technical consultant shares the importance of Ultra HD equipment


As we see it with our own eyes


Full HD              16M colours
ULTRA HD         1B colours

8-Bit colour        256 shades for a primary colour
10-bit colour       1024 shades for a primary colour

Ultra HD has a billion colours in its spectrum, creating images close to those we see in real life. 10-bit colour allows content producers to add more detail and contrast. For the first time on a screen, viewers can experience the multiple blues of the ocean or the myriad greens of the jungle.

Delving into the Detail: Colour

Film and TV colourist uncovers the details of colour grading Ultra HD content


The brightest brights and the darkest darks

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range picks out the brightest brights and the darkest darks. Sparks from a lathe fly in sharp contrast to the black steel of its blade. High contrast means both remain star players in the scene.

High Frame Rates

An End to Blurred Vision

High Frame Rates

Full HD           75Hz
ULTRA HD     100/120Hz

Ultra HD’s high frame rates mean fast camera movements appear smoother and sharper. Sports fans can experience first-hand the passion of a tackle or the smooth trajectory of a tennis ball. It has become a service that viewers seek for major tournaments, such as the Olympics and the Euros.

SES Ultra HD Milestones

Timeline of SES achievements on the Ultra HD front

APR 2013 - Launch of our first Ultra HD demo broadcast via our prime EU orbital position 19.2°E
NOV 2014 - Linkin Park concert broadcast live in Ultra HD via SES demo channel
SEP 2015 - Launch of Fashion One 4K, first global Ultra HD channel
MAY 2016 - First satellite broadcast of High Dynamic Range (HDR) content
APR 2017 - 30+ pay-TV cable networks providers testing SES's Ultra HD platform in the US & launch of 1st commercial Ultra HD package
MAY 2017 - Transmission of Ultra HD High Frame Rate (HFR) content
JAN 2018 - Canal+ brings Ultra HD to 100% of French territory via satellite, of which SES broadcasts41%
APR 2018 - Launch of the Ultra HD platform in Latin America
MAY 2018 - First demo of Ultra HD Phase 2 in 8K
JUNE 2018 - Public broadcaster in Isreal disctributes the FIFA World Cup in Ultra HD HDR live in EU and Brazil

The background

Global average terrestrial television connectivity speeds are too low for Ultra HD video transmission, even in parts of developed economies that are outside urban areas.


The Challenge

Satellite delivers a reliable and high-quality signal everywhere in the coverage area with no buffering, pixelation and dropouts. However, introducing a new TV format is highly complex and requires cooperation between creators, broadcasters, DTH operators, technology companies, and TV manufacturers.

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The Solution

SES has been front and center in helping the industry create an ecosystem for satellite Ultra HD. From our first Ultra HD demo in 2013, we’ve broadcast over 30 Ultra HD channels worldwide, delivered our Ultra HD platform to Latin America, and brought sharp focus to major global sporting events, from Winter Olympics to Formula 1.


Delivering the Detail

Millions of households depend on our satellites to enjoy truly immersive Ultra HD TV experiences

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366 Million

homes receive Ultra HD content from SES satellites

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Ultra HD channels worldwide

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12 Demo Channels

over key orbital positions to enable industry players to test Ultra HD



consistent bandwidth from our global satellite fleet

Ultra HD

What's Next

As the uptake of 4K continues, we are continuously working with our industry partners on the next evolution of high-resolution television. For example, alongside Samsung and Spin Digital we have we have successfully showcased our ability to flawlessly broadcast 8K signal.

How can we help?


Any questions?


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