At IFA, satellite operator Astra and pay TV operator Sky Deutschland were demonstrating a 4K stream encoded in HEVC and sent over an Astra satellite. The stream had been encoded in advance -- real-time encoding still is very difficult -- but it was being decoded in real time in a set-top box from Technicolor.
No broadcaster has yet committed to 4K, but industry insiders at IFA were generally agreed that the first steps in 4K broadcasting would probably be on a small number of thematic channels or events. Feature films are an obvious candidate because many are already shot at 4K and the technology is likely to be employed in major sporting events, such as the World Cup and Formula One.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org