Videophiles rejoiced at some big news from DirecTV this week. First the company announced an April 4th launch date for its new 24/7 4K channel. This channel will be part of the company's Ultimate and Premiere programming packages.
Shortly after the launch, on April 7, DirecTV announced that they will be broadcasting golf's famed Masters Tournament at Augusta in 4K. This marks the first ever 4K broadcast of a live event here in the US (Canada beat us to it if you can believe that).
To take advantage of these 4K broadcasts users must have the latest Genie 4K DVR, the HR54. Viewing on additional TV's will require 4K Genie Mini's, with a hardwired coax connection to the network. The broadcasts will also be available any DirecTV Ready TV. Importantly, every device in the signal chain must be HDCP 2.2 compliant or else... well, you know...
I find the launch of a dedicated 4K channel significant, but not all that exciting in and of itself. The live broadcast of the Masters is a far more compelling story. That networks are starting to overcome the technical hurdles associated with 4K broadcasting is a great sign. This bodes well for the future of live 4K content which to-date has been limited to steaming and downloading services.
Speaking of technical hurdles, DirecTV's call center reps had better be getting primed on the joys of HDCP. I suspect they'll be fielding their fair share of calls from customers who, prior to April 7, had no reason to wonder if their entire signal chain was HDCP 2.2 compliant. The future is here, but for some it will be a bumpy transition.
Read more about DirecTV's announcements here...