Korea Reveals Plans For UHD Coverage

Korea’s Vice Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Jae-You Choi

In a Monday interview at NAB Show, Korea’s Vice Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Jae-You Choi discussed his country’s plan to transition to UHD television broadcasting.

Choi disclosed that arrangements are now in place to provide complete coverage of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in 4K resolution. He added that over-the-air UHD transmissions would commence in Seoul in February 2017 to begin the UHD transition, and that the coverage will expand so that the majority of Koreans will have access to UHD over-the-air transmissions later in the year.

“The plan is to provide coverage to 77 percent of the country by the end of 2017,” Choi said through an interpreter. “Some cable systems are already carrying UHD TV broadcasts now.”

He noted that the UHD effort is being promoted heavily by broadcasters, and they expect there will be a large number of 4K receivers in Korean homes by the end of 2017. When asked whether plans have been made to phase out existing HD broadcasts, the vice minister said no firm shut-off date has been established.

Although no official government decision has been made about adopting a particular UHD television standard, Korean broadcasters will be using ATSC 3.0 for transmitting the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018.

A key exhibit at Futures Park is the Korea UHD On-Air consortium, which comprises Korean broadcasters, equipment manufacturers, researchers and government agencies. The consortium is demonstrating work completed toward the planned 2017 launch of regular terrestrial UHDTV service in Korea, which may represent the world’s first deployment of ATSC 3.0 broadcasting.