4K Resolution Free To Air TV In Australia!
18 April 2018 (updated 27 March 2019)
So What Is The Difference Between SD, HD, Full HD, 4K and 8K Television Resolution?
Broadly speaking, the quality of any video transmission you can achieve on your screen is a combination of: (i) whether the video is ‘interlaced scan’ or ‘progressive scan’, and (ii) the number of pixels (width x height) displayed on the screen at any given time for any one image. These two components comprise the resolution of the video you are watching. Of course there are other factors that can impact the final quality of the video, including frame rate, and colour range, amongst many other factors.
- ‘Progressive scan’ captures, transmits, and displays an image in a path similar to English text on a page – one line at a time, top to bottom. The ‘Interlaced scan’ pattern also completes such a scan, but in two passes. The first pass displays all the odd numbered lines. The second pass displays all the even numbered lines, filling in the gaps in the first scan. Without getting too technical, progressive scan is superior to interlaced scan in picture quality (particularly in fast moving videos), but requires more bandwidth to display.
- The higher number of pixels displayed on the screen at any given time, the smaller the size of each of those pixels. If you are looking at an image with very small pixels, the image will be better quality, particularly when viewed on larger screens or TVs.
In terms of the references to SD, HD, Full HD, 4K, 8K, etc, there is a lot of this terminology that gets defined by the particular end-user, or AV salesperson. Nevertheless, this is what we at Install My Antenna believe to be the correct definitions:
|Standard Definition (SD)||576i||(ie 720×576)|
|High Definition (HD)||720p||(ie 1280×720)|
|Full HD||1080i or 1080p||(ie 1920×1080)|
|Ultra High Definition (UHD) / 4K||2160i or 2160p||(ie 3840×2160)|
|8K||4320i or 4320p||(ie 7680×4320)|
What Resolution Am I Currently Watching?
The answer to this questions will depend on ensuring you have compatible equipment, as well as the broadcast itself. If your television or set-top box is only capable of displaying SD, HD, Full HD or 4K, then that is what you will be limited to. Nevertheless, the broadcasts themselves are a mix of resolution types. All Digital TV broadcasters in Australia are required to provide a minimum of SD quality, to allow for older televisions to be able to receive the broadcast. A Digital TV Antenna in Australia will also get you the Full HD (1080i) services delivered by all commercial networks. In fact, the Government has provided that the commercial networks must deliver a minimum of 1040 hours per year of Full HD content! Given the increased bandwidth required as the resolution increases, Foxtel have premium subscription options available for their range of HD channels. Also, the Foxtel HD channels are rarely in fact Full HD (1080i), but rather the lesser 720i format. Foxtel Now (Foxtel’s IPTV set-top box) allows up to 1080p streams for On Demand titles but only 720p on its ‘linear TV’ shows. With Foxtel Now and other IPTV options (like Netflix), you will also be limited by your internet download speed. Various sites offer different minimum download speeds, however, you will likely need a reliable download speed of anywhere between 5-10 Mbps in order to be able to receive Full HD content. This is no easy feat in Australia, especially if you have someone else in the house with their phone, tablet or laptop connected to the internet at the same time you are trying to relax and watch some TV!
4K Television in Australia
The good news is that as of March 2018, Australia’s Free To Air TV networks are busy working away trialling DVB-T2 technology, which can carry 4K TV broadcasts. This truly exhibits the bandwidth capacity of the simple Digital TV Antenna, especially when compared to internet downloads. Whilst it may be an older delivery method, getting a TV antenna installation today may have you watching the best quality television available in Australia, very soon. Read more about the trial in the news release from Broadcast Australia here.
Update on 4K TV Trials in Australia (27 March 2019)
We have an update… 4K TV on Free To Air TV in Australia is getting closer!!!
Broadcast Australia have announced that the second phase of the DVB-T2 trials are underway. Queensland is where the trials are taking place, bringing 4K Free To Air TV to Brisbane and the Gold Coast during the test period of March and April 2019. So, if you are tuning in to either of the following transmitters or repeater towers, try tuning in to Channel 28 (frequency 529.5MHz) to catch a glimpse of the 4K trial in action:
- Gold Coast: Mount Tamborine translator
- Brisbane: Mt Coot-tha transmitter
Getting a little more technical, the broadcast will be operating in a new mode of digital television technology called “extended single frequency”. Results will be analysed to determine the service threshold in the target coverage area in extended SFN (single frequency network) mode.
Fingers crossed that the trial runs smoothly and we have 4K Free To Air TV in Australia as soon as possible!