Sky Deutschland 4K broadcasts of Bundesliga set for Oct. 14; killing Sky 3D

Ultra HD is coming to Sky Deutschland’s Sky Sport Bundesliga channel next week (Oct. 14) in time for a live transmission of the Bundesliga game Borussia Dortmund vs. Hertha BSC match.

The match kicks off Sky Deutschland’s season-long coverage that promises one match from the German football (soccer) league each week, delivered on its satellite TV service in partnership with Astra Deutschland. The feed will also be available on some cable networks. In addition to Bundesliga matches on Sky Deutschland’s Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD, the operator also plans to broadcast selected games from the UEFA Champions League on Sky Sport UHD.

The UHD/4K play is an early step in “opening new doors to the future of TV,” said Stefan Kunz, VP of broadcast services at Sky Deutschland.

The operator announced its intent to broadcast the HD games in August using via long-term partner SES’s prime orbital position of 19.2 degrees East in autumn. The two partnered back in 2005 to launch Sky Deutschland’s first HD channels.

The service requires a Sky+ Pro receiver and a 4K set.

Sky 3D kaput

Meanwhile, the end is nigh for what may be one of the few remaining dedicated 3D channels in the world. Sky Deutschland says it will close down Sky 3D by the middle of next year.

The channel launched in 2010 at the height of the “OMG!-Everyone-wants-3D” movement. It was a trend that proved to have a pretty short life span, as consumers were far less interested in watching 3D content than TV manufacturers were in kick-starting moribund set sales. Sky said 3D VOD movies would continue to be made available on the Sky Select VOD service.

The move to kill Sky 3D in Germany comes about 16 months after Sky pulled its plug in the United Kingdom.

Part of the issue with 3D was that the 3D content flow never really made it into the pipeline and, when it did, it was far less enjoyable than had been anticipated.

The stream of 4K/UHD content, meanwhile, has been steadily building and appears to be on a much more solid trajectory than 3D.

More than 350 million UHD TVs are expected to be in homes across the world by 2019, with the biggest growth in China, followed by North America and Western Europe.

And operators report there already is enough 4K content available to drive the technology to consumers. Most new content actually is already being recorded with enough data to deliver it in 4K. In many cases, content shot on 35mm film – movie quality from the 1940s and 1950s – easily can deliver high-quality 4K to consumers.

UHD adoption also is being helped along by the increasing traction virtual reality has gained with gamers and, forecasts suggest, sports fans. In fact, VR hardware alone is expected to become a $50 billion business by 2021.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn