On 10 November, Harmonic – a global provider of video delivery infrastructure –
announced that NASA TV UHD, the first consumer Ultra HD (UHD) channel in North
America, is now available. Leveraging an end-to-end UHD delivery system from
Harmonic, NASA’s ambient video channel provides consumers with a wide array of
out-of-this-world linear 2160p60 video content, capturing the beauty of the space programme.
Transmitted in the clear via the SES AMC-18C satellite, NASA TV UHD is remotely
produced by Harmonic and jointly operated with NASA. Harmonic is currently in
discussions with pay TV operators to carry the channel on their satellite DTH, cable
and optical networks. Tests are underway to enable consumption on a wide range of television and IP-connected devices. The channel will also be available for OTT
streaming at a later date, to be determined.
NASA TV UHD consists of eight brand-new TV series’ designed to explore the various facets of NASA’s space programme. These include: ISS Life,
documenting life on the space station from the first-person perspective of the
astronauts; Earth View, the astronauts’ unique perception of our
planet; Solar System, showing vibrant imagery of the earth’s
neighbouring planets and the sun, including time-lapse videos using solar dynamics
observatory images; Deep Space, animated UHD still imagery
captured from the Hubble telescope and other telescopic platforms; NASA
Classics, important highlights from NASA’s history, such as the Apollo
programme; Mars, an entire programme dedicated to the intriguing red
planet; Liftoff, an up-close look at spacecraft launches, including
rocket tests; and Development, detailing the training as well as the research and development efforts that take place before each NASA mission.
“Not only is NASA TV UHD the first consumer UHD channel in North America, the
ambient nature of the channel is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before,
taking the consumer entertainment experience to a whole new level,” said Peter
Alexander, chief marketing officer at Harmonic. “Each programme featured on
NASA TV UHD is composed of long, beautiful shots that can only be described as
breathtaking. Delivered in the eight million pixel resolution of the UHD format, it
truly is a remarkable viewing experience that would not have been possible without
Harmonic’s complete solution for Ultra HD video production and delivery. We’re
happy that the channel is now operational with the first tranche of content.”
The NASA TV UHD utilises an end-to-end solution that includes Harmonic’s Ellipse®
3000 contribution encoder, ProView™ 7100 integrated receiver-decoder (IRD),
MediaGrid shared storage system, Polaris™ playout management suite, Spectrum™
X advanced media server system, Electra™ X2 and Electra X3 advanced media
processors, ProMedia® Origin packager and streaming video server and NSG™ Exo
distributed CCAP system.
At the heart of the UHD workflow is Harmonic’s Electra X3 advanced media
processor, the industry’s first converged media processor for UHD content with live,
full-frame, full-GOP UHD encoding. Powered by the Harmonic Pure Compression
Engine™, an advanced encoding technology that supports resolutions up to 2160p60 (HEVC Main 10) for broadcast and OTT multi-screen delivery, the Electra X3 enables exceptional video quality at minimum bandwidth.
For more information on Harmonic, instructions for gaining access to the NASA TV
UHD channel, and to view the trailer, click here.