ATEME HEVC Compression Drives Spain’s First Live 4K-UHD Opera Broadcast

The Spanish broadcaster RTVE successfully broadcast live Wagner’s opera “Parsifal” from Teatro Real, (The Royal Theater in Madrid Spain) on April 21, in Ultra High Definition (UHD). The broadcast took place via the HISPASAT satellite and terrestrial network, in partnership with ATEME, who provided the digital compression of the signal.

This Europe-wide project was the launch event of a series of cultural broadcasts. RTVE was in charge of signal production, coordination and local technical aspects for the event. The show was available in Spain, as well as in the most of Europe via Hispasat and via a DVB-T2 terrestrial network.

The UHD signal was encoded at 30 Mbps, in Main10 profile and in real time using a ATEME Titan encoder for both satellite and terrestrial delivery.

Pere Vila, director of technology and innovation at RTVE, called the milestone project “experimental and very ambitious.”

Vila said with encoding being the heart of the transmission chain, they needed to rely on an experienced vendor like ATEME to make it successful. "Through ATEME’s dedicated efforts, we were able to successfully provide our viewers with an image quality four times superior to the current high definition standards. Regarding the sound, UHD format allows use of immersive technologies that, combined with the hyper-realistic image quality, make it the perfect vehicle for a show like opera or dance." said Vila.

Leveraging the Titan platform, producers encoded the content in UHD using an HEVC codec. Titan is a virtualized software-based encoder-transcoder, designed for cable, DTH, and OTT. The encoder supports HEVC, H.264 and MPEG-2 so the output is ready for display on most devices, from mobile receivers to 4K UHD television sets. Titan is a high-density solution that delivers high video quality at minimum bitrates. With its powerful user interface, management system and extensive set of APIs, Titan can easily integrate with any ecosystem, reducing time-to-market and OPEX.

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