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NASA to launch 4K TV channel

NASA will launch a 4K TV channel in the U.S. to showcase ultra-HD NASA space exploits

The U.S. space agency, NASA announced that it has plans to launch a 4K TV channel this fall and has already begun test broadcasts. The channel will stream ultra-high definition (UHD) footage from the International Space Station. According to the NASA, the footage will offer an never before look at what it’s like to live and work aboard the ISS.

“This important new capability will allow researchers to acquire high resolution – high frame rate video to provide new insight into the vast array of experiments taking place every day,” NASA wrote on their YouTube page. “It will also bestow the most breathtaking views of planet Earth and space station activities ever acquired for consumption by those still dreaming of making the trip to outer space.”

NASA is partnering with Harmonic, a worldwide leader in video delivery infrastructure, to launch the new channel, called NASA TV UHD, the first ever non-commercial consumer ultra-high definition (UHD) channel in North America. The partnership is the result of a Space Act Agreement between Harmonic and the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Robert Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications at the agency’s headquarters in Washington said “Partnering with Harmonic gives NASA an outlet for its UHD content, which has four times the resolution of HD and is the next iteration of digital television.”

The NASA TV UHD will broadcast 24 hours a day and be available free of commercials, according to a promotional video that is currently being broadcast alongside NASA’s existing channels on the AMC-18 satellite.

Initial programming will be based around eight different video series: Solar System, Earth View, Mars, NASA Classics, Liftoff, ISS Life, Deep Space and Development.

The agency will use Harmonic’s end-to-end video delivery system to deliver content at 2160p at 60fps, which will allow viewers to enjoy footage on a wide range of television and internet-connected devices.

The new UHD channel is expected to launch on November 1, following preliminary tests. According to the announcement, Harmonic is also in discussions with pay TV companies to bring the channel to consumer via satellite, cable and optical networks. The channel also will stream on the internet, which will require at least 13 Mbps access connectivity to receive the signal and enjoy the UHD experience.

“As NASA reaches new heights and reveals the unknown, the NASA TV UHD channel can bring that journey to life in every home. And as organizations at the forefront of innovation, together we are leading the adoption of this exciting technology,” said Peter Alexander, chief marketing officer at Harmonic. “As the leader in UHD development, Harmonic provides a complete solution for Ultra HD video production and delivery, enabling content and service providers to offer better video quality at a low total cost of ownership.”

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