We knew the president of France Télévisions volunteered to broadcast the Paris 2024 Olympics in Ultra HD 4K but we didn't see anything coming.
France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD, it's official!
But the major maneuvers officially began with the publication of a call for tenders published on the France Televisions site on March 10, open until April 11, entitled "Agreement-framework aims to entrust an operator with the recovery of signals from the various Ultra High Definition (UHD) television services and the production of audiovisual multiplexes for Metropolitan France and the Overseas Territories”.
France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD, launching late 2023 or early 2024
On reading the latter, we learn that the schedule for all the lifting of reserves for the commissioning of the France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD channels will have to be completed by the end of 2023 at the latest. This bodes well for a launch of these channels between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024 on a dedicated UHD multiplex with an overall streaming capacity of 35 Mb/s (DVB-T2). A few months before the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympics, perfect for completely validating the broadcasting of 4K UHD signals. We also learn that if the France 2 UHD channel will broadcast 100% of the time in UHD 4K (native programs and Upscaling in the program), France 3 UHD could only switch to UHD 4K on certain content only, like the appropriate event channels available in IP.
France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD, audio and video specifications
The call for tenders always tells us that the video technical characteristics of France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD mention, in addition to a 2160p definition, a 50p display frequency (i.e. 50 Hz progressive), color encoding on 10-bit, HDR10 technology (via ITU-R BT.2100) and HEVC compression. For audio, E-AC3 and AC4 are on the menu (some old 4K UHD TVs are not AC4 compatible, hence E-AC3 backward compatibility).
This allows all possibilities within from the AC4 container, from a simple mono signal to Dolby Atmos. Namely, OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) also known as the Olympic broadcasting service, supplier of the international signal of the Olympics, offers a signal up to HDR Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. If France Télévisions has therefore chosen HDR10, let's hope that the public service group chooses Dolby Atmos for sound.
France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD, speed of 16 Mb/s on DTT
Another clarification, the call for tenders mentions the speed of the France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD channels for mainland France and the overseas territories, respectively 16 Mb/s and 12 Mb/s. These speeds could change if a third candidate declared himself for the UHD multiplex. Bandwidth sharing would result in a throughput of 11 Mb/s per channel. Latest information related to the call for tenders, France TV is also asking its service providers about the cost associated with the addition of three additional UHD channels. We could therefore see some content from the other channels of the FTV group broadcast in Ultra HD 4K…