France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K from September 2023 on DTT, 100% of the population covered for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Continued from our news from last week about the launch of the two channels France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K with a view to enjoying the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in ultra high definition 4K. We now know more about the launch schedule, from September 2023 for major French cities.

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 4K and France 3 UHD 4K, 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 4K and France 3 UHD 4K from September 2023, 100% of the French population covered for the Paris 2024 Olympics

The forum dissected the call for tenders from France Télévisions and found some very interesting information regarding the availability of the France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K channels across France. We thus learn that twenty departments will be concerned from September, including the largest cities of the metropolis (Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes, Lille… see the table below). This first wave of coverage will represent 73% of the national population and four other waves are planned for 2023 to reach a figure of 72% of the French population.

The remaining 28% will benefit from France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K in 2024, without an announced schedule, but before the launch of the Paris Olympics, i.e. before July 26, 2024, the date of the opening ceremony of the Olympics

France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K, audio and video specifications

The other information published in our previous news on the subject remains valid, namely the implementation of these two channels through a dedicated UHD multiplex with an overall flow capacity of 35 Mb/s (DVB-T2) . Similarly, France 2 UHD 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.

The call for tenders always tells us that the video technical characteristics of France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K mention, in addition to a 2160p definition, a display frequency of 50p (i.e. 50 Hz progressive), a 10-bit color encoding, 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). All possibilities are therefore authorized with 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 the sound.

France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K, speed of 16 Mb/s on TNT

Another clarification, the call for tenders mentions the speed of the France 2 UHD 4K and France 3 UHD 4K channels for mainland France and the overseas territories, respectively 16 Mb/s and 12 Mb/s, in constant speed. These speeds could change if a third candidate declares itself 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…