Videotron claims it’s the first telecom provider in Canada to commercially rollout a 4K/Ultra HD set-top, with plans to offer content in the eye-popping format by the end of summer.
Videotron said the UHD-capable box, made by Samsung, will sport a processor that is 12 times faster than the one powering its next-gen box for the MSO’s illico TV service, can record eight shows at once, and can store up to 115 hours of UHD content (and up to 320 hours of regular HD).
Early on, Videotron will offer VOD fare on UHD, including the Stingray Ambiance channel and the first episodes of Alerte 5, TVA's new docu-reality show. Movies will also be added as Videotron expands its UHD catalog.
According to Cartt.ca, the Samsung device will be available in stores by late August or early September for C$399, the same price as Videotron’s HD-based, eight-tuner DVR. The report noted that Alerte 5 will be simulcast in HD on a special channel, and that UHD VOD titles will cost $7.99, $1 more than their HD versions.
"As a leader in cable TV, Videotron hopes that its move into UHD will serve as a catalyst for the development of Canada's UHD ecosystem and spur all the players in the distribution chain to follow suit, from the movie studios and post-production facilities to the broadcasters," said Manon Brouillette, president and CEO of Videotron, in statement. "Consumers will be the winners. With the advent of UHD, it will be possible to create an astonishing television experience for viewers. In terms of both image quality and fast, fluid navigation through the interface, illico 4K UHD will give our customers what is unquestionably the best in technology and entertainment."
Videotron, which has about 1.74 million cable video subs, is the latest North American MVPD to jump into 4K. In the U.S., DirecTV has launched a limited 4K-VOD service for its Genie platform and Samsung UHD TVs, and Comcast has launched a 4K streaming app for Samsung TVs. Comcast is also developing 4K-capable boxes for its X1 platform. Dish Network is nearing the debut of a 4K service that will run on a new UHD-capable Joey box.