2160p60 Programming to Be Available in the Clear via Satellite, on Cable, and via Streaming

NASA is working with video delivery partner Harmonic on a UHD channel that the companies say will be the first consumer UHD channel in North America.

Slated to launch November 1, NASA TV UHD will deliver 2160p60 video over the same transponder as existing NASA TV channels. Programming on the channel will include high-resolution images and video generated on the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, and other NASA missions, as well as remastered historical footage and, eventually, live rocket launches.

The channel will be transmitted in the clear via the AMC-18C satellite with a North American footprint, and discussions are underway to make it available through U.S. cable operators. It will also be streamed over the Internet, where at least 13 Mbps of throughput will be required for UHD viewing.


NASA and Harmonic will operate the channel jointly. It will be transmitted from NASA's Atlanta uplink using UHD-ready broadcast equipment from Harmonic, with the Electra X3 advanced media processor (above) providing live, full-frame, full-GOP UHD encoding using Harmonic's Pure Compression Engine.

The infrastructure will also incorporate the Ellipse 3000 contribution encoder, the ProView 7100 IRD, the MediaGrid shared-storage system, Polaris playout management, the Spectrum X media server, the ProMedia Origin packager and streaming server and NSG Exo distributed CCAP system.

Harmonic has published a diagram [PDF] to show how everything is connected.

Space may be the final frontier but UHD is not. NASA and Harmonic are also looking into employing HDR and expanded color space when standards become available, with testing expected to begin later this year.