Watching your favourite sport in UHD is here!

Major sporting events such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games try to utilise the latest in broadcasting technology. And now industry heavyweights in Telstra and Foxtel have now signed a multi-million dollar deal for the next 6 years to provide content in 4K glory. 

With Foxtel already providing cricket in this new format. All the international matches and selected Big Bash League or BBL matches will be aired on their own dedicated 4K channel. Telstra will deliver UHD sports events using their digital video network, mobile satellite trucks and broadcast centres will deliver content from across 31 different sports venues totalling 100Gpbs of capacity. Now that’s a lot of data!

Foxtel users will need to upgrade to their latest IQ4 set-top box. However, the question begs to be asked; does your Home Network have enough grunt (a.k.a bandwidth) to be able to stream UHD content without the annoying buffering? To answer that question you need to understand how much bandwidth a UHD movie or live stream would consume of your network.

An article by the USA Today suggests that many consumer connections don’t cut the mustard when it comes to streaming live 4K content. Amazon and NetFlix recommend speeds of anything from 15Mbps to 25Mpbs of your connection. But with multiple devices all clambering for a slice of the bandwidth pie then 25Mpbs will not suffice. So how do we fair in Australia? The answer WE DONT!

On the 29th March 2018, the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission), produced their first look analytical report of the NBN network and the throughput speeds it was achieving for its customers. The report centred around the bandwidth availability of some of the major ISPs. It indicated the ISPs were able to provide 80% to 90% of guaranteed bandwidth in the evenings. 

In reference to article found on the news.com.au website, it seems that the Akamai State of the Internet Report indicates that Australia only manages an average of 11Mpbs. The Speedtest Global Index pegs the country’s average connection to 30mbps and no more, placing us 54th in the world. Oversubscription of current infrastructure is to blame especially in the major city centres.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. As early as September this year the NBN indicated that they were in the process of upgrading their 60,000km network backbone to double its capacity.  So it’s now just a waiting game.

Ok, so I’ve got streaming and buffering problems with my Stan and Netflix, but what can I do about it now? 

  • Upgrade your router with solid bandwidth management tools
  • Replace your ISP with one that has better average speed capacity for its customers.
  • Improve the reach of your WiFi access points
  • Limit the number of devices which access online streaming services
  • or just read a book 🙂

So until the NBN improves its capacity then we’re unlikely to see a positive upgrade to our TV experience any time soon. But we’re excited about the future of television and I think you’ll be too. 

To end off with a public service announcement; Too much TV is bad for you!, try not to binge-watch, get time to feed the dog, talk to your spouse, and if you get a chance, read that book 🙂

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