Good news for those who often watch the first two France Télévisions channels, since France 2 and France 3 will soon receive a major update to their video quality thanks to 4K.
Last March, a call for tenders confirmed that France Télévision would soon upgrade its two channels France 2 and France 3 to 4K. With the arrival of the 2024 Olympic Games, it’s about time these channels finally upgraded to higher video qualityto align with what other countries have already been offering for several years now.
While channels like TF1 already offer a UHD variant, on which we are often entitled to sporting events in 4K, it is now the turn of France 2 UHD and France 3 UHD to appear. As @lafibreinfo on X reminds us, these will be available directly on TNT, the broadcast technology that allows digital television to be received through a rake antenna. The channels will also arrive at the same time on the operators’ boxes, but also on MolotovTV.
What changes for 4K on television?
Currently, since April 5, 2016, TNT HD has made it possible to view channels in 1920 x 1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. By the 2024 Olympics, the definition will therefore increase to 3840 x 2160 pixels, and the refresh rate at 50 frames per second. This will allow you to benefit from smoother programs and less jerky animations. However, these aren’t the only notable changes this upgrade will bring.
Indeed, we can also count on a new type of “progressive” scanning, which will allow better perceived quality for viewers. We will also find support for the HDR10 format, when until now we had to make do with SDR. As a reminder, this HDR10 is an open standard, not to be confused with HDR10+, which adds dynamic metadata. The advantage of HDR10 is that it is supported by all recent televisions, even if it is much less interesting than other proprietary formats such as Dolby Vision.
Finally, to be able to broadcast a 4K stream, TNT will now have to use DVB-T2 signal transmission, as well as a HEVC codec more advanced than H.264 which was used until now. Note also that the channels will be broadcast with a raw throughput of 17.5 Mbit/scompared to 5.0 Mbit/s previously.
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When will the transition to 4K take place?
According to the call for tender, these should be operational by the end of September 2023 at the latest in certain regions such as Paris, Lyon or Marseille, while it will be necessary wait until the end of the year or even the beginning of 2024 for the less populated regions of France.
At the time of writing, France Télévisions has still not carried out the upgrade, and has still not officially communicated on the subject. Given that the month of September is coming to an end, these channels may well arrive a little late.
At any rate, 62% of the population would be covered during the first two waves. We will have to be patient so that more users can benefit from it, since at the 5e wave of deployment, only 72% of the population will have access to these new channels. The objective is clear: broadcast the 2024 Olympics in 4K to as many people as possible.
For the momentthe deployment schedule only concerns the “precursor multiplex”, France 2 and France 3. We do not yet have dates for the widespread replacement of TNT HD, and therefore dozens of other channels. We will obviously keep you informed as soon as we learn more.