Rogers Announces Gigabit Internet, 4K TV, Netflix 4K Partnership

Rogers this morning has announced plans to launch more support for 4K broadcasting. At a press event, it detailed plans to launch a new 4K set top box, which will support over 100 live sporting events streamed in 4K, including all 2016 Blue Jays home games and 20 NHL games. The company is calling this the “world’s largest commitment” to live sports broadcasting in 4K with high dynamic range (HDR).

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Also new is Rogers Ignite Gigabit Internet to support 4K streaming, plus a new partnership with Netflix for “premium” 4K streaming by connecting to the latter’s Open Connect content delivery network for faster streaming. As for shomi, it will also gain over 100 hours of 4K content.

Guy Laurence, President and CEO, Rogers Communications, explained “4K TV sets have been in the market for some time and 40 per cent of all TV sales are likely to be 4K this holiday season. However, until now live TV broadcasts in 4K have been few and far between and customers have not been able to get 4K set top boxes.”

He says the company will solve both problems with one solution via their 4K live sports broadcasting commitment and the introduction of a new 4K set top box.

Rogers Ignite Gigabit internet will debut first this year in downtown Toronto and the GTA, including the following areas: Harbourfront, Cabbagetown, Riverdale, King Street West, Queen Street West, the Financial District, Discovery District, Yonge and Bloor, Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill, Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby and more. The end of 2016 will see the company’s entire cable footprint in Ontario and Atlantic Canada support Ignite Gigabit Internet (over 4 million homes).

Canada’s Internet providers are spending more to quickly upgrade their legacy networks to meet Canadian demand for faster data, but also comes with “a meaningful cost advantage” for companies like Rogers and Shaw that employ data transfer technology known as DOCSIS, according to a recent Scotia Capital Inc. report from August (via The Financial Post):

The Scotia analysts estimate it will take cablecos four months, should the Internet provider charge $51 per month, to recoup the costs of connecting a home to the latest version of DOCSIS. This compares to a whopping 45 months for telcos when fibre to the last mile of a home is wired aerially, which is much cheaper to do than a sub-surface build.

“Assuming similar pricing between telcos and cablecos, we believe cablecos can generate a higher return on broadband than telcos,” the Scotia report states. Maintaining predictive, higher-margin monthly revenues is critical to limit the dilution of returns for telcos, which is a rigidity that “limits telcos’ pricing flexibility.”

Rogers has 2 million Internet subscribers, Bell has 3.3 million, Telus has 1.5 million and Shaw has 1.9 million, based on recent quarterly financial results. The stakes are high for these companies to deploy the fastest Internet possible to own the connected home.

Will this make you purchase a 4K TV on Boxing Day?