“Ultra-HD broadcasting is the next stage for us on a journey of trying to use the new 4K technology. We started by testing what we could do inside the ground, with the cameras and could we get the cameras to talk to the Outside Broadcast trucks. Gradually we are building on that experience to try and fulfil the complete end-to-end chain,” according to Euan Smith, Sky Deutschland’s EVP/Product & Operations.
Smith was talking about his company’s preparatory plans for the introduction of 4K transmissions. He admitted that at the moment the complete end-to-end process was not yet in place and they were having to use some ‘work-arounds’ in order to complete the chain. “We are not right now, nor for the immediate future into significant expenditure on the project. Clearly with the availability of HEVC and its compression benefits allows us to talk better as to the probable bandwidth requirements. When it was the original 4-times bandwidth then that was unaffordable. Then it was expressed a s double the bandwidth, that was better but still not ideal. But you can see the direction it is going and you can then start having sensible conversations about the likely future, and how we might commercialise 4K. It is also obvious that [the financials] are only going to get better over time.”
“The next step for us is to put the whole end-to-end chain together. Our initial focus is very much on sport so we need [an adequate] bit-rate and high frame-rate in order to capture fast-moving sport, and we will be further testing later in April to see how this works out and we’ll know much more after those tests,” added Smith.