CDN provider Tata Communications has become the first company to deliver a live 4K feed from a Formula 1 event. The landmark was achieved during the first practice session at the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, where live footage was delivered end-to-end over Tata Communications’ Global Video Connect Network, to Formula One Management’s (FOM) Technical HQ in Biggin Hill, UK.
Demonstrated to an exclusive group of broadcasters, the live delivery highlighted the next generation 4K broadcast capabilities afforded by fibre-optic cable, as well as illustrating how the future of 4K sports broadcasting could look.
Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director F1 Business, Tata Communications, noted that in 2013, the company was able to showcase its broadcast capabilities by transmitting a live JPEG 2000 feed from the same Grand Prix. “This year, we have taken a huge step in next generation broadcast with the first-ever transmission of a live 4K feed from a Formula 1 event. It is another milestone in our journey with Formula One Management and shows the real potential of sports broadcasting over our Video Connect Network, as well as the quality and speed by which it can be delivered,” he added.
4K broadcasting promises ground-breaking definition, but also presents the challenge of significantly increased bandwidth demand. Typically, Tata Communications provides 120 megabits per second (Mbps) for JPEG 2000. During the Biggin Hill showcase, Tata Communications provided 500 Mbps for a single feed, a capability that was only made possible thanks to the company’s global Video Connect network, delivering video and converged IP services seamlessly for high quality sports events.
John Morrison, Formula One Management’s Chief Technical Officer, said that Formula 1 racing was the pinnacle of cutting edge technology, and provided the ultimate showcase for innovation. “4K is an exciting new technology which could have great potential when it comes to sports broadcasting. We are focused on giving F1 fans the best possible experience, which is why we are pleased to be supporting Tata Communications in bringing 4K closer to reality,” he added.
According to Kapadia, consumer demand for high quality and live content across different platforms is now the norm and with the emergence of bandwidth hungry production workflows, especially that of 4K broadcasting, quick turnarounds and availability of content across multiple platforms are hygiene factors for content owners. “Having the world’s only wholly-owned global fibre-optic ring of super-fast cables means that we are able to fully exploit the potential of new technologies such as 4K, from locations across the globe; and give broadcasters and content owners the ability to reach an ever more demanding audience with ever higher quality content,” he advised.