Rai, Eutelsat team for Euro 2016 Ultra HD
April 12, 2016
By Colin Mann
Rai, Italy’s national public broadcaster and satellite operator Eutelsat are teaming up to deliver live coverage of premium sport in Ultra HD. Following an agreement between the two companies, seven matches of the Euro 2016 championship will be offered to Italian TV homes receiving Tivùsat, the free-to-view platform distributed by satellite from Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD video neighbourhood. The initiative with Eutelsat marks Rai’s most ambitious foray into Ultra HD that represents the next big leap forward in broadcasting.
Unprecedented Ultra HD broadcasts
The live broadcasts of European Championship matches constitute Italy’s most significant satellite broadcast of live sport in Ultra HD and prefigure the launch of regular channels. They begin on 30 June, with the first match of the quarter-finals, followed on 1, 2 and 3 July by the other quarter final matches. The semi-finals will be broadcast in Ultra HD on 6 and 7 July with the final scheduled for 10 July.
Viewers equipped with an Ultra HD screen and a CAM certified by Tivùsat will be able to watch the matches by tuning to the number of the special channel to be activated by Tivùsat for the championship. Take-up of Ultra HD screens in Italy is accelerating, with ANITEC, the Italian association representing the ICT industry, forecasting that sales will surpass one million units by end 2016.
The special broadcasts also involve the support of industry-leading technology partners, including V-Nova from the UK that will provide the P.Link 4K, a software-based contribution encoding and decoding system that will contribute the highest signal quality from the International Broadcasting Centre to be located in Paris.
Rai roster of 11 channels broadcasting in HD by satellite by end 2016
Eutelsat and Rai are also collaborating on the complete upscale to HD of 11 Rai channels broadcast by satellite. Five channels are already available in HD via Tivùsat (Rai 1, Rai 2, Rai 3, Rai Sport 1 and Rai 4), to be joined in May by Rai Movie and Rai Premium. The complete upgrade will be achieved by end 2016.