Amazon Web Services has announced that BT used AWS Elemental Live video processing to power live streaming broadcasts of the UEFA Champions League final on June 3rd. For the first time, BT gave viewers the opportunity to experience the highly anticipated championship events live in the BT Sport application and on YouTube in both 360-degree virtual reality (VR) and 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) video.
BT has consistently advanced the quality and diversity of its sports programming through its BT Sport broadcast channels and YouTube channel. The addition of VR to its live streaming portfolio continues a string of innovations from BT that engage online audiences and enhance the viewing experience for the premier European football tournaments.
“We’re always exploring ways to create new, immersive experiences for our live events that make the most of the latest video technologies,” said Chris Bramley, Chief Technology Officer, BT TV. “AWS Elemental provides a critical element in the chain, enabling us to bring viewers virtually onto the pitch and put them in the middle of the most exciting events in all of sport with resilient, high-quality streaming to multiple devices. We’re excited to break new ground as we extend these world-class tournament championships to viewers.”
Last year, BT launched the first live online streaming of the UEFA Europa League and Champions League tournaments with AWS Elemental via YouTube; early this year, the broadcaster began offering its subscribers English Premier League as well as Europa League and Champions League matches using Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. In late May, BT live streamed the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Europa League final in 4K VR.
To bring the tournament finals to life in VR, BT designed a workflow that begins with 12 360-degree 4K UHD cameras positioned on and around the playing surfaces. On-site production trucks deliver VR feeds for delivery to AWS Elemental Live encoders for processing and packaging live streams. The 4K UHD streams originating from BT’s main channel playout center are also encoded by AWS Elemental Live for live streaming of 4K UHD content over the YouTube Live platform. Using AWS Elemental, BT has minimised latency while furnishing the highest quality adaptive bitrate outputs for YouTube viewers on browsers, Android and iOS devices, Chromecast and selected gaming consoles.
“Emerging formats such as VR and 4K UHD benefit from the highest quality inputs to produce the highest quality outputs,” said John Nemeth, Vice President, EMEA, AWS Elemental. “BT has demonstrated its commitment to superior live streaming services with industry leading video processing workflows that integrate seamlessly with the stringent delivery requirements of the latest platforms and formats.”
The UEFA finals events reflect the continued expansion of AWS Elemental solutions within BT’s video processing infrastructure. Last year, BT turned to AWS Elemental software to unify its traditional and multiscreen headend for its BT Sport App, BT TV and BT Ultra HD services. For BT TV, AWS Elemental drives subscription linear channels delivered to IPTV set-top boxes and multiscreen devices, allowing BT to scale to hundreds of channels and to provide subscribers live, on-demand, and time-shift services. For the BT Sport app, AWS Elemental Delta enables time-shifted viewing through its live-to-VoD filter capabilities.