BT scores 4K/8K sports success

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UK multiplay telco BT took the opportunity of its IBC presence to demonstrate one of the world’s first live 8K sports broadcasts – an hour long broadcast into its outdoor stand. Working with a range of established partners, BT Sport and BT’s Media & Broadcast division delivered an hour-long, live broadcast in 8K, showcasing the Gallagher Premiership Rugby 7s tournament taking place September 14th in Northampton, England.

Partners who supported BT’s live 8K trial included: Appear TV (Appear X10 platform used for encoding, decoding, IP encapsulation and interfacing to the BT network for live link); Astro Design (8K Interface Conversion); Blackmagic Design (ATEM Constellation 8K for vision mixing/HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR for recording); Fujinon (lenses and BT Sport preferred 4K lens partner); Ikegami (cameras); Leader (Technical Monitoring); MOOV (graphics); Samsung (showcasing the content on its 2019 8K QLED TV, the Samsung Q950R, offering resolution four times that of 4K and a total of 33 million pixels supported by HDR10+. Samsung is also the first TV manufacturer to support the BT Sport app), and Telegenic (OB support)

“We have a long history of firsts, starting with HD and 3D content and now adding 8K live sports broadcasts to the list,” commented Dominik Wrona, Head of Outside Broadcast at BT’s Media and Broadcast Division. “Today’s demonstration is another example of how our specialist broadcasting division team is a global leader in the broadcasting industry, bringing to life new innovation and technology and partnering with some of the best brands in the business to make this happen.”

Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said the demonstration demonstrated the breadth of capability and knowhow across BT. “By working with our Media & Broadcast division and other valued partners, BT Sport is underlining its position not only as a leading broadcaster, but as a leading innovator in the industry,” he added.

Hindhaugh stressed that the trial was very much a learning exercise for the company, allowing it to see what was feasible with the limited amount of 8K equipment available.

Earlier in the day, BT had demonstrated what it claimed was one of the highest-ever specification live sports broadcasts; the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United.

Working with a range of established partners, BT Sport and BT’s Media & Broadcast division delivered the live broadcast in 4K High Dynamic Range (4K HDR) pictures and Dolby Atmos sound.

Partners who supported BT’s live demonstration include Dolby, who supported the creation and playback of immersive stadium sound using Dolby Atmos audio. The demo was also supported by Timeline TV and Telegenic who provided the match coverage and match cameras respectively.

Hindhaugh said that BT would continue to innovate in this area, suggesting that viewers could expect more to come around personalisation and immersive audio.

Wrona said that as one of the leading contribution suppliers both in the UK and around the world, BT enabled broadcasters to adopt the latest technology such as 4K HDR. “We will continue to push the boundaries of innovation, supporting broadcasters as they strive to fulfil their creative and technological ambitions,” he added.


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