BT Sport, working with a range of partners, including Appear for the provision of 8k contribution encoders and decoders, has successfully delivered the UK’s first live 8K broadcast of a top-tier sporting event into the home
BT Sport broadcast the Saracens v Bristol Bears Gallagher Premiership Rugby match on March 26, live in 8K into selected homes – building on its ongoing 8K leadership which in 2020 saw BT Sport and Samsung deliver the UK’s first public live 8K sports broadcast (the UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Olympiacos), making that match available in 8K to select fans inside the Emirates stadium.
The Gallagher Premiership Rugby 8K broadcast was produced entirely remotely and without a significant on-site presence, proving the durability and sustainability credentials of BT Sport’s approach to technical innovation.
The trial also enabled BT Sport to further explore OB and production workflows for future live 8K broadcasts – testing the ability to run 8K HDR with match coverage, domestic presentation and playout, including ad insertion.
The broadcast was supported by a range of partners, including Premiership Rugby and BT Media & Broadcast who provided contribution links from Tottenham to Stratford. In addition, Sony Image Products and Solutions Europe provided two UHC-8300 cameras and a PWS-4500 server to record the output, Samsung Electronics UK provided its QN800 Neo QLED 8K Televisions to BT Sport Stratford Studios, EMG UK provided the 8K truck and onsite facilities, Fujinon provided a 22:1 wide angle and 86:1 box lens.
Also, Appear were the proud partner in the provision of 8K contribution encoders and decoders, integrated into the Vena network, working alongside Synamedia who provided the 8K distribution/streaming encoder and origin server.
In recent years BT Sport has led the way in 8K. In February 2020, BT Sport and Samsung screened the UK’s first public live 8K sports broadcast, with a screening of the UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Olympiacos (round of 32). BT Sport and Samsung collaborated to make history by delivering the broadcast live from the Emirates Stadium using a bespoke BT Sport 8K outside broadcast set up, delivered to Samsung QLED 8K TVs.
And, in September 2019, at the IBC show in Amsterdam, by bringing together capabilities from BT Sport and Media & Broadcast, BT demonstrated one of the world’s first live 8K sports broadcasts showcasing the Gallagher Premiership Rugby 7s tournament into the RAI.
BT has a track record of industry-leading innovation in broadcast, with BT Sport operating from one of industry’s most sophisticated TV studios equipped with Samsung 8K TVs and in conjunction with BT’s Media & Broadcast division delivering world-firsts in recent years around Virtual Reality, Dolby Atmos sound, 4K UHD picture quality and remote production.
Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said: “BT Sport continues to lead the industry with innovation that provides our customers with the best sports viewing experience in the UK. Whether it’s last season’s launch of the Matchday Experience features on our App, or, our recent trials of 5G-enabled augmented reality viewing, we’re on a mission to take our viewers to the heart of sport.”
Faisal Mahomed, Director of BT Media & Broadcast said, “This successful 8K HDR remote production, showcases the capability of our new smart broadcast network, Vena – delivering live sport, in the highest possible quality and continuing BT’s track record of world-firsts.”
Thomas Bostrøm Jørgensen, CEO at Appear, said: “At Appear we are redefining video contribution in our X Platform. Our range of compact, robust and power-efficient solutions empower BT Sport with the ultimate in flexible technology. In partnership with BT Media & Broadcast, our solution ensured the delivery of these premier, 8K live video broadcasts without compromise.”