Racing UK outlines HD coverage plans
Wednesday, May 19 2010, 12:32 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,

Racing UK has confirmed plans to produce more high definition horse racing coverage from next year, along with launching its own HD channel on Sky.

As part of a 7m operational investment, the broadcaster has contracted RaceTech to build and operate three outside broadcast units capable of producing race coverage in HD.

Racing UK plans to ensure all of its 30 UK-covered racecourses - including Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom and Goodwood - are HD-ready from the first quarter of 2011.

HD pictures will be beamed back to Racing UK's London production facility via a high speed network provided by BT Wholesale. The coverage will then be made available to Channel 4 and the BBC for their HD channels.

However, Racing UK said that is also aiming to launch its own full HD channel on the Sky platform in the first quarter of 2011.

Despite there being no confirmed timescale as yet for the launch of Racing UK HD, the broadcaster hopes to offer all of its racing events in HD from next year.

The move follows BBC HD's transmission of the 2010 Grand National, which was widely deemed to be a success.

"This represents a significant 7m investment in the coverage of our racing. The network upgrade will deliver high definition pictures at a faster speed than the current standard definition network," said Racing UK's director broadcast David Bellin.

"The new trucks are designed to enhance the coverage of racing on terrestrial, satellite and cable TV, and on-course. We have the foundations in place to maintain Racing UK's premier position in the sport's genre.

"HD will greatly enhance the spectacle of a horse race for the armchair viewer, particularly the jockeys' silks and close-ups of the thoroughbred in action."

Racing UK's first major HD horse racing event will be the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, which is to be aired on Channel 4 HD.