September 2, 2013 10.02 Europe/London By Julian Clover
Saturday’s Premier League match between West Ham and Stoke City has become the first-ever live UK event to be broadcast in Ultra HD.
BSkyB filmed the match and transmitted it over a Eutelsat satellite to its studio facility in West London.
All the content was directed live, produced and edited by Sky’s in-house football production and broadcast operations teams using four Sony F55 UHD cameras complemented by two UHD EVS servers for replay, and graphics. The production was done from a purpose built outside broadcast truck in conjunction with Sony and Telegenic in line with current live HD broadcast techniques.
Four synchronous full HD feeds were run by Ericsson over a Eutelsat transponder to its London HQ and was shown on a Sony 84 inch Ultra HD TV at its headquarters in Isleworth. While such a set would currently set you back £25,000, a 55 inch model is available in stores for £3,999.
Sky is emphasising that the event was not a product launch, but merely a demonstration to develop the broadcast requirements to meet any future demand for Ultra HD.
A Sky spokesperson told Broadband TV News: “As you’d expect from Sky, we are constantly experimenting and evaluating new technologies which may help our customers get more enjoyment from the TV they love. As part of this research we have successfully broadcast a test event in Ultra HD. It’s yet another UK first for Sky. We will continue to test and learn so that we’re ready as and when the market for Ultra HD begins to develop.”
Sky Deutschland and Sony are planning a live demonstration of Ultra HD during IBC 2013 in Amsterdam later this month, featuring clips from the Bundesliga, but BSkyB has previously been lukewarm about the technology. Last year Sky’s then COO Mike Darcey questioned whether the UK living room was large enough for Ultra HD.
However, with Sky’s Chris Johns, chief engineer, broadcast strategy now the joint-chair of the recently formed UK UHD Forum it seems unlikely Sky will stay out of the format.