BBC R&D to trial World Cup Ultra HD

June 5, 2014 10.36 Europe/London By Julian Clover

BBC World Cup 2014BBC R&D is to run a series of Ultra HD trials during the World Cup. The closed user trials will cover three games from the Maracană stadium in Rio – a last 16 match, a quarter final and the final.

It’s planned to work closely with strategic research partner, Arqiva, major consumer electronics vendors and technology providers to explore the delivery of live UHD content over broadcast and broadband networks.

It will be the first time that Ultra HD coverage has been delivered simultaneously over Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Internet Protocol (IP) technologies ‘to the home’. The live UHD streams will be transported from Brazil by satellite to the UK where they will be decoded and distributed, via existing broadcast and super-fast broadband infrastructure, to a number of compatible consumer UHD TV sets in selected R&D facilities.

Matthew Postgate, Controller, BBC R&D, said: “BBC R&D has an outstanding track record as a catalyst for bringing the industry together and delivering the future of television to audiences. These trials are an excellent example of that tradition as a major technical achievement, such as distributing UHD TV over DTT and IP simultaneously from Rio, can only be made possible by close collaboration with a range of organisations. The trials will prove hugely valuable in furthering our understanding of UHD technology, and potential distribution models for the future, as well providing real benefits for licence fee payers in the near-term.”

Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Terrestrial Broadcast for Arqiva, added: “By trialling Ultra High Definition with the BBC, Arqiva can demonstrate how future UHD live-events could be delivered to millions of UK homes via the leading television platform – DTT. This is the first over-air demonstration of live UHD in the UK and uses new High Efficiency Transmitters and HEVC coding technology.”

The trial will examine the use of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for distribution over both DTT and over the top IP networks.