BBC to trial football UHD broadcasts from Brazil World Cup

BBC Research and Development has announced it will trial Ultra-High Definition (UHD) broadcasts this summer from the World Cup in Brazil.

In a series of closed trials, BBC R&D says it will work closely with broadcasting infrastructure partner Arqiva, and major consumer electronics vendors and technology providers, to test the delivery of live UHD content over broadcast and broadband networks.

The trials mark the first time live UHD coverage will have been delivered simultaneously over Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Internet Protocol (IP) technologies "to the home".

The live UHD streams will be transported from games in 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.

The aim is to better understand the latest UHD distribution technologies and standards in a live outside broadcast, "helping to inform future development, best practices and, ultimately, to ensure any future UHD TV services can make a real impact when they launch", said the BBC.

The challenge of distributing UHD TV to the home, said the BBC, is compatibility with existing broadcast and broadband distribution capacities. This trial will examine the use of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for distribution over both DTT and over the top IP networks.

Adaptive bitrate technology is an important tool for providing a consistent quality of service over IP networks. It allows an individual’s device to automatically select the best available picture quality according to the network bandwidth available at any given time. The trials will test the use of MPEG-DASH adaptive bitrate for high quality video delivery over IP networks.

Matthew Postgate, controller for BBC R&D, said: “The trials will prove hugely valuable in furthering our understanding of UHD technology, and potential distribution models for the future, as well as providing real benefits for licence fee payers in the near-term.”

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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