UHD and Sporting Events: A Winning Combination
Recent global sporting events have re-accelerated the industry’s roll out of 4K and 8K as well as HDR and HFR technology enhancements, as media companies – particularly the streamers and production facilities – continue the push to deliver the very highest quality pictures to viewers. The transition to UHD for broadcasters has so far been a slow process, IP is a key element to the success of UHD due to the huge bandwidth requirements. The IABM Next Generation Imaging Report explains, “When it comes to infrastructure deployed, media companies prefer to adopt an IP or a hybrid SDI-IP approach than upgrade to 12G SDI or Quad 3G SDI.”
Certainly, the two genres where UHD comes into its own are movies and sports. Live sporting events present a perfect proving ground for new technologies that improve workflows and provide high-quality viewing experiences. It requires substantial effort for suppliers to work together to achieve a flawless product for their audiences. When it comes to interoperability, there are few configurations that merge solutions from diverse suppliers for 100 percent compatibility immediately. In fact, Interoperability based on NMOS (Networked Media Open Specifications) has manifested as a limiting factor of IP technology because its specification leaves a lot to interpretation. A product may meet the NMOS specification, but it may also have communication problems with other products. While the video/audio transport part is simple, the control of communications between systems and the control of target devices is difficult and needs significant improvement.
The recent global games that took place in Tokyo highlight the success of IP, UHD and HDR production and transmission. Of 1,050 cameras 70 percent used UHD, and the audio was captured with an immersive 5.1.4 configuration. In addition to recording in UHD format, there were multi-camera repetition systems comprised of 60 to 80 4K cameras allowed producers to recreate the action in 360 degrees. After five seconds of processing, viewers were able to catch the action in a variety of angles.
In all, the OBS produced approximately 5,500 hours of live programming in 4K HDR format and edited another 4,000 hours of content in 1080p HDR format. A total of 75 HD and 46 UHD distribution channels were generated, 100 Mbps per UHD channel.
Approximately 200 hours of programing, including the opening and closing ceremonies and numerous competitions, were broadcast in 8K and 22.2 multichannel sound system (24 speakers, including two subwoofers, arranged in three layers) by NHK, an important milestone as Japan’s public media organization delivered coverage to viewers from its Broadcast Satellite 8K channel.
These are extremely impressive stats and provide an excellent reference for media companies transitioning to IP and UHD workflows. There is always a balance, however, between companies that simply provide current technologies and companies that are at the forefront of technical advancements – offering the latest cutting-edge solutions with minimal technical risks. At Tedial, our platforms reflect our commitment to providing advanced tools that integrate seamlessly with other solution providers and prepare our customers to address the challenges of tomorrow. And of course, our systems support all the new UHD camera formats and multichannel sound systems. IP, UHD and HDR are here to stay, and their use will surely accelerate in coming years.
To find out how Tedial is assisting media companies with these new workflows click the following links to our blog: