BT has eyes on the 4K prize with dedicated UHD channel announcement

Ending a long period of discussion about which broadcaster would be the first to reveal plans for a bespoke 4K service, BT Sport has announced that it will launch the first UHD channel in Europe this August. BT Sport Ultra HD will go live in time for the Community Shield – English football’s annual match contested between the champions of the previous Premier League season and the holders of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium.

Selected other live events will also be shown throughout the season on the new channel. These will include selected games from the UEFA Champions League, Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby, says BT.

Anticipation for the new service is bound to be high after other broadcasters invested significantly in 3D – a technology that is widely felt to have fallen short of the expectations placed upon it 3-4 years ago.

Today (June 9) also saw BT Sport announce that all 351 matches from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League next season will be free for customers who take BT TV. Those customers will be able to receive the full BT Sport Pack for free – comprising BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, ESPN on BT Sport and the new BT Sport Europe channel, which launches on August 1 as the new home of top European football from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Live UEFA Champions League coverage will be fronted by a presenting team including Gary Lineker, Jake Humphrey and Rio Ferdinand.

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: “When we launched BT Sport we promised to make televised football far more accessible and affordable than it has been to date. We have opened the market to millions of new customers and we want to build on that as BT Sport becomes the undisputed home of European football.

“We are of course giving our best offer to existing customers – broadband customers will get the new BT Sport Pack for the heavily discounted price of £5, whilst customers who take broadband and TV from us will get it absolutely free.

“This is a new chapter for European football on TV. BT Sport will show hundreds of live matches throughout the tournament using the very latest technology. Our presenters and experts will also provide the smartest insight and analysis.”

Among other developments announced today, BT will make some matches available for everyone to watch, whether a subscriber or not, via a new, free-to-air channel on digital TV. Entitled BT Sport Showcase, this channel will show a minimum of 12 UEFA Champions League matches and 14 UEFA Europa League matches, and these will be available to anyone to watch for free. Each participating British team will be shown at least once.

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