BT Sport and Samsung team up for first live 8K sports broadcast in the UK

QLED 8K broadcast of UEFA Europa league clash showcased future of UHD broadcast

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a chance on the last kick of the match against Olympiacos – seen here celebrating putting Arsenal 1-0 up against Newcastle at St James’ Park on 11 August 2019 in a Premier League match

BT Sport has teamed with Samsung to show the UK’s first public live 8K sports broadcast, with a screening of the UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Olympiacos (round of 32) on the evening of 27 February.

The companies collaborated to deliver the broadcast live from the Emirates Stadium in North London during a nail-biting match that saw the home team knocked out of the competition following a 2-1 defeat.

Using a bespoke BT Sport 8K outside broadcast set up, the live screening was delivered to an audience of 50 viewers within the stadium, who watched on Samsung QLED 8K TVs.

This latest broadcast over IP enhances the potential of BT Sport Ultimate, a service which provides viewers with the best viewing experience possible on the platforms and devices they use to watch on, BT Sport claimed.

BT Sport partners who supported the live 8K trial included: Fujinon with 8K lenses (HP7.5×8.5 & HP11x22.5) as the BT Sport preferred 4K lens partner; Socionext with its s8-c21 Quad HDMI 2.0 to HDMI 2.1a converter; BlackMagic Design with a Quad 12GB SDI to HDMI Converter; Leader with the Leader 8K LV5900 Waveform Monitor; Beamr with the Beamr 5 8K HEVC Encoder; Telegenic as a BT Sport OB partner; Timeline TV as a BT Sport OB partner; and Sony Professional Solutions Europe with UHC-8300 8K camera system, PWS-4500 production servers, HDRC-4000 HDR production converter units, and BVM-HX310 4K Trimaster HX professional master monitors.

Commented Dan Hastings, director of TV and AV at Samsung UK: “For 50 years Samsung has pioneered the TV category; from the launch of the world’s first digital colour TV in 1998, the world’s thinnest TV in 2002, the first double-sided LCD screen in 2006 and then one of our biggest advancements to date; the first company to bring 8K TVs to the UK in 2018.

“We have shown that we never rest when it comes to pursuing meaningful innovations that could supercharge the way people consume content. It is great that we can add showing the first 8K broadcast to that list with BT Sport in 2020,” Hastings added.

Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said: “BT Sport has a rich history of leading the industry with broadcast innovation to provide our customers the best viewing experience in the UK. Whether it’s last season’s launch of the world’s first regular high dynamic range service, BT Sport Ultimate, or our world-leading remote production activity we’re constantly working to provide the best possible experience. [This] broadcast in partnership with Samsung continues BT’s mission to take our viewers to the heart of sport and serve them the ultimate viewing experience.”

BT has a track record of innovation in broadcast, with BT Sport delivering world-firsts in recent years around virtual reality, Dolby Atmos sound, 4K UHD picture quality and remote production. Last year it launched BT Sport Ultimate, the world’s first service to feature regular programming in High Dynamic Range (HDR), as well as 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos.

In September, BT Sport staged a demonstration of a live 8K broadcast at the IBC Show in Amsterdam, delivering coverage of a Premiership Rugby 7s match in the UK.

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