BT Sport delivers live 8K broadcast of Saracens v Bristol Bears rugby match

BT Sport has delivered the UK’s first live 8K broadcast of a top-tier sporting event into the home, teaming up with a host of partners to continue its ongoing interest in 8K.

The broadcaster aired the Saracens v Bristol Bears Gallagher Premiership Rugby match, which took place on 26 March, live in 8K into selected homes.

The game was produced entirely remotely and without a significant on-site presence, BT Sport said, allowing it to explore OB and production workflows for future live 8K broadcasts, including testing the ability to run 8K HDR with match coverage, domestic presentation and playout including ad insertion.

The Saracens v Bristol Bears 8K trial is also part of BT Sport’s efforts to get 8K out of the stadium and into the home, although BT doesn’t currently have any plans to launch a consumer 8K service.

The trial builds on BT Sport’s previous 8K experiments, which include BT Sport working with Samsung to deliver the UK’s first public live 8K sports broadcast of the UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Olympiacos, which was made available in 8K to select fans inside Arsenal’s Emirates stadium. Prior to that, at IBC 2019, BT Sport and BT Media & Broadcast demonstrated one of the world’s first live 8K sports broadcasts showcasing the Gallagher Premiership Rugby 7s tournament at the RAI in Amsterdam.

BT Sport chief operating officer Jamie Hindhaugh said: “BT Sport continues to lead the industry with innovation that provides our customers with the best sports viewing experience in the UK.

“Whether it’s last season’s launch of the Matchday Experience features on our App, or, our recent trials of 5G-enabled augmented reality viewing, we’re on a mission to take our viewers to the heart of sport.”

As well as working with Premiership Rugby, BT Sport partnered with a host of vendors including:

  • BT Media & Broadcast provided contribution links from Tottenham to Stratford
  • Sony Image Products and Solutions Europe provided two UHC-8300 cameras and a PWS-4500 server to record the output
  • Samsung Electronics UK provided its QN800 Neo QLED 8K Televisions to BT Sport Stratford Studios
  • EMG UK provided the 8K truck and onsite facilities
  • Fujinon provided a 22:1 wide angle and 86:1 box lens
  • Appear provided 8K contribution encoders and decoders integrated into the Vena network
  • Synamedia provided the 8K distribution/streaming encoder and origin server

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters