BT Sport to show Champions League Final in HD HDR on BT Sport App for 4K-like experience on mobiles
UEFA Champions League viewers will be able to watch this year’s final on the BT Sport App in HD HDR for the first time. The coverage will be available to users with an HDR compatible mobile phone, tablet, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast Ultra or Xbox One.
BT Sport and UK mobile network operator EE (both of which are owned by BT) carried out the first-ever test of HD HDR live broadcast to mobile devices for the Spurs v Juventus UEFA Champions League clash on Wednesday 7 March 2018 at Wembley Stadium.
Matt Stagg, then head of media and entertainment at EE, now director of mobile strategy at BT Sport and also lead of EE’s strategy for delivering 4G and 5G networks for the media and broadcast industries, explained why 4K is not needed for the ultimate mobile device viewing experience. He said at the time: “A lot of people think that 4K is the ultimate experience, however, on mobile your eyes can barely tell the difference between HD HDR and 4K due to the screen size and the distance of the screen to your face…. After a lot of trials and consumer groups, we had confirmed what we thought was right; that HD with HDR is far superior to 4K on a mobile device.”
BT Sport App viewers will also be able to watch the 2019 UEFA Europa League Final and the UEFA Champions League Final in virtual reality (VR) 360 on a mobile or tablet, and they will be able to choose between a VR 360 produced programme with commentary from Spencer Owen aka Spencer FC, or select their own camera viewpoint.
Ahead of the launch of 4K HDR later this year BT Sport will make the UEFA Champions League Final available in HD HDR on the BT Sport App for BT Sport customers. HDR enables the highest quality TV pictures ever seen, providing colours that are closer to how we see them in real life, and increasing picture quality to new levels by preserving the finest details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture.
BT Sport’s new HDR service will launch for the BT Sport App ahead of the new football season with picture quality of up to 4K resolution from £5 per month.
Fans who want to share the moment will be able to watch at club screenings at Space by M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium plus BT Sport Pubs across the country.
BT Sport’s live coverage of the UEFA Europa League Final will begin with a preview show live from Baku at 6pm on Tuesday 28 May on BT Sport 1, with the Final coverage beginning at 6.30pm on Wednesday 29 May on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD, hosted by Jake Humphrey and the team including Martin Keown, Cesc Fabregas and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
BT Sport’s live coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final will begin on Friday 31 May with two preview shows live from the team training sessions at the Estadio Metropolitano, Liverpool at 4.30pm and Spurs at 5.30pm on BT Sport 1. Coverage of the final will begin at 6pm on Saturday 1 June on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD, hosted by Gary Lineker and the team including Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Glenn Hoddle, Jermaine Jenas, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer brands, said: “We want to make BT a company that exceeds our customers’ expectations and does a brilliant job for the country. With both European finals being all-British affairs, we’re going to make them easier to watch for everyone in the UK than ever before as well as being the best-connected football viewing experience our customers have ever had.”
“BT continues to offer our customers unrivalled choice – with the best content, the smartest devices, and the latest technology – through partnerships with the world’s most innovative companies. The launch of HDR maintains BT Sport’s leadership in bringing fans the very best pictures and sound following its debut as Europe’s first 4K broadcaster in 2015 and its worldwide debut of Dolby Atmos sound in 2017.”
Tomos Grace, head of sport for YouTube, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We admire BT’s decision to make the livestream of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League Finals available for free on multiple screens and in the best technology possible. Last year’s finals broke records on YouTube as millions tuned in to watch the finals on BT Sport’s channel and we expect this year to be bigger still.”