Canal+ undertakes 360° trial at high-profile boxing match

French broadcasters are exploring the potential of VR, aware that there is a real public interest in this novel way of viewing sport. The latest to trial the 360° technology is Canal+, the pay TV operator, which in partnership with Euro Media installed a Digital Immersion 360° HD camera for the live video recording of the boxing match between Kalenga and Dorticos on May 20 at the Palais des Sports, Paris. The match, which is part of the WBA championship competitions in the lightweight category, marks the pay TV operator’s return to broadcasting the sport on a regular basis.

The trial was determined by the pay TV group’s technical directors and was an opportunity to air 360° content live to its subscribers, who could also watch the boxing match in VOD on MyCanal. The camera was installed in one of the corners of the boxing ring and enabled subscribers to vary their viewing angles and, if wearing headsets, to totally immerse themselves in the fight.

“Boxing is a sport that is particularly well-suited to VR: the viewer is in control of what he sees. He lives the event more intensely. VR is another way of telling stories which can applied to sport, of course, but also to entertainment and games programmes, as well as live performing arts and concerts,” said Euromedia head of broadcast Julien Mougin.

The trial was carried out in HD and not 4K because of technical issues linked to the 4K format, but both partners hope to test the technology soon with a 4K camera during another live event. The plan is to attempt to do so during the rugby Top 14 final in Barcelona on June 27.

“Just as DVS Superloupes revolutionised the way we see sport on TV, Euromedia is becoming a leader in providing 360° video recording services, as it increasingly becomes a must for broadcasters wishing to air live events whether sport or entertainment,” Euromedia president Lionel Vialaneix added.

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