Sky presents Champions League with 4K super-zoom

With the Champions League match Schalke against Chelsea, German pay TV Sky has demonstrated its pioneering credentials once again by using a 4K super zoom camera for the live signal, writes Birgit Heidsiek. Millions of soccer fans followed on Sky, viewing not only the Champions League game Borussia Dortmund against London, but also Chelsea’s triumph over Schalke in the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. As official host broadcaster, Sky used for this production Sony‘s F55 4K camera, which was integrated into the HD live signal workflow.

The 4K super zoom camera delivers brillant sharp close-ups that provide innovative, detailed pictures – particularly rewarding when it comes to debatable referee decisions! Thanks to the high resolution of the 4k- or Ultra-HD format, image details can be selected for demonstration purposes and played back in full HD resolution. That means that the viewers at home see much more than the ref on the pitch.

Sky Germany has already expedited the distribution of high definition in Germany and Austria. Now the pay TV operator is proving its innovative credentials when it comes to the development of Ultra-HD. With the Ultra-HD test recording of the soccer match between FC Bavaria Munich and Borussia Dortmund in December 2012, Sky made the first move towards the next generation of television. This test was followed by other recordings in order to effect a complete Ultra HD live production.

At the trade fairs IFA in Berlin and IBC in Amsterdam, Sky presented for the first time the new Ultra-HD pictures in combination with content from various partners. This state-of-the-art workflow showed how Ultra HD can be brought via satellite to the end customer. In addition, some new concepts for future Ultra-HD broadcast were also introduced .

“These are exciting times for our industry,” states Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Germany. “There are many new and innovative ways for consumers to access content and to enjoy it. Ultra-HD is one of the most promising solutions – even if we are still in an early development stage But Ultra-HD has the potential to revolutionise the visual experience in the future. Already today we have new production and transmission functions such as a super-zoom that highlight the amazing resolution and granularity. As innovation leader in Germany and Austria, we want to make sure that our customers will have the privilege to enjoy the best entertainment experiences.”

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