Sky Sports 360 launches with C-Cast

Sky Sports will use EVS’ C-Cast technology for the first time in the UK during the Champions’ League Final this weekend when it launches Sky Sports 360, a new multi-camera highlights feature available in its Sky Sports for iPad app. Found within the Champions League Events Centre of the app, Sky Sports 360 will effectively allow viewers to select and replay the action during the game from over 20 different camera angles.

“We’re using the EVS C-Cast technology, and this is a first for us and a first in the UK,” comments David Gibbs, Director of Sky Sports Digital Media.

As such, Sky has not rushed into deploying C-Cast, which was first used in Canal+’s coverage of Ligue 1 football in 2012. “We’ve been working with EVS for the past six months to ensure that the product is ready to go and will give us the quality we expect,” says Gibbs. “We’ve had a few trial runs to make sure that the technology and the UI, which fits into our existing events service, works. The UI we have now is consistent with our look and feel across our channels and is consistent with the production values we want to achieve.”

Gibbs says that deployment has been relatively painless. “There’s been work at the OB end to install the equipment in the trucks and work at our production facilities here. We’ve also had to change the nature of the app to integrate the technology as it didn’t fit within the existing iOS Sky Sports for iPad application.”

C-Cast effectively ties into the existing EVS servers in an OB truck. The C-Cast Agent is installed in the truck and connects to the EVS network to retrieve content (both video and metadata) and transfer it to C-Cast Central back at base, with the first H.264 file being transferred within 45 seconds.

The Champions League Event Centre is currently just one of a burgeoning portfolio of second screen experiences available to Sky Sports subscribers, which now includes F1 Race Control and the Premier League Match centre, with much of the work going into the Event Centre undertaken by deltatre.

As for C-Cast, while there are no plans to roll it out into Sky’s coverage of the EPL, Gibbs says that if it works well in the Final the plan is that it will be used by the broadcaster throughout the Champion’s League next year.

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