With the Bundesliga game between FC Bayern Munich and SV Werder Bremen on April 26, 2014, German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland distributed a live football match via satellite in Ultra HD (4K) for the first time worldwide.
The transmission which took place as part of an internal test run was conducted with 50 frames per second (50fps) and encoded in the new video compression standard HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). A total of six 4K cameras combined with another four HD cameras which were up-converted to Ultra HD in the broadcast van delivered the match with a resolution of 2160p50 to several Ultra HD TV sets in Sky’s headquarters in Unterföhring near Munich.
“By successfully broadcasting a complete Bundesliga match live in what was a true end-to-end test of the full Ultra HD production chain, it is clear that the day is getting closer when it will be possible to bring a top quality Ultra HD live sports production into consumers’ living rooms,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland. “There are still a few things to take care of, but I am very confident that we as the innovation leader, along with our partners, are on a very good path to revolutionising the viewing experience.”
The trial was supported by German football association DFL and its production subsidiary Sportcast and carried out in collaboration with technology partners Topvision (sports production), MTI Teleport München (contribution link), SES Platform Services (playout center), Fraunhofer HHI/Rohde & Schwarz (HEVC encoding, first half), Elemental (HEVC encoding, second half), SES Astra (uplink), Technicolor (Ultra HD HEVC receiver), ViXS (Ultra HD chipset) and Samsung (Ultra HD displays). In the broadcast van, technologies from Vizrt (4K graphics), EVS (Ultra HD server, time loops) and Quantel (Ultra HD server, highlight loops) were used.
In December 2012, Sky Deutschland already recorded a full Bundesliga match in Ultra HD for the first time.