updated 10:24 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Broadcaster to perform closed Ultra HD content trials this summer
The BBC will be trialling broadcasts of Ultra HD content during the World Cup in Brazil this summer. The broadcaster revealed its research and development labs will be performing the tests on 4K video shot during the tournament by Sony, in order to "better understand the latest UHD distribution technologies and standards in a live outside broadcast."
The testing will be for internal use only, and will not be viewed by the public at all. UHD broadcasts will be sent to the UK via satellite, with the video decoded and then distributed to various research and development facilities over existing broadcast infrastructure as well as using the Internet. Specifically, the BBC wants to look into using HEVC for broadcast distribution over DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) and online, as well as the effectiveness of the MPEG-DASH adaptive bitrate, which adjusts the picture quality based on the available bandwidth.
Sony 65-inch Bravia 4K Ultra HD
Matthew Postgate, Controller of BBC R&D, said the trials "will prove hugely valuable in furthering our understanding of UHD technology, and potential distribution models for the future, as well as providing real benefits for license fee payers in the near-term."
Delivering high-resolution video content to consumers is a problem broadcasters and content producers must face as the number of 4K-capable televisions sold increases. Broadcasters in South Korea and Europe are experimenting with Ultra HD television channels, with Netflix also distributing its self-produced House of Cards in the resolution to subscribers. Sony has already helped owners of its televisions by providing a media player pre-loaded with 4K content.