At IBC 2016, Ericsson, BT Media and Broadcast and BT Sport showcased their first-ever live demonstration of a high efficiency video coding (HEVC) contribution link used in the delivery of 4K ultra-high definition television (UHDTV). The high performance single-slice HEVC link was used to broadcast live rugby matches on BT Sport in 4K ultra-high definition during Round 2 of the AVIVA Premiership. The broadcast was delivered using BT’s new links truck.
Together with Ericsson, BT Media and Broadcast (BT M&B) showed how UHDTV content can be broadcast through one single slice, without any signal stitching. Ericsson’s new encoding/decoding technology supports HEVC and removes the need for complex AVC quadrant based UHDTV contribution.
This technique offers TV service providers savings of up to 40 percent on bandwidth usage with far greater network efficiencies, as it only requires the use of one encoder/receiver to deliver optimal picture quality.
BT M&B delivered the signal to Ericsson’s Playout Centre in Hilversum, Netherlands, and Ericsson broadcast the rugby matches live and direct to Ericsson’s booth at IBC 2016, as well as to BT M&B’s booth, located in the outside exhibition area at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.
Ericsson and BT have a strong history of working together with leadership in UHDTV. Back in 2013, Ericsson and BT also produced the world’s first multi-camera production of a sporting event, displaying it live in a 4:2:2, 10-bit resolution, 4K UHDTV signal at 60 frames per second using AVC. Last year, Ericsson and BT Sport announced that they would work together to launch the UK’s first UHDTV channel.
Elisabetta Romano, VP and Head of TV and Media, Ericsson, said, “Ericsson and BT have a proud history of working together to push boundaries in immersive TV, and this latest 4K HEVC project highlights our focus on delivering new and improved services to today’s demanding consumers. This demonstration shows we can drive better quality, operational simplicity and bandwidth efficiency, giving far greater cost-efficiencies in UHDTV delivery by contributing all the video content in a single slice. It makes 4K live sports and events a practical, cost-effective and high-quality reality for the first time.”
Mark Wilson-Dunn, VP at BT M&B added, “We’re delighted to be using Ericsson’s state of the art encoding/decoding equipment for our 4K broadcast at IBC. The combination of the new equipment with our new UHD links truck will deliver unbeatable high-quality sports footage to viewers at this year’s event.”
Mark Horton, strategic product manager, Encoding Portfolio, Ericsson, took part in a BT M&B breakfast briefing entitled ‘4K, HDR and Beyond’ to discuss the impact of 4K on workflows, the role of standards and pan-industry collaboration, as well as future advances including high dynamic range (HDR), wide colour gamut (WCG) and high frame rate (HFR).