4K live broadcasting isn’t all that common. In the UK there are only a handful of 4K channels and most of them centre on sports. BT Sports and Sky Sports have both utilised 4K in the past, but the BBC has been stepping up to the plate recently too, with World Cup and Wimbledon matches being shown in 4K. These broadcasts turned out to be quite popular too, indicating that we’ll see more of a push for live 4K content in the future.
Speaking with What Hi-Fi, the BBC discussed the ins-and-outs of its 4K HDR push for the World Cup and Wimbledon this year. These matches were broadcast live with 4K/HDR availability being on a first come first serve basis. At one point, The BBC managed to maintain a peak audience of 60,300 people spread across the Sweden VS England World Cup match and Wimbledon day six.
Obviously, live streaming in 4K and HDR is going to come with a few hardships. Most of the issues The BBC faced was latency and trying to cut down the delay as much as possible. At first, the 4K stream was over a minute behind the regular broadcast, but this was eventually cut down to 45 seconds. Eventually, The BBC wants to get the delay as close to regular TV broadcast as possible.
In order to improve streams in the future, a different encoding method might be needed too. The BBC explained that HEVC wasn’t as efficient due to the high amount of computational power needed.
KitGuru Says: It’s good to see the BBC trying to implement 4K for major sports events, and for all intents and purposes it appears this trial was a success. Did you watch the World Cup or Wimbledon in 4K? How was your experience?