BBC to deliver Commonwealth Games broadcast in Ultra HD

BBC Research and Development has today announced it will broadcast certain elements of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games live in Ultra-High Definition (UHD) at a public showcase in the host city.

The special R&D production will be shown live in the Glasgow Science Centre for the duration of the Games, giving people a unique opportunity to see the very first live UHD broadcast of a Commonwealth Games, which offers up to four times as much detail as standard HD.

The public showcase forms part of BBC R&D’s ongoing experiments to explore and help define the future of television, and will also include a range of other demonstrations featuring other partners and collaborators to be announced soon. These demonstrations will be available from 10am-5pm in the Glasgow Science Centre’s Clyde Suite and will form part of the wider BBC at the Quay festivities.

In another broadcasting first, the Commonwealth Games UHD broadcast will be the first major live event to be produced and distributed entirely over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, representing a major milestone as broadcast and IT technologies converge. This will be delivered using an initial version of BBC R&D’s vision for a new broadcasting system, which aims to take advantage of the increasing speed and ubiquity of internet networks and IT technology. BBC R&D is working closely with partners to ensure this new broadcasting system can deliver a range of benefits to the industry and audiences, including:

  • More flexible ways of working – particularly for live events as broadcasters can effectively move their entire production facilities to a central location, sending only the critical staff needed to capture complex live outside broadcasts
  • Increasing output – with central production facilities broadcasters can increase on-the-ground operations using a fraction of the man power – and at a fraction of the cost – currently required to scale up large multi-camera productions, such as major sporting events and music festivals
  • New forms of content – IP technologies allow even more production data and metadata to be sent alongside video and audio feeds. New forms of content could take advantage of this information to provide richer, more interactive and more personal ways of telling stories to audiences. The Augmented Video Player is one example of this.

“We may well look back at this trial as a watershed moment in the history of broadcasting,” says Matthew Postgate, Controller, BBC R&D. “By proving for the first time that complex events can be created and delivered completely over IP technology, we’re opening up a world of possibilities to programme makers and the wider industry. Not only could BBC R&D’s vision for a new broadcasting system help producers create programmes more efficiently and cost-effectively, but it allows them to take advantage of data like never before, offering new editorial options and ways of improving the experience for audiences.”

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