BBC plans UHD broadcasting trial for Commonwealth Games

BBC Research and Development will broadcast parts of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games live in Ultra-High Definition (UHD) at a public showcase, following similar BBC trials during the current World Cup in Brazil.

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BBC Research and Development will broadcast parts of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games live in Ultra-High Definition (UHD) at a public showcase, following similar BBC trials during the current World Cup in Brazil.

The special R&D production will be shown live in the Glasgow Science Centre for the duration of the Games, giving people a chance 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 demonstration will be available from 10am to 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", said the BBC.

The BBC says IP-working delivers more flexible and cheaper ways of working for live events, as broadcasters can effectively move their entire production facilities to a central location, sending only critical staff to capture live outside broadcasts.

Matthew Postgate, controller for BBC R&D, said: “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.”

BBC R&D’s experimental IP Production Gallery will be the hub of the UHD operations, which will also be on display at the Glasgow Science Centre. For this particular trial BBC R&D is collaborating with several strategic research partners, including Virgin Media Business for high speed fibre optic connectivity from the stadia to R&D facilities in Glasgow and Salford.

It is also using the Jisc education network, Janet, on the production network from R&D facilities to the IP Production Gallery in the Glasgow Science Centre, with the network being underpinned and supported by Cisco-based infrastructure.