4K Breaking New Ground with World Cup

For the next month the world will be focused on Brazil and the World Cup, with millions across the globe trying to get as close to the action as they can.

This year, with the help of 4K technology, you might be able to see every drop of sweat on Neymar’s face, or get the ultimate hi-def view of David Luiz’s curls as you’ve never been able to before.

It was recently announced that three World Cup matches will be shot and broadcast in 4K: a match from the round of 16, quarterfinals, and the final. But will this 4K play at the World Cup really be can’t-miss TV? Or is this just a publicity stunt pairing two buzzwords together: 4k + World Cup? With all the hype in anticipation of these 4K broadcasts, some naysayers have noticed a few issues with this plan.

Globosat, a Brazilian satellite provider, partnered with Sony to record and transmit the matches in 4K, with a couple other companies on the massive job of encoding and decoding all the footage. Everyone has their work cut out for them, as the feed has to be transmitted using a H.265 codec (more bandwidth than the usual HD H.264 codec) and 60 frames per second to achieve the Ultra HD quality people are expecting to see from 4K.

But it might be more work than it’s worth. Brazilian TV networks SporTV, a cable network owned by Globosat, and pay-TV providers are the only ones who will be receiving the live feed and providing it to viewers, so fans of the technology and the sport in the US won’t be able to get the live feeds.

4K World CupAnother impediment to seeing Neymar’s goals in 4K: even if you’re in Brazil and a subscriber to SporTV or pay-TV, you still may not be able to get the benefit of the 4K streaming without a 4K TV. The boxes to receive 4K are not on the market yet (but the incredibly expensive TVs are, and rumor has it they’re coming down in price).

But those in Brazil can always catch the 4K live-action footage at special screening parties showing off the new technology around the country.

BBC is taking advantage of this opportunity to receive the live feed and experiment with what the future possibilities could be for broadcasting their own 4K material (note that they are not broadcasting the 4K feed, they are just receiving it). Their main purpose is to see how well transmitting 4K video formatting on an IP network works, so they can determine if that’s a technology they should use in the future.

4K TV owners will have a benefit that others don’t have, but only after the World Cup is over. FIFA is taking 4K footage of all the events to create a film solely for 4K : for the 4K TV owning soccer enthusiast, this could be just the film they’ve been waiting for.

While not everyone will be able to watch these three matches in their full live glory with 4K technology, Globosat’s main goal is to create more 4K content and further the development of the technology so that in the next few years it can become more widely accepted and used. Maybe 2018’s World Cup tournament in Russia will have 4K available around the world.

You might be interested in learning more about the development and obstacles of 4K.

If you want to have a screening experience without any frustrations related to geography, providers, or sports teams that fail you, you should check out MediaShowroom. Our screening technology is out of this world fast, and while we don’t yet have 4K (yet), we host major video files for TV networks to screen their content to potential buyers in a painless and efficient way.

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