BT TV names the date for first Premier League Dolby Atmos 4K football broadcast

posted on Friday, 16th December 2016 by Steve May

Dolby Atmos  Broadcast  home cinema  4K 

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BT TV will debut Dolby Atmos audio on January 31, as part of its UHD 4K coverage of the Liverpool v Chelsea Premier League fixture. The broadcast will mark the first time anywhere in the world that Dolby Atmos has been used as part of a live sports coverage.

Going forward, Dolby Atmos sound will be used for select events. Currently it’s only envisaged for football coverage, and will not be used for other BT exclusives, such as Moto GP. Production control and the complexities of capturing live audio for Dolby Atmos are cited as reasons to keep Atmos on the pitch.

BT-Sport -Ultra -TV-box -press Crop (1)

Inside CI was invited to the first preview of Dolby Atmos live audio at BT Tower, and was hugely impressed with the demonstration. BT is principally using the 3D sound format to recreate the atmosphere of the match. The number of audio objects is far lower than what might be used for a movie mix, with key areas of the stadium representing specific blocks of sound that can be placed spatially. The most dramatic element of the mix is the height channel. Rather than convey specific effects, it’s more an omnipresent top layer that creates a sense of scale and drama. When the crowd breaks out into a chorus of You’ll never walk alone, the listener really does feel engulfed in sound.

BT Sport chief operating officer Jamie Hindhaugh says his team has been working with Dolby on the project for 18 months, saying “We’re breaking new ground here.”

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The telco says it will double the number of sports events broadcast in Ultra HD during 2017. However at present there is no news about additional 4K content for the BT TV platform, although the broadcaster says it is in discussion with Hollywood studios. BT already has a partnership with AMC for a dedicated content channel. Commercial Director Ricardo Balestiero told Inside CI that AMC would likely be “its first partner” when it comes to offering 4K TV content to subscribers.

                    Also read
                    Xbox One and Win 10 games get Dolby Atmos audio
                    DVB approves Hybrid Log Gamma broadcast HDR TV

In related news, BT TV viewers are in line for a new look YouView platform, when the next firmware update rolls out to BT YouView boxes in the new year. In addition, BT will introduce a new TV app for subscribers which allows them to manage recordings and stream live and on demand programmes to mobile devices.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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