EBU trials High Frame Rate UHD and Next Gen Audio at European Championships

posted on Friday, 3rd August 2018 by Steve May

Broadcast  UHD  NGA 

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High Frame Rate UHD and Next Gen Audio (NGA) are undergoing live trials during the European Athletic Championships (which runs until August 12). The European Broadcasting Union is working with industry partners, including the BBC, France Télévisions, IRT, RAI and ZDF, to test the new technologies at the Glasgow games.

This trial represents the first live distribution of UHD content with HDR (in HLG/BT.2100) and 100 frames per second, HFR at 2160p100. Current European UHD broadcasts are locked to 50Hz; consumer displays are only able to handle a 2160p 50 broadcast format.

The 2160p100 workflow will also deliver additional 1080p100 and 1080p50 signals. All three feeds are then encoded in HEVC and multiplexed for transmission over the Eurovision satellite network, to an experimental facility in Italy, and distributed via fibre to the European Championships Broadcast Operations Centre (BOC) in BBC Glasgow.

HFR video will improve the clarity of fast moving sports coverage. At current frame rates, fast moving objects are lost in blur (pictured below).

Live Race Crop

The NGA trial covers both Dolby AC4 and MPEG-H Audio. Next Generation Audio (NGA) sound adds four interactive mono signals for two commentaries and two audio descriptions, as well as a surround mix.

Prototype LG screens capable of decoding live UHD HFR , HLG HDR and NGA are being used. Expect footage to turn up on display at LG’s IFA booth. The EBU says the trial will help develop immersive sports content production.

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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