Your browser is not Javascript enable or you have turn it off. We recommend you to activate for better security reasonMajor sports broadcasters abandon 4K in favor of 'enhanced HD' - FlatpanelsHD

Major sports broadcasters abandon 4K in favor of 'enhanced HD'

29 Apr 2024 | Rasmus Larsen |

4K live production remains a challenge so some broadcasters are turning their attention to 1080p with HDR, sometimes referred to as "enhanced HD".

Last summer, reports emerged about plans to downgrade production of UEFA's Euro 2024 football championship in Germany from 4K to 1080p resolution.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the UEFA Champions League final will also be downgraded from 4K to 1080p this year, along with other unspecified tournaments, according to a report by the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC).

The UEFA Champions League final has been produced and broadcast in UHD since 2015, and the EURO since 2016.


Enhanced HD with HDR

The plan is to switch to 1080p production but use new cameras to capture a wider dynamic range, allowing for broadcast in HDR format. Some tests have reportedly shown that viewers prefer the better shadow and highlight details in the light and shade to 4K without HDR.

Fodbold HDR

Germany's Bundesliga is already producing matches in HDR and is demonstrating the benefit. Photo: Bundesliga/Sportcast

The best of both worlds would of course be to capture and broadcast in 4K HDR, but even after more than 10 years it remains a significant challenge for live content, whereas packaged content such as movies, series and games are increasingly released in 4K HDR. - "There's been a change in delivery format for a lot of major international tournaments and also domestic tournaments where broadcasters are now looking at 1080p HDR as the chosen one," Eamonn Curtin, Global Client Director for EMG/Gravity Media, an outside broadcast facilities provider, confirmed to the IBC. - "It's a benefit for us technically since we just have one signal to produce and manage rather than the four that made up the UHD signal." Some broadcasters or channels may still promote Euro 2024 and the 2024 Champions League final as being in 4K, but it will be an internal upscale from 1080p.

Blame vertical video?

As the main reasons, the industry typically cites the lack of interest from rights holders and distributors, but also changing habits among users. - "We are constantly questioning whether we should broadcast in 4K and HDR. It's a perpetual question mark because there is a big gap between producers and consumers," Ursula Romero, Executive Producer at International Sports Broadcasting (ISB), said last November at the 4K HDR Summit. - "Everything revolves around social networks and they are now looking to watch sports by the minute and by the second, even in vertical format." Also read: Apple experimenting with sports in 8K 3D However, all hope is not lost. The 2024 Paris Olympics this summer will still be produced in 4K resolution with HDR with 5.1.4 immersive audio. - Source: IBC

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