No 4K Live TV Broadcasting for World Cup this year

by on June 17, 2014

by Stephan – June 17th, 2014.

The FIFA World Cup 2014 is just around the corner and I’m pretty sure soccer fans are already preparing their man caves and entertainment rooms to watch the games. The largest sports event today is expected to draw millions of tourists in Brazils and viewers from all over the world. Even consumer giants like Samsung and Sony are anticipating for this big event by introducing Ultra High Definition TVs in the market in time for the World Cup.

Earlier this year at the CES 2014, TV makers showcased some of their UHD TV models, hoping they will sell more sets. Samsung expected that demand for TVs “will increase due to the upcoming World Cup matches” so the South Korean tech giant added a new feature on their 2014 models in the form of the “Soccer Mode”.

The  “Soccer Mode” feature allows viewers to record important game moments on their Samsung TVs. This technology is integrated into the latest 1080p TV models released this year. According to Brad Wright, Director for A/V at Samsung, the Soccer Mode’s “processing engine analyses the action from the game”. What it does is listen to the commentators and focus on the scoreboard and then records the game highlights automatically so you can watch them again whenever you like. With this, you can say football TV technology has just started.

Samsung and Sony expected demand for TVs will increase significantly. If you notice, TVs are now more available and made affordable. I know because I just bought a 40-inch Samsung Full HD TV over the weekend. It’s only 1080p but I’m actually enjoying watching movies because the display is super crisp and clear. It’s no 4K but I can’t see the difference, at least, not yet. I know time will come when 4K content will be high in demand than ever. Broadcast groups are just not ready.

As shared with The Verge, Samsung believes that the new age of UHD TV will commence this year. I don’t doubt this but it might take some time because there are only a few 4K content providers. Unfortunately too, the World Cup target is not reached, as there would be no live 4K TV broadcasting available as promised.

Sony sees this year’s World Cup as a vehicle to introduce new technologies but looks like content will be limited. Only three games will be recorded in 4K format which will be included in a special documentary that will be available after the soccer tournament. Sony will be handling the production.

No live streaming will be offered yet but games can still be watched on regular 720p channels as the current standard. However, in Rio de Janeiro, Globo, a Brazilian network will screen the matches outdoor on 4K displays.

“Logistical issues” were the reason why 4K public screenings won’t become a reality just yet. The best display a soccer fan could possibly get is 4K streaming offered by Netflix. Why, Netflix has already started pushing episodes of Breaking Bad and House of Cards in 4K. The upcoming soccer games could be next.

Meanwhile, BBC is reported to stream a few World Cup matches in 4K Ultra HD but only to a limited number of TVs at BBC sites as test. You see, the greatest challenge is the existing broadcast channels that have limited capacities. These trials are expected to be valuable in understanding UHD technology for the future.



Even if the 4K TV goal isn’t met, the current standard high-definition is still okay. I think it’s even better than the 3D viewing during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Who doesn’t want images four times of 1080p?

So 4K TV isn’t there yet. It might take some time before it becomes the standard but I don’t doubt the TV industry will get there. It’s relatively a new technology—one that deserves our attention. Because really, the future of Ultra HD TV is bright.

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