Indian Media Giant Tata Communications Creates First Live Formula 1 Feed in 4K over Fibre

by on September 24, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 24, 2014

Tata Communications, a major Indian and international provider of communications technologies, is apparently the first company to broadcast a live 4K feed from the Formula 1 races.

The transmission was achieved at a recent F1 practice even being held in Singapore at the Singapore Airlines Grand Prix and the live footage itself was delivered end-to-end over the Tata corporation’s Global Video Connect Network to Formula One Managements (FOM) technical headquarters in Biggin Hill in the United Kingdom.

Upon arriving at Biggin Hill, the video signal was given to an exclusive group of broadcasters and highlights the next generation of 4K broadcast capabilities that the fiber-optic cable used by Tata should be able to deliver. The signal should in effect demonstrate how the future of live sports broadcasts should look on a wider scale.

According to Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of F1 Business at Tata Communications, “Last year we were able to showcase our broadcast capabilities by transmitting a live JPEG 2000 feed from the same Grand Prix in Singapore. This year we have taken a huge leap in next generation broadcast with the first-ever transmission of a live 4K feed from a Formula One event. It is another milestone in our journet with Formula One Management and shows the real potential of sports broadcasting…”

What 4k broadcasting really promises is ground-breaking levels of definition and visual realism in live entertainment broadcasts. However, it also comes with a number of serious challenges that have so far still kept the technology in its test phases anywhere in the world.

For example, the Tata Communications feed of the Formula One event sent to Biggin Hill was delivered via a connection with a 480Mbps bandwidth and this was only possible thanks to the Tata company’s Global Video Connect network and its converged IP services that are designed for seamlessly high quality sports broadcasting.

On the other hand, other even larger sports broadcasts conducted by Sony Media and several other companies during the FIFA World Cup earlier this year have also successfully managed to film and send live 4K sports broadcasts of the soccer games to test audiences across the Atlantic in England. Furthermore, the Sony broadcasts did so with the use of less bandwidth while maintaining a clean, seamless transmission.

Other Live 4K broadcasts include the FIFA World Cup Finals earlier in 2014

Other Live 4K broadcasts include the FIFA World Cup Finals earlier in 2014

According to John Morrison, Formula One Management’s chief technical officer, the Formula One racing event sits at the pinnacle of cutting edge live broadcast technology and is an excellent vehicle for showcasing new innovations. Thus, according to him, 4K is a perfect example of an exciting new technology that can have an enormous potential impact on Formula One broadcasting and sports broadcasting in general.

This is the reason why Formula One Management was fully behind the 4K transmission experiment conducted in partnership with Tata Communications

Given the growing market demand for 4K TVs and the assorted new video compression technologies that are enabling the smoother movement of 4K movies and shows over the internet to these Ultra HD TVs, the future of live 4K broadcasting of sports events is looking very promising, even if live feeds are more technically difficult to manage than prerecorded streams of Ultra HD video.

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