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Sky Sports To Test Film the Upcoming Ryder Cup Gold Tournament in 4K Ultra HD

by on September 17, 2014

by Stephan Jukic September 17th, 2014

In what is a single part of a wider range of still running trials of using 4K filming for its live action sports content, Sky Sports will be filming the events of the Ryder Cup golf tournament as of September 23, when it kicks off.

The Cup is a big event for Sky Sports and the company will even go as far as rebranding its own name as Sky Sports Ryder Cup for the duration of the golf tournament.

More importantly still the company wants to use the large sporting event as a testing medium for finding out just how they can best incorporate 4K technology into their future broadcasts of other live action events that they will be delivering to their customers.

This means at least filming the Ryder Cup in 3840 x 2160 pixels of Ultra HD resolution and seeing how well the process works before broadcasting their result to audiences.

The Ryder Cup is to be broadcast in 4K Test Trials by Sky Sports

The Ryder Cup is to be broadcast in 4K Test Trials by Sky Sports

According to Steve Smith, director of Sky Sports production, “We’ve done some 4K testing so far, but not much outside broadcast work, so we have to look at the infrastructure and how the [outside broadcasters] work with it. We’d be foolish to flip into 4K without thorough testing”.

The chief engineer at Sky, Chris Johns, made clear that the pressure to use 4K technologies is enormous on European broadcasters and that the Digital TV Group (DTG) wants to ensure that Sky is ready to make the conversion.

Johns also explained that while it’s relatively easy to produce a screen that delivers plenty of bright colors, being thorough about 4K broadcasting from end to end along the entire production chain will require some serious testing and retesting.

All of this is being pushed forward by the DTG because of rising consumer demand for Ultra HD resolution in their sports broadcasts.

Other companies such as BT Sport are also planning an expansion into more 4K sports offering but in the case of BT in particular, the company’s director of TV, Alex Green explained that Premier League matches in the Ultra HD resolution probably won’t be going live to audiences until next year or in 2016. BT itself has already done early tests of 4K sports broadcasts when it used the resolution for the rugby Confederations Cup earlier in 2014.

Currently, both Sky Sports and the BBC are actively working on defining the standards by which live 4K TV broadcasts operate and though preliminary testing by both companies has been heavy, neither is ready for live mainstream use of the 4K format quite yet. The priority is for Ultra HD 4K broadcast standards to be clarified and formally defined and only then will 4K broadcast TV channels start to become widespread.

This should be something that we see by next year or 2016 at the latest. Even if it arrives late however, 4K should at least be a very popular offering for fans of live sports events. The extreme clarity of UHD, which offers almost 5 times more pixels than conventional Full HD, is going to make sporting events look particularly beautiful.

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  • Merryn
    December 14, 2016 at 9:12 am

    What is the timeline for Sky Sports Golf to actually broadcast in 4K please? I want to buy an OLED tv, however not until I know when programmes I watch (golf & news) will actually be broadcast in ultra HD!


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