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4K interest grows: first network broadcast, first 4K cell phone debut

The industry appears determined to bring increased resolution TV to consumers and events surrounding 4K Ultra HD technology are moving fast. Just last week, Sky (opens in new tab) said it became the first television network in the UK to conduct a live 4K broadcast. The network broadcast an afternoon Premier League soccer match in 4K between West Ham and Stoke City and transmitted the match live over satellite to its studio facilities in the UK. Stoke won the game 1-0.

Sky said all the content was directed live, produced and edited by its in-house soccer production and broadcast operations teams using four Sony F55 UHD cameras and two UHD EVS servers for replay and graphics.

“We have successfully broadcast a test event in Ultra HD,” said a Sky spokesman. “It’s yet another UK first for Sky. We will continue to test and learn so that we’re ready as and when the market for Ultra HD begins to develop.”

The production was done in a specially built Telegenic 4K mobile unit with the assistance of Sony and UK live production company Telegenic. The broadcast was viewed at Sky’s headquarters on an 84in Sony Ultra HD display.

The broadcast was encoded as four synchronous full HD feeds by Ericsson and sent over an Eutelsat transponder. The picture was broadcast in 2160 x 3840 — four times the resolution of current HD and at 50fps. That’s double the current HD rate of 25fps using the QFHD (Quad Full High Definition) format of four full HD tiles to construct the full image.

Also, Acer (opens in new tab) is introducing its Liquid S2 4K smartphone at the IFA show beginning this week in Berlin. The 6in S2 shoots 4K, as well as 1080p video. The new phone will also play back at four times slow motion for action. Extra wide 27-megapixel panorama shots can also be taken. No price was given. The phone is slated for availability at the end of October.

Equipped with the Acer phone, consumers feeding news video to broadcast stations would have better gear than the broadcasters themselves. The phone can connect to the Internet at 150Mb/s, though the actual speed depends on the 4G network. It can also work over the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac. The software is Android 4.2.2.