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BT Sport Ultra HD and connected red button: More than just extra pixels

Premier League football in 4K obviously looks great – but BT says there’s more to it than simply upping the resolution. 

It’s hard to convey the brilliance of 4K Ultra HD content with mere words. It’s something you really need to see for yourself, which is one of the reasons why BT Sport Ultra HD not coming to pubs is a total pain – unless you’ve got a budget to cover a 4K telly plus a BT Infinity and a £15 BT TV subscription, you’re not getting any, for now at least. 

What we can show off is how BT is creatively using that extra on-screen real estate to enhance the viewing experience beyond purely upping things like resolution, frame rate and (eventually) sound. 

Related: BT Sport Ultra HD: How much is it and how can I get it?We spoke to BT about how it’s using that extra pixel space to deliver more stats, data and camera angles. 

One feature that’s unique to BT Sport Ultra HD is the BT Box. This is a picture-in-picture service that lets you view the action from multiple camera angles. 

The number of angles available depends on how many cameras are at an event – for example, at the 2015 British MotoGP race at Silverstone, BT took a total of 160 cameras to the party, including 19 4K Ultra HD cameras and on-bike HD cameras, allow for close-up views of riders turning corners and overtaking. HD content is upressed and used in the BT Box alongside the main action. 

The typical number of cameras at a football game varies between 15 and 30, depending on the size of the stadium, it’s facilities and the profile of the game. 

However many camera feeds there, the BT Box is currently a curated experience – whoever is the director that day gets to pick which angles are used for this feed. This means BT can maintain a wide angle overall view of a match or race while also giving you a close-up view of things like corner kicks and penalties. 

BT’s chief operating officer of BT TV and BT Sport Jamie Hindhaugh described every 4K event as ‘an evolving process’. At the 2015 MotoGP earlier this year for example, BT trialled wireless 4K cameras – a world first – in tandem with traditional wired camera set ups. 

BT Sport Ultra HD & Connected Red Button - BT goals show

What’s next for BT Sport? 5.1.4 Surround Sound and High Dynamic RangeIn future this will let camera crews to get even closer for corners, throw-ins and the like, upping the number of angles available. 

Connected Red Button has been a feature of YouView – the digital TV platform that BT TV is built on – for some time now. 

As well as giving punters quick access to the BT Sport Extra channels, which are reserved for extra matches and playoffs that are being broadcast at the same time as other matches, Connected Red Button can also give you access to things like live score centres, which mean you can quickly keep tabs on scores from other games. 

This builds on traditional, non-interactive graphical overlays like the one here that’s framing James Richardson’s face over on Goals Show. While the BT Sport mobile apps for iOS and Android come with score centres, this quick-look feature lets you keep tabs on updates at a glance without obscuring much of the action. If you see scores change, then you can use the red button menu to quickly jump over to a new live stream. 
 
While Connected Red Button works on the non-UHD BT Sport channels too, the higher resolution of course creates more space for the action, so you still retain more detail when you’re keeping an eye on the other games. 

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