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Sky takes 4K kit to Ryder Cup to test out Ultra HD live sport

Sky Sports will film the upcoming Ryder Cup golf tournament in 4K Ultra HD – the next generation of HD. 

As part of a series of ongoing trials, Sky will start fiming the action from September 23 onwards when it temporarily rebrands Sky Sports 4 as ‘Sky Sports Ryder Cup’ for the tournament.  

Jason Wessely, executive producer of its golf coverage said the trials will help the company better understand 4K technology and how it can be used for outside broadcasts. 

Sky will trial its 4K UHD service at the Ryder Cup
Sky will record the Ryder Cup in 4K Ultra HD as part of a trial 

Steve Smith, director of Sky Sports production said: “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.” 

Sky’s chief engineer Chris Johns explained that there’s an enormous amount of pressure on European broadcasters to use 4K technologies and the DTG (Digital TV Group) wants to make sure Sky is prepared for the move. 

He said: “It’s very easy to produce a screen that delivers all those bright colours, but if you want to get it through an entire production chain you have to look at that seriously. The DTG is pushing for what the consumer needs and what we need to do in production, post and delivery.”

BT Sport is also planning to expand its 4K sports offering, although Alex Green, the service’s director of TV said Premier League matches in 4K probably won’t be broadcast until the 2015-2016 season. BT Sport first trialled a 4K broadcast with the rugby Confederations Cup earlier in the year.

Sky along with the BBC and other broadcasters is actively involved in defining the standards for live 4K TV. We’ve seen some early footage of a West Ham vs Stoke City game filmed in 2013 which was incredibly detailed – but it’s clear there’s still work to be done. Until 4K Ultra HD broadcast standards are defined, there won’t be any 4K TV channels. 

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