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NEP UK serves up expanded UHD coverage at Wimbledon

NEP UK is using 224 channels of conversion to deliver both HD SDR and UHD HDR to rights holders around the world

NEP UK is working with Wimbledon Broadcast Services to deliver more Ultra High Definition and High Dynamic Range (UHD-HDR) broadcast delivery options than ever before at this year’s Championships.

Broadcast rights holders around the world are able to utilise NEP’s IP technology to showcase every match from Centre Court and No.1 Court in UHD-HDR with immersive 5.1 Sound. The 16 other courts will continue to be available in either 1080p HDR or 1080p SDR, said NEP.

Planning for the expanded offering began in 2022, said the company, with NEP UK’s technical projects and engineering teams working closely with Wimbledon’s broadcast technical manager, James Muir, to design a custom-built workflow, which underwent real-world testing in March. The new workflow includes additional UHD-HDR feeds while continuing to deliver the widely used HD SDR feeds to rights holders.

“We’re incredibly proud of our successful partnership with Wimbledon Broadcast Services and we’re excited to continue to deliver the very best broadcast technology, solutions and resources to their teams as they bring The Championships 2023 to life,” said Sam Broadfoot, technical project manager, NEP UK.

“Together, we’re moving the technology forward, now covering all of the action from the two most visible courts in Ultra High Definition and High Dynamic Range, giving rights holders around the world more opportunities to bring additional high-quality viewing experiences to their global audiences.”

Broadfoot added: “With the need to continue to offer rights holders HD SDR feeds as we have in previous years, we’re now using 224 channels of conversion, and we’ve found that the quality of the converted SDR feeds have improved as well, since it is now being captured with a higher dynamic range. We’re very pleased with the solution our teams have been working on to support WBS and The Championships.”

NEP’s full suite of solutions including broadcast facilities and OB trucks, specialty camera systems, connectivity, media asset management, live display and other broadcast services are also supporting the world feed.

Fletcher, an NEP specialty capture division, is providing its AI-driven automatic camera system, called Tr-Ace, to capture action on seven of the 18 courts in 1080p SDR. The cameras use image recognition and LIDAR technologies to automatically track players on the court, meaning just one singular operator can control and manage the full camera system, said NEP.

Mediabank, NEP’s media asset management solution is being utilised for remote access to match highlights and other content to be ingested, managed and distributed for rights holders.

Meanwhile is providing a 10G link to Oslo from IMG, with further support from NEP Netherlands, which is supplying 1PB of onsite storage. Additional broadcast services from NEP include 36 EVS VIA machines, 58 host Sony cameras, 28 specialty cameras, 150 talkback panels and over 90 km of cable installed each year. More than 300 broadcast engineers, technicians and crew members are onsite supporting the host broadcast and other rights holders.