BBC Outside Broadcasts is extending its HD offering to support HD demand this summer; it has purchased 14 new Sony 1500 HD cameras and will have a third HD-ready truck by the end of this month, when its large Unit 10 vehicle will be upgraded to HD, writes Fergal Ringrose.
BBC Outside Broadcasts is also converting a second mobile satellite vehicle to be HD capable. Link 18 will join Link 21, which uplinked HD pictures from Live 8 last year. Both vehicles can uplink HD and SD pictures in tandem.
BBC Outside Broadcasts, part of BBC Resources, is capturing both events for its customer BBC Sport. The BBC last week announced it will broadcast its 2006 World Cup coverage and major Wimbledon matches in high definition, as part of its HD trial, which will begin in mid May with the World Cup and will continue with Wimbledon matches from centre court and court one.
Director of BBC Sport Roger Mosey said, "High definition works particularly well for sport. It gives fantastic picture quality, from the blades of grass that are being played on right to the back of the stands, and although only limited numbers of people will be able to see this trial we hope it will be a glimpse of the future."
The HD format will come as an extra stream alongside conventional analogue and digital broadcasts and will be accessible to viewers who have HD-ready TVs, HD set-top boxes and HD services from satellite or cable providers.
Mark Tugwell, Director of BBC Outside Broadcasts, says: "This summer will see a big growth in demand for HD programmes and we've made this significant investment to meet this. We now have a range of HD capable trucks, which can support work in both SD and HD formats simultaneously."
BBC Outside Broadcasts carried out the first HD trial at Wimbledon 20 years ago and last year captured the Eastbourne ladies tennis championship for BBC Sport. It has worked on a range of HD productions, from high profile events such as Glastonbury and Last Night of the Proms, to The Quatermass Experiment, Carols from Kings and The Princes Trust Concert for independent Clear Channel Entertainment. BBC Outside Broadcasts' sound team will also be doing a live surround sound mix of Wimbledon 2006.