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EBU conducts UHD High Frame Rates tests during European Championships 2018

Plans to shoot, process, record, and distribute live Ultra High Definition (UHD) content, with High Frame Rates, High Dynamic Range, and Next Generation Audio

The European Broadcasting Union will use the upcoming European Championships 2018 to carry out tests using UHD High Frame Rates.

The organisation will work with industry partners to shoot, process, record, and distribute live Ultra High Definition (UHD) content, with High Frame Rates (HFR), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Next Generation Audio (NGA) at the event which begins this weekend.

The trials involve the world’s first live distribution of UHD content with both HDR (HLG/BT.2100) and HFR (100 frames per second, 2160p100). Current state-of-the-art live broadcasts don’t exceed a field or frame rate of 50Hz in Europe, and HD interlaced (1080i25) is still the dominant broadcast emission format even though commercial encoders and TV sets manage up to 2160p50 resolution.

In Berlin, a 2160p100 HLG/BT.2020 production workflow will be set up in collaboration with EBU Members BBC, France Télévisions, IRT, RAI and ZDF, and a range of technology partners. The 2160p100 feed will be used to derive two additional 1080p100 and 1080p50 signals. These three feeds will then be encoded in HEVC and multiplexed for a live transmission via the Eurovision satellite network to RAI’s experimental test bed in the Aosta Valley, Italy, and via the Eurovision Fibre infrastructure to the European Championships Broadcast Operations Centre (BOC) based at BBC Glasgow.

The 1080p100 programme will also include Next Generation Audio (NGA) sound in the form of 4+7+0 channel and scene-based beds, with four additional interactive mono object signals for two commentaries and two audio descriptions. NGA enables personalisation, accessibility and interactivity, by means of “objects”.

The technology providers working with the EBU and broadcasters are:

ATEME encoding and remixing technologies for the 1080p100 feed with all NGA flavours

Dolby immersive and object-based audio technology (AC4)

Ericsson contribution technology (HEVC, MPEG-H Audio) for 2160p50

EVS server for near real-time 2160p100 editing

Fraunhofer IIS immersive and object-based audio technology (MPEG-H Audio)

Jünger Audio 3D audio monitoring and authoring units (MPEG-H Audio)

KaiMedia encoding technology (HEVC, MPEG-H Audio) for 2160p50

Klang and Areitec 3D audio monitoring over headphones 

LG prototype OLED TV sets capable of decoding the live UHD streams with HFR (2160p100Hz), HDR (HLG & PQ), and NGA (Dolby AC-4)

NTT encoding technology for the 2160p100 signal

b<>com scene-based production tools and Qualcomm compression technology (MPEG-H Audio)

Rohde & Schwarz servers for uncompressed recording

Schoeps and Areitec ORTF-3D microphone outdoor set

Sony XVS video switcher, PWS Live production server and storage solutions configured for a 2160p100 video production workflow and HDR acquisitions, plus one complete Sony UHD camera and 2160p50 picture monitoring

Solid State Logic System T S300-32 mixing console with 3D panning and Network I/O 

TPC the Swiss broadcaster’s operational subsidiary, will supply two other complete cameras, and a fourth camera will be provided by AMP Visual.

The EBU said the trials will enable all participants to build their understanding of the state of the art in immersive sports content production and its strategic potential. Some clips may also become available for public dissemination and for technical and scientific testing purposes.