BBC and Sony to trial 4K Ultra HD at Wimbledon
Sony has confirmed it will have a 4K 'Experience zone' at this year's Wimbledon Championships. Some of the matches will be shot in 4K in a joint project between the BBC and Sony, and some of the 4K content will be played back in the experience zone during Wimbledon fortnight.
The BBC is teaming up with Sony to film some of this year's Wimbledon Championships in 4K Ultra High Definition, which offers four times the resolution of normal high definition. A formal announcement on the deal is expected 'soon'.
The two firms have worked together before, being the first to film Wimbledon in 3D in 2011, with the BBC broadcasting the 3D footage and Sony Professional providing the necessary equipment.
Meanwhile Sony is also partnering with European company Host Broadcast Services to test 4K coverage of football matches at the Confederations Cup, which begins tomorrow when Japan takes on host country Brazil.
Sony is supplying equipment, including six 4K cameras, and engineers to support the trial, and three matches will be covered.
It's thought 4K coverage of 2014's World Cup will be provided in Japan.
The move to 4K is a logical extension of the 3D experiment. Sony has invested massively in 4K technology, and has released a range of 4K TVs this year. We've just tested the Sony KD-65X9005A set which sells for £6000, considerably less than the Sony KD-84X9005 flagship model at £25,000.
Officially Sony has yet to confirm its involvement in the Wimbledon 4K project, but says it will make an announcement 'soon'. Unofficial comments elsewhere on the web make it clear the firm is committed to the project as it has considerable expertise in 4K technology.
A new H.265 High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) allows 4K signals to be compressed down to a bit-rate of 20Mbps, compared to around 12Mbps for normal HD broadcasts. In Japan, telecoms company NTT West has begun trialling technology designed to allow 4K TV to be streamed over the internet.
There's no official confirmation yet as to whether the BBC will actually broadcast any 4K Wimbledon content for public viewing, but we've put in a call to the BBC press centre to find out more. We'll update this story as soon as we do.
Wimbledon fortnight begins on June 24th and ends on July 7th.
By Andy Clough