BBC and Sony to trial 4K Ultra HD at Wimbledon

Update 17.06.13

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.

Published 14.06.13

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.

More: Sony KD-65X9005A 4K TV review

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.

More: Sony announces UK prices for 4K Ultra HD sets

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.

More: Japan trials 4K Ultra HD internet streaming

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

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.