Italian pay-TV broadcaster Mediaset Premium launches the first sports channel in Italy broadcast in 4K Ultra HD technology. [Milan 23rd May]
The statement that accompanies the launch of this new sports channel in 4K on digital terrestrial multiplex Mediaset DTT 1 (channel 391) designs May 28th as launch. The opportunity is offered by the final of the UEFA Champions League in Milan between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Premium, as the host broadcaster, also is airing the final UEFA Champions League in HD and free-to-air on Channel 5 HD.
We asked for details to Eugenio Pettazzi Director of Premium Technologies: "It is a dedicated channel, LCN 391. All Premium subscribers will have the rights to view and also customers who have purchased the pre paid rights to view the UEFA Champions League. They need to have a TV 4K enabled to receive the signal encoded HEVC 50p (Italian standard) and also a SmartCam or HDCam, for decoding the signal: the existing Premium set top boxes-enabled are not compatible with this standard.
The dedicated channel is already tunable mid-May, although only with a static sign, but on the Champions League final on May 28 we will open the broadcast dedicated 4K channel.
After the event the channel can be used again to propose other transmissions of major events in 4K and it is easy to predict that most of the programming will be occupied by sport events.
It is a historical date because to date there is no other 4K DTT channel.
In this regard it should be noted that to cover the event we need to use the bandwidth of an entire Mux with which 3/4 channels in HD are normally aired.
However, it is easy to think that soon we will also broadcast some other very important matches in 4K.
In fact the technical equipments are now more than available. The 28th May event will be shot by a UEFA OB-van dedicated to 4K shooting, the same vehicle which may be employed for other important events.
The final match in fact is followed by two distinct production vehicles, a Premium one that delivers the HD feed, and as we said, a 4K UEFA dedicated one.
At each mobile control room a director is in charge and for the 4K feed an experienced specialist uses much sharper images, more scenic, with slower camera movements that emphasize the higher image definition, and the most important moments of game and the deployment of the teams.
Interestingly, the previous "trial broadcast" on the Bologna - Inter match, has shown that native shooting in 4K are far more spectacular than than those always made in 4K but destined to HD downscaling. Pictures are deeper and more detailed.
The event will be followed with 14 Sony cameras for the feed created directly by UEFA; Also the comment will be different from the one in HD. All images will be "native" and no pictures in HD "upscaled" to 4K will be involved.
The "parallel" shooting in HD will be created by Premium as the host broadcaster with 54 cameras and lots of replay."
Paolo Schillaci, project manager of Premium for the event, adds: "We stress that, despite this being the first time that such a product is broadcast in 4K on a digital terrestrial channel, it is not a testing ground but a consolidated and repeatable workflow of the whole 4K chain.
A strategic choice was to move a mobile Premium Ob-van to San Siro, and use Harmonic encoders on site. So, from the stadium, the transport of signals already coded reaches Segrate headquarters where it enters the MUX. This greatly alleviate the phase of signal transport.
Besides being the first time on DTT, we are employing frontier technologies, which is a new way to propose this type of super clear and super spectacular images: a new way to make and both enjoy television."