BT Sport has delivered the UK’s first reside 8K broadcast, of Arsenal’s UFEA Europa League sport in opposition to Olympiacos on the Emirates Stadium in London.
Whereas it’s the nation’s first, it wasn’t truly obtainable for viewers to look at at residence. As an alternative, TechRadar was invited to view the stream – and the expertise behind it – reside on the stadium.
8K will begin to hit properties over the approaching years, and TV producers have already got a spread of (extremely priced) 8K units obtainable in the marketplace so that you can purchase right this moment.
We sat down for 90 minutes to look at the reside 8K broadcast alongside the true factor to see how the following era of TV viewing compares.
The 8K viewing expertise
BT Sport teamed up with Samsung for the published, and used the latter’s flagship 8K set – the Samsung Q950R QLED 8K – to showcase the excessive definition stream.
8K has 4 occasions the decision of 4K (a decision which continues to be solely slowly making its method into properties), and the Q950R QLED 8K boasts 33 million pixels, HDR10+ help and a peak brightness of 4,000 nits.
Whereas the 8K decision is the headline function, the brightness is one other vital spec and one which ought to additional improve the viewing expertise.
As compared, Samsung’s highest brightness 4K set is 2,000 nits, and with a higher brightness potential, mixed with the upper decision, 8K units ought to lead to an image which is nearer than ever to actual life.
On the 82-inch Samsung 8K TV we seen the sport on, the visuals have been nice. Element was very spectacular, with the gamers, the ball and the folks within the crowd crisp and clear.
Viewing the TV up shut (we’re speaking 60cm or so away from the display screen) and the advantages of 8K decision turns into clear. You are ready to pick the folks within the crowd on the alternative facet of the pitch, determine what sort of scarf they’re carrying and simply see their seat as a separate entity to the one subsequent to it.
Sitting again from the display screen, at a extra pure viewing distance, it nonetheless seems nice, however it wasn’t noticeably that significantly better than what we have seen at an identical distance from 4K units – particularly when viewing the broad digicam angle which reveals many of the pitch.
Shut-ups of gamers and coaches did present hints that we have been watching one thing greater than a 4K stream, however the satan actually is within the element.
What we wanted was a 4K stream on a TV subsequent to it, to essentially showcase the distinction in high quality. Whereas we have been impressed with the extent of element supplied within the 8K reside broadcast, you will be effective together with your 4K set for a couple of extra years but.
When are you able to watch 8K reside sport?
However who desires to stay with 4K when 8K is accessible? Nicely, most likely numerous us, as 8K continues to be staggeringly costly and there is at present no reside 8K content material to devour on the TVs. Nonetheless, that might change quickly.
When quizzed on when BT Sport clients might begin having fun with an 8K stream in their very own residence, Jamie Hindhaugh (COO at BT Sport) mentioned “very quickly you can watch at residence” earlier than confirming that they’d have it prepared for “subsequent season” – referring to the 2020/21 soccer season.
That kicks off in mid-August, so we may very well be simply six months away from having an 8K stream obtainable to look at at residence, however it might feasibly occur in a while within the season – we’ll have to attend for extra data nearer the time.
Nonetheless, it’s going to possible be a number of years earlier than we see constant programming obtainable in 8K within the UK. 4K continues to be slowly rolling out, whereas some applications – resembling BBC Native Information – continues to be not broadcast in Full HD, not to mention 4K.
8K is the way forward for reside sport, streaming providers and video generally – and it does look nice – however we’re nonetheless a great distance off from it being the norm.
That is simply the beginning, BT guarantees, with BT Sport rolling out further options to its reside sport choices too, together with 8K VR in addition to customization choices which is able to mean you can select digicam angles and screen-in-screen viewing for a number of digicam angles on display screen concurrently.