Champions league football is the ideal proving ground for 4K instant replay.
Slow-motion replays at 4K resolution for a high-profile event have been demonstrated for the first time at a recent European Champions League semifinal in Munich, Germany.
The trial was conducted by Belgian provider of live video production systems EVS, for the match between Bayern Munich and Barcelona, using its XT3-LSM system for live 4K replays.
This followed an initial live 4K trial for OB production company, Kyodo Television in Japan, as well as private 4K demos at NAB 2013. In this case, the trial involved OB company TopVision, with a Sony F55 camera coupled to an EVS XT3 server and an AJA Corvid, enabling operators to zoom into the picture and replay segments in slow motion.
For the Champions League match, the XT3 was configured as a one-in, one-out system, which meant that continuous recording was possible at the same time as random access replays of any 4K content already on the server. EVS is currently working on extending that to three 4K channels on a single XT3, with two records and one replay simultaneously, or one record and two replays.
The involvement of Sony was little surprise given its strong promotion of 4K in a bid to reverse recent declines across a number of markets in which it operates. Yet, industry opinion is still mixed over the future of 4K, with many doubting that it will spread through the broadcasting ecosystem as fast as Sony, EVS and others in the business would like.
For example HBO’s recently retired CTO Bob Zitter argued in a keynote at the TV Connect show in London in March that 4K would be confined largely to digital cinema for the foreseeable future. While 4K was justified for cinema sized screens, TV viewers would barely notice the difference between 4K and existing HD on sets around 60in-70in in size, which Zitter argued would be the maximum size widely deployed. On this basis, the industry would need to look no further than 1080p HD, which is double the resolution of 1080i or 720p, and is itself not widely deployed for linear TV delivery.