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If you’ve been thinking about the switch from 4K to 8K, now could be a good time to upgrade. That’s because one of the biggest problems about 8K televisions – the lack of content shot for this super-sharp resolution – is about to become much less of an issue. Undoubtedly, 8K is the future of televisions, with these sets offering four times the resolution of 4K models, which themselves offer four times the resolution of standard 1080p full HD. That improved resolution is vital especially when buying a telly with a much bigger screen – something more of us have been doing over the past year.
Now, you might be wondering what the point of splashing out on this new technology is, after all, it can be frustratingly hard to find 4K content let alone 8K. But fortunately, that could all be about to change with BT Sport confirming that it’s getting ready to start pushing out this pin-sharp format to consumers in the coming months.
BT Sport is no stranger to 8K. The broadcaster tested live 8K feeds early last year during Arsenal’s match against Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium. Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, putting plans on ice, which resulted in a delay to BT pushing ahead with a full rollout to customers. But now, things are back on track.
BT says it has recently finished building its first 8K ready gallery, one of the first to do so outside of Japan.
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Speaking to Express.co.uk Jamie Hindhaugh, Chief Operating Officer, BT Sport said: “The good news for those people who have invested in these sets is 8K is still on my roadmap. 8K is part of our BT Sport Ultimate proposition, which is ensuring we always capture in the best quality available to super-serve our audiences dependent on what connectivity and what device they have in their homes.
“We have built four remote galleries and one of them at Stratford is 8K ready, so that means we’re now in a wonderful position.
“My prediction is there will be some events this season and it will be full steam ahead from the season after next.”
So, how will consumers know if the content they are watching is in native 8K or has simply been scaled up?
The good news is, fans streaming on BT Sport won’t have to touch anything on their screens as the app will always push the best quality out to match your set-up and subscription plan. That means if a football match is filmed in 8K, and you have a compatible TV and BT Sport Ultimate plan, you’ll get the full pin-sharp experience.
“This is the beauty of the dynamic channel infrastructure that we’re delivering,” Hindhaugh told us. “We will always serve up the best possible flavour, so for instance, if you’ve got an HDR television, then the BT Sport Ultimate channel will give you that variant if you’ve got a 4K SDR television, it will give you that variant.
“We’re trying to move away from talking formats to customers. We will simply give you the ultimate viewing experience depending on that platform.
“In the future, if a BT Sport customer is subscribed to Ultimate, has the right connectivity and they have a Samsung 8K TV they will automatically be served up that offering if it’s available in 8K.”
This is a huge investment from BT Sport and you might be wondering why the firm is putting so much time and energy into a format when millions of homes have only just made the switch to 4K TVs.
“We’ve been first in the UK for 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos, 360, the list goes on,” said Hindhaugh. “What’s in it for us is maintaining that trust between us and our customers that when you watch BT Sport, you get the best quality available it’s all about taking people to the heart of sport.
“We don’t do it to be clever, we don’t do it to be first, we do it to ensure that we are giving people an experience and taking them closer to the action.”
Another bonus of shooting live-action in native 8K resolution is those subscribers who have 4K TVs at home will be able to see the difference too. Explaining more, Hindhaugh added: “If we shoot in 8K, the better quality all of the feeds that then come off of that. So 4K distribution captured by 8K is a better picture quality than 4K capture with 4K cameras.”
Along with BT Sport being excited about the future, Samsung also says it’s pleased that consumers will soon be able to watch content in 8K. With more of us investing in bigger screens, higher resolution content is vital to get the best experience in living rooms.
“When you look at the market, 75-inch screens and above grew about 115 percent last year and that’s where 8K really shines,” Deep Halder, Head of TV/AV Retail and Content Services, Samsung Electronics UK said. “When consumers are making these big purchases, they increasingly want to future proof themselves, so when you know 8K is available in those large screen sizes the appetite for going for a 4K screen diminishes.
“8K TVs are now there in homes and, as a pioneer, it’s really up to us to figure out who is the right partner that we need to support and incubate to bring this next generation experience in the homes and there’s nobody better than BT Sport to partner to bring that stadium experience to fans.”
BT Sport wouldn’t reveal exactly how many games they will be broadcasting in 8K this year but, if you have one of these latest televisions in your living room, expect to see brighter and better content arriving in the future.
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