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Brazil’s Globosat To Offer Three World Cup Matches In 4K

Brazil’s Globosat will push the 4K ball forward a bit in the coming weeks by delivering the live feed of three World Cup matches in the eye-popping Ultra HD format via satellite to select pay-TV partners in the region.

To help Globosat pull off the feat, which will deliver those matches in 10-bit color and at a sports-friendly 60 frames per second via its SPORTV channel, the company will rely on Elemental Technologies' “Live” 4K-capable encoders and set-top silicon outfitted with 4K decoders from Broadcom. The video itself will be encoded in HEVC/H.265, a new format that is about 50% more bandwidth efficient than MPEG-4/H.264.

According to Sergio Silva, Elemental’s regional sales manager, the vendor will receive the live feeds from Globalsat’s post-production site and compress them before they are delivered via satellite to consumer-side devices that are outfitted with the Broadcom chipset. While 20 Mbps is the “recommended” bit rate for the live Ultra HD feed, Globosat has a full transponder available for this purpose, allowing it to go beyond that and deliver a 30 Mbps transmission via satellite, he added.

Telefonica and NET are among the pay-TV providers that have already signed up to receive SPORTV’s 4K coverage, according toThe Hollywood Reporter, noting that the BBC also plans to tap into the 4K feed. As the reach of 4K TVs remains limited, the expectation is that those that participate will show off capabilities at  various viewing parties and private demos. FIFA and Sony announced in April that three full World Cup matches will be shot and produced in 4K/Ultra HD: a match from the round of 16 (June 28); one from the quarterfinals on July 4; and the final, set for July 13, at the Estadio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.

The live delivery of those matches will provide another “content point for the drive to 4K” and provide additional proof that the technical aspects of distributing live Ultra HD video are being solved, said Rich Nelson, SVP of marketing for Broadcom’s Broadband Communications Group.

“Broadcasting the World Cup in 4K resolution is an important part of our effort to contribute to the evolution of the TV viewing experience in Brazil. Partnering with Pay-TV operators that share this goal also allows us to deliver Ultra HD to an even wider viewer audience in the future,” said Globosat CTO Roberto Primo, in a statement.

The opening match -- between Croatia and host Brazil -- is set to kick off today at 4 p.m. ET from Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.