Extra, extra, read all about it: in mid-April, the Sony Corporation announced it would broadcast the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in the latest technology to revolutionize television in a long time. The electronics giant teamed up with FIFA to produce a promotional film for the global sporting event that used ultra-high-definition technologies, otherwise known as 4k resolution.
The film in question will include some of the best games played this year, as well as the final match. Once the World Cup is complete, the video will be sold online and Sony promises to make the final, one quarterfinal, and a game from the 16 round available in the same format. Sony also plans to test several upcoming products upon this occasion: the PMW-F55 CineAlta 4k Digital Cinema Camera, the PVMX300 30-inch 4k Trimaster LCD screen, the PWS4400 Multi Port AV Storage Unit, and the MVS7000X Multi-Format Production Switcher Processor.
4k Resolution/Ultra HD (UHD) at a glance
4k resolution (or UHD) was developed in 2003, and it’s the brain child of NHK, Japan’s national TV broadcasting company. As you might have already guessed, its major advantage is that it promises to deliver more clarity, more nuanced colors, and a lot more detail. At the moment, the highest definitions available en masse for TV broadcasts allow viewers to enjoy vivid colors and sharp image quality at 1080p viewing resolutions. However, the 4k resolution reveals numerous previously unnoticeable details, such as the expressions on the players’ faces and even more details in the background. It also scales larger to much larger screen televisions such as 60 inch panels (or bigger). With more and more consumers owning television sets larger than 50 inches, this resolution is all the more pertinent.
UHD officially stands as the highest resolution type of broadcast currently available. However, it’s a long way away from altering industry standards, say most experts. For one thing, it’s expensive as far as the consumers are concerned: an UHD TV in Japan, with a 55-inch diagonal currently sells for $3,400 – that’s about six times more than the average $600 price of a ‘regular’ HD TV. What’s more, 4k video also remains obscure for the time being in the sense that there’s little content available of this kind of signal for the viewers. In fact, that’s probably what Sony is hoping to change with the release of their upcoming FIFA ’14 film and broadcast. Given the massive audience of the event, exposure for this technology could very well surge.
How 4k resolution broadcasts could change sports
According to Niclas Ericson, the man in charge of TV broadcasts for this year’s FIFA World Cup, “4K will propel fans around the globe into a whole new viewing dimension and it marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport.” The same sentiment was echoed by Soichi Kawachi, the Sony VP of the Sony/FIFA Partnership. Kawachi says he hopes 4k resolution will make the FIFA World Cup games as exciting to watch as those in Brazil, but far more profound and vivid than any previous sports viewing experience. And it’s not just FIFA and Sony> BSkyB and ESPN are also considering the marketability of sports channels that broadcast exclusively in 4k.
However, the verdict is still mixed as to how successful 4k resolution/UHD can be. For one thing, Japan, which is one of the world’s foremost markets for cutting-edge technologies, has recently upped its sales tax. This means luxury goods, cars, and gadgets became that much more expensive starting April 1st. One the other hand, industry analysts say 4k has a far better chance at becoming a popular favorite rather than 3D given the passage of time and the correlated lowering of prices.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 in 4k Resolution
The FIFA World Cup 2014, which also marks the tournament’s 20th edition, will take place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13 this year. It’s the second time Brazil hosts the event after the 1950 World Cup. The tournament will see 31 national teams from just as many countries face off in a series of 64 matches to be played in twelve Brazilian cities. A notable aspect of this year’s event is the fact that all the countries that have won the World Cup since its inaugural 1930 edition have qualified for this year’s event. The countries are Uruguay, Italy, Germany, the host country (Argentina), France, England, and the defending champion (Spain).