When Olympic TV coverage begins tomorrow August 5, it will be the first time the games will be available on connected TVs and streaming devices such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Chromecast, according to an article in SportsTechLive. In total, 4,500 hours of video will be streamed, including competition from 34 sports and simultaneous streaming of the linear broadcasts. Web and mobile apps will be optimized for viewing even while away from your TV, with a bitrate of 7 Mbps across all platforms. The streaming also allows for coverage of sports like badminton and race walking and other sports historically not covered by the linear broadcasts. A large amount of video-on-demand content will be available including full event replays, short-form highlights, and athlete profiles. The rest of this blog will cover other new technologies being deployed to enhance viewers experience watching the games.
Showcasing 4K UHD TV
NBC has announced they will broadcast in 4K UHD to audiences with the ability to watch in 4K resolution. It’s not just 4K, but also with High Dynamic Range (HDR). 4K UHD HDR will be used to cover the opening and closing ceremonies, swimming, track and field, basketball, and the men’s soccer final via a 24 hour delay. Interestingly, these 4K replay sportscasts will be a result of downscaling of native 8K resolution recording by Japanese broadcaster NHK, as part of testing live 8K broadcasting in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. After downscaling to 4K, HDR will be added. It is expected that DirecTV and Dish will carry the 4K broadcasts since their satellite services can handle the resolution.
Broadcasts in Virtual Reality
NBC is also planning VR broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, and boxing. To view the VR video requires a Samsung Gear VR headset and smartphone and a paid subscription to the NBC Sports app. These broadcasts will be released with a delay starting Aug 6.
Along with other major sports events so far in 2016 such as the Masters and British Open golf events, Wimbledon, and Euro 2016, the Olympics is the type of sports event with the large audience and compelling competition that’s perfect for VR and 4K.
With the 4,500 the hours of coverage, the number of steams, and 4K broadcasts, the world’s CDNs will be key to delivering “just like being there” viewing experiences for sports fans all over the world. Enjoy the games!