Garland and NTT Electronics help Sky Sports race ahead of the competition in providing HEVC UHD coverage

NTT Electronics HEVC behind broadcaster’s first ever UHD IP-link for its coverage of Formula 1

Leading UK digital video solutions provider, Garland, announces that Sky Sports has chosen NTT Electronics contribution encoders and decoders in Sky’s bid to be the first-to-market with end-to-end HEVC UHD delivery on its sports platform.

Sky Sports, who are noted for their commitment to the quality of their sports coverage, were looking for ways to acquire their Premier League football and Formula 1™ video coverage more efficiently, while further improving video quality, saving on bandwidth, and optimising power and space in their workflow.

“Sports viewers are among the most discerning when it comes to the quality of video,” says Gordon Roxburgh, Technical Manager at Sky. “We want to continue to be the leader in providing this audience with the highest calibre coverage. Garland was able to provide us with a solution that not only improves the quality, but is more efficient.”

“We knew the answer was in the latest NTT Electronics line of UHD solutions,” says Malcolm Harland, Managing Director for Garland. “Specifically, Sky deployed encoders and decoders from NTT’s HC11000 and HC10000 ranges. This setup allows Sky to make use of products that support HEVC UHD encoding and decoding over IP.”

HEVC UHD video compression capabilities are an evolution from H.264, the latter requiring the use of multiple encoders. Using HEVC instead of H.264 enables Sky to decide whether to improve quality or reduce expensive satellite bandwidth costs, whilst also saving on rack space.

SKY are using the NTT encoders and decoders in their three primary UHD contribution vehicles supporting Premier League football on Sky Q, their latest set top box offering in UHD. Sky are also using the NTT platforms for primary contribution of their coverage of the 20 Grands Prix in 2017 — which started in Australia on 26 March and ends in Abu Dhabi on 26 November.

The latest version of NTT’s UHD products can deliver up to 160Mbps transport stream, with 120 milliseconds of end-to-end delay, and support Dolby E pass through (SMPTE-302M). The same box also supports H.264 encoding, as well as HD and SD resolutions for even greater flexibility.  And it can do all this while also supporting simultaneous IP and DVB-ASI outputs.

“We’ve worked closely with Sky on several other major initiatives,” states Malcolm. “It’s exciting to watch as NTT is able to take them over the finish line in Sky’s quest to be the first to acquire live  UHD F1™ race-day coverage over IP.”