Heralding an era of UHDTV, Ericsson has signed a multi-year broadcast and media services deal with BT Sport to help launch three new television channels and an interactive red button service in the UK.
Ericsson will be responsible for designing, building and running BT Sport Europe, free-to-air service BT Sport Showcase, and BT Sport UHD. BT Sport UHD will be the first ultra-high-definition channel to launch in the UK and will feature live football and other premium content.
Ericsson will also help to deliver BT Sport’s new BT Sport Extra red button service, which will enable viewers to choose between eight UEFA games broadcast live simultaneously – including UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games.
As part of the deal, BT Sport has also extended Ericsson’s existing six-year contract for BT Sport 1 and 2 by an additional three years. This contract includes playout and media management services and access services for both channels.
Jamie Hindhaugh, COO, BT Sport and BT TV, said: “BT Sport’s UEFA Champions League coverage sets out to bring viewers the best ever experience of football’s leading club competition. Our 4K coverage of the UEFA Champions League alongside other competitions will bring a truly cinematic experience into fans’ living rooms.”
Thorsten Sauer, Head of Broadcast and Media Services at Ericsson, says: “We are very proud that BT has selected Ericsson to help launch a new range of high-profile TV services, including the UK’s first UHDTV channel. BT Sport has made a significant commitment to its sport broadcasting portfolio, and we are delighted that Ericsson will play an integral role in its future success. This partnership is a significant win for our business and really underlines our role as a trusted partner to some of the world’s leading broadcasters and sports rights holders. We will continue to work hard to deliver high-quality, innovative services.”
BT Sport was launched in August 2013 and currently shows exclusive live action from the Premier League, FA Cup, and Europa League. Customers can also enjoy live football matches from top-flight European leagues, including Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1. BT Sport is available via BT TV, Sky’s satellite platform, Virgin Media and via the BT Sport App.
Ericsson and BT Sport have been working on UHDTV together for some time, combining in 2013 for the first full multi-camera production of a sports event captured in 4K UHDTV and transmitted live internationally via satellite and fiber. Last year, Ericsson received the NAB Technology Innovation Award for its pioneering work in UHDTV.