NAB: NCAA Final Four Gets 4K Treatment

Private Closed Circuit Demonstration Billed as First Major Sports Event Captured in New Format 4/08/2013 12:16 PM Eastern

As many vendors at the 2013 NAB Show were touting the ability of their equipment to handle 4K or UltraHD productions, LG Electronics USA has announced that the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Final Four was recorded in 4K as part of a closed-circuit demo of the technology, making it the first major U.S. sporting event recorded in Ultra HD.

For the April 6th demonstration, LG Electronics worked with the NCAA, CBS Sports and Turner Sports to capture the action in 4K, which was then displayed on LG's 84-inch Ultra HD TVs at private viewing locations in the Georgia Dome.

"When we first approached our partners at LG and CBS with this idea, we recognized the unique opportunity to pair this inaugural 4K production with the 75th celebration of March Madness in Turner Broadcasting System's hometown of Atlanta," said Matt Hong, senior VP and GM of sports operations, Turner Sports in statement. "We continue to embrace innovation and look at this test of next-generation television technology as a way to potentially serve fans for decades to come."

Ken Aagaard, executive VP, operations, engineering and broadcast services, CBS Sports, added in another statement that "CBS made high-definition sports broadcasts a reality with the Final Four in HDTV over a decade ago, and now we're leading the way into the 4K era. March Madness is always filled with big moments, and this demonstration shows how Ultra HD TV can ultimately become the future of sports broadcasting and enhance the viewer's experience."

Providing widespread public broadcasts of 4K content will be much harder than delivering a private closed circuit 4K broadcast inside the venue. Currently there is not even a broadcast standard for 4K.

But Gary Yacoubian, chairman of the CEA Ultra HD Working Group and president and CEO, Specialty Technologies/SVSound, noted in another statement that even though "there are still challenges ahead to deliver Ultra HD content to consumers' homes, lucky fans in Atlanta are among the first to experience the excitement of sports in this incredible new TV format, with over 8 million pixels, four times the resolution of today's HDTV."

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