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How F1 is laying the groundwork for its 8K TV future

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F1 was fast to shift its broadcasts to excessive definition, then actual HD and, in 2017, moved to 4K ultra-high definition.

Now, in partnership with its official broadcast connectivity supplier, Tata Communications, it’s starting to place in place what is required for the probably subsequent trade commonplace – 8K decision. 

The brand new pictures will probably be 4 occasions sharper than present F1 broadcasts and, whereas which will appear an pointless step contemplating how good the present decision is, the search for enchancment by no means stops. 

Whereas some would possibly query the necessity for such a step in higher image high quality, Dhaval Ponda, vice chairman and international head media & leisure enterprise at Tata Communications, says 8K is the long run. 

“What occurred steadily during the last couple of years is audiences globally, in virtually each single a part of the world, have gotten used to having content material in 4K. And for the younger era that is the place the bar is now set,” Ponda informed Autosport.  

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“I feel that the transition to 8K is happening really fairly nicely within the trade. And it’ll positively occur as a result of, for the present era that has obtained used to 4K, for them 8K will actually provide a finer element and the next degree of high quality.” 

For these F1 followers who’re fairly glad with the present high quality of broadcast, it might be onerous to think about that issues could possibly be even higher. 

Photograph by: Jacob Niblett / Shutterstock Studios

Biggin Hill FOM manufacturing

However as Ponda defined: “It’s a step up. Once more, in the event you return to the times of HD and when issues moved into full HD, I feel that change was pretty important.  

“And once we went from full HD to 4K, I feel it was visibly higher high quality, as you have got extra depth and extra element. Equally for 8K, it would seize a lot extra uncooked element that it is going to be beautiful. For those who take a look at a shot of an ocean racing competitors in 8K, it’s chic.” 

Ponda has recognized three key levels that should be handed for F1 to maneuver to an period of 8K broadcasts.  

“The 1st step is having the underlying digital infrastructure in place, which is mainly round investing considerably into subsequent era applied sciences,” Ponda stated.  

“A number of this funding can also be a real funding into the long run, since you do not see any income on that within the close to time period.” 

The second step entails working with know-how companions to determine an 8K ecosystem. 

“Change is rarely remoted,” he added. “It’s by no means led by a single organisation. It’s at all times a bunch of firms that work collectively to ship that change for viewers globally.  

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Photograph by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool

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“So we’re actively working with know-how companions, but additionally with main sports activities broadcasters and sports activities federations to have the ability to ship this transformation to the viewers.” 

However the last step is maybe probably the most crucial – and it’s of 8K screens being on the proper worth level for the buyer to wish to enroll.

With the know-how at the moment fairly costly for the typical shopper, Ponda believes that costs have to drop earlier than the ultimate step will be actioned.

“We would wish to have 8K screens and 8K TVs at an economical worth level that customers are capable of undertake,” he stated. “However that is additionally taking place fairly shortly.” 

Viewing expertise 

Making issues higher for the F1 viewer at house is not only about making the photographs higher qualifying although. 

One different crucial enchancment is lag. In the mean time, followers on the circuit expertise 1.5 seconds of latency when they’re watching the trackside screens.  

For the individuals who tune it at house, the photographs arrive with a delay of six or seven seconds, from the second they have been captured by FOM’s digicam operators. 

Karun Chandhok, Sky Sports F1, interviews Jonathan Wheatley, Team Manager, Red Bull Racing, on the pit wall

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Karun Chandhok, Sky Sports activities F1, interviews Jonathan Wheatley, Workforce Supervisor, Crimson Bull Racing, on the pit wall

Tata has been evaluating methods to chop that delay so TV pictures are as near reside as doable.

Ponda stated: “Our funding has at all times been on how can we shave off that further second, half a second and even milliseconds of reside content material that’s going throughout 1000’s of miles. 

“Decreasing the lag entails a bunch of issues. It’s throughout working with higher {hardware}, and bettering the processing energy of computer systems.  

“However one of many methods during which we’re taking a look at to scale back the lag and enhance the standard of content material is with funding into edge-based infrastructure.”  

So what can be the minimal quantity of lag that may be achieved? 

“We’re taking a look at a state of affairs – and that is within the close to future – during which we carry the lag down sufficiently sufficient the place, in the event you have been to face subsequent to a sports activities venue, you’d see an occasion like a purpose or any person crossing the end line taking place in your display screen, virtually similtaneously you hear the gang’s response coming from the venue,” stated Ponda. “So sure, the know-how is bettering considerably.

“The sting-based digital infrastructure is the place a lot of the advances will probably be made. As a result of if you compute on the edge, it signifies that you’ll be able to do processing there somewhat than having to go all the best way to a knowledge centre or a distant location after which come all the best way again. That would be the path ahead very quickly.” 

Biggin Hill FOM production

Photograph by: Jacob Niblett / Shutterstock Studios

Biggin Hill FOM manufacturing

Getting every little thing synchronised 

The delay in pictures making it on to TV screens has opened up one of the crucial irritating points of watching fashionable F1 – nothing being in sync. 

For those who watch race pictures on a display screen, take the commentary from the radio, and cargo up knowledge screens in your cellphone, the three components are not often linked up. 

The reside standings might present a lead change, shortly earlier than the commentator tells you what has occurred – after which it’s nonetheless a few seconds earlier than the screens present it.

It’s an annoyance many followers have skilled however one which, in keeping with Ponda, might quickly be a factor of the previous. 

“Proper now a lot of the content material consumption throughout the first display screen or TV display screen, the digital screens – so laptops, tablets, cell phones – and the screens on the venues are all out of sync.

“It’s because the know-how is pretty fragmented throughout numerous modes of content material consumption.

“So we have now labored with among the main digital gamers in an effort to ship a synchronised expertise, as we name it, the place whatever the display screen – you might be at a venue taking a look at a trackside display screen, a digital display screen and a major display screen on the identical time – they’d all be in sync. 

“The know-how does exist right this moment in an effort to ship that have. And I feel this would be the manner ahead, so individuals will be capable to have synchronised video consumption throughout numerous screens.”  

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