With royal watchers around the world already captivated in the weeks leading up to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the event itself was a huge television spectacle. Sky News wanted to bring the wedding to their Sky Q customers in the highest quality possible, opting for a live 4K broadcast. They once again turned to long-time partner LiveU to add dynamic live coverage from outside their fixed Windsor UHD OB. The supply of the units and additional support was provided by LiveU UK partner Garland Partners.
Richard Pattison, Manager of News Technology, Sky News, said, “Because of the importance of this event and the huge interest in it, Sky decided it wanted to offer something to its Sky Q customers and broadcast the event in UHD. We use LiveU’s live streaming technology extensively throughout our operation on a daily basis but also, as is well known, for special events like the 2015 and 2017 UK general elections. The option to deliver native UHD lives from around the UK and US made them the only choice to provide added depth to our UHD OB in Windsor.”
The build-up and the wedding itself was broadcast on Sky News and simulcast on Sky One. Multiple LiveU LU600 HEVC portable transmission units were deployed specifically to bring in colour from outside the Windsor UHD OB where the wedding took place – from other parts of the UK as well as from locations in the US. Sky News installed a LiveU LU4000 server in the hub OB, which appeared as a source on the OB router, allowing it to be mixed directly into the UHD programme. The LU4000 bonded video receiver is used to receive, reconstruct and playout any HEVC/H.264 video stream of up to 4Kp50/60.
Pattison adds, “Using LiveU we were able to provide complete and very dynamic coverage in native UHD, as opposed to just up-resing HD. There was simply no other way we could have achieved external UHD inputs to our Windsor OB without incurring significant costs and upping the technical complexity of the OB considerably. The performance of their codec allowed 4K over 20 Mbps of bandwidth, which is very impressive.”
LiveU’s flagship LU600 solution with the HEVC Pro card offers the ultimate video performance in live streaming for global newsgathering and beyond. Combined with the 4K HEVC Pro Card, the LU600 allows professional broadcasters and content creators to benefit from unparalleled video performance with extreme bandwidth efficiency – using one of the smallest portable cellular bonding units in the market.
Zion Eilam, Regional VP Sales (EMEA), LiveU, said, “4K HEVC is a growing market and we made a very important decision to opt for hardware encoding with our flagship LU600 solution. This decision has been validated by both the premium quality of the images while also being highly bandwidth efficient. We are really pleased that our technology has once again been used so successfully by Sky News for a truly major event.”