Broadband News

Ultra HD BT Sports channel details announced

Just two weeks left now until the BT Sport Ultra HD package shows its first live broadcast with the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley on 2nd August.

The new BT Sport Ultra HD channel is part of the Entertainment Ultra HD package at £15 a month. The package includes a new YouView box that supports Ultra HD and features a larger 1TB hard drive. The other content such as FreeView and the 47 Premium channels (13 in HD) remain in their standard resolution with up-scaling if you have a UHD capable TV.

To further encourage people to opt for the best viewing experience (i.e. little point in subscribing to the Ultra HD channel without a UHD TV) BT is offering up to £500 off a LG UHD TV. The cheapest TV is the 40" LG 40UF770V at £799 (£679 with discount code) - or nothing stopping you sourcing your own via another retailer like Amazon where the 40" model is £679.

The Ultra HD service is restricted for now to those on BT Infinity 2 or better where the speed estimate is 44 Mbps and faster, which will restrict those who can order the service. This is partly down to the 4K multicast stream which needs 20 to 30 Mbps, but with live encoding you often see bursty performance so building in a large bandwidth margin helps to ensure no-one sees dropped frames and as BT Sport is live there is no opportunity to buffer content locally. For those worried this is going to cause more local congestion since BT Sport uses multicast, it does not matter whether 1 or 20 people are streaming a match on a local cabinet.

While not every FTTC line will support the new UHD channel there are plenty that do and it may encourage Sky and Virgin Media to up their game with respect to Ultra HD content.


I don't believe Virgin are in any great rush to release 4k. They reported having no plans to do so recently.

Virgin still use MPEG2 for their TV, they haven't migrated to MPEG4 for broadcast yet.

As far as Sky goes satellite capacity is super expensive. An entire transponder is only 43.88Mb, Sky Sports 1 HD in 1080i averages 12-13Mb/s.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 5 years ago

I should mention that number is an average across everything - low intensity sports, advertising, poker, etc. Fast-moving, demanding scenes can happily chew up 20Mb/s+.

Whether there's the market yet for Sky to deliver a new STB and spend the necessary for 30Mb/s+ of capacity for something that will have such limited demand is a harder sell.

I'm sure they have an STB in the pipeline that will support UHD, though.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 5 years ago

The solution for sky is surely adding a Ka band sattelite to the 28.2E group, with a couple of spotbeams to cover the whole of the UK. Would mean an LNB change for uhd users but give much more capacity...

  • rtho782
  • over 5 years ago

Why should Sky even bother trying to use satellite for UHD when Fibre Multicast is clearly the most efficient solution.... oh of course they are doing everything they can to avoid use of BT TV Connect, and Now TV is ultimately limited by the need to rely on Unicast distribution. For the first time in 18 years Sky are technology limited in their ambitions because the economics just don't work for UHD on their main platform.

  • Colin_London
  • over 5 years ago

I would want to sample this before signing up. I tried BT Sport that is included in my package and the results in HD were poor - crisp when camera locked, but blurred and smeared when there was motion or the camera panned and probably worse than SD. I can test it on my PC and 4k monitor before trying out their box.

  • rmclayton
  • over 5 years ago

Since most people are sitting too far from their TV to benefit from HD I don't think 4K is worth getting excited about. Even in households where the screen size and seating is good enough for HD a fair few people still don't care.

So to benefit from 4K you need to be 1.5 metres from a 40" TV. For most people that probably means you need a 50" TV to see any benefit.

  • AndrueC
  • over 5 years ago

Sky woild use openreach multicast not BTW TV Connect

That chart is really quite misleading - UHD is progressive and there is no 1080i comparison. The Close distances are irrelevant x2 as vid is nyquist filtered.

I see the BTW TVC Sin hasn't been updated yet :-(

Yea, above sin lists HD as either 10mbit 1920 or 7.5mbit 1440 :-(

  • legume
  • over 5 years ago

Here's a very different take on the issue, compared with the numbers from Carlton Bale...

That article isn't based on the scientific notion of the architecture of the eyes, but more on what is going on inside the viewer's head: how "real" is something perceived to be.

It may well be that we need to measure the use of UHD by perception, not trigonometry.

  • WWWombat
  • over 5 years ago

For example, we know eyes twitch back and forth. I think it is plausible that the brain can build up a more detailed picture than can be explained from knowing the rod & cone make-up of the eye. A kind of organic interlacing.

I suspect you're talking about the theory behind Nyquist sampling (which has to be at double the frequency of what you want to detect) rather than Nyquist filtering ... which is something different.

I tend to know of the issue as Shannon's sampling rate.

  • WWWombat
  • over 5 years ago

The author behind my linked article seems to reach this conclusion:

"This means a 50″ display is useful for 4K to about 8.6 feet, 60″ to 10.2 feet and a 50″ 1080p display is useful to about 17.2 feet."

Average viewing distance in this country is about 9 ft, so it looks like those viewers would get a good improvement on a 50" TV.

  • WWWombat
  • over 5 years ago

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