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Tata Communications achieves first live F1® 4K feed over fibre

23 Sep 2014

Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™, continues to drive technology innovation by becoming the first company to deliver a live 4K feed from a Formula 1® event. This landmark was achieved during Practice Session 1 at the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, where live footage was delivered end-to-end over Tata Communications' Global Video Connect Network, to Formula One Management's (FOM) Technical HQ in Biggin Hill, UK. Demonstrated to an exclusive group of broadcasters, the live delivery highlighted the next generation 4K broadcast capabilities afforded by fibre-optic cable, as well as illustrating how the future of 4K sports broadcasting could look.

Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director F1 Business, Tata Communications, says, “Last year we were able to showcase our broadcast capabilities by transmitting a live JPEG 2000 feed from the same Grand Prix in Singapore. This year we have taken a huge step in next generation broadcast with the first-ever transmission of a live 4K feed from a Formula One event. It is another milestone in our journey with Formula One Management and shows the real potential of sports broadcasting over our Video Connect Network, as well as the quality and speed by which it can be delivered.”

4K broadcasting promises ground-breaking definition, but also presents the challenge of significantly increased bandwidth demand. Typically, Tata Communications provides 120 megabits per second (mbps) for JPEG 2000. During the Biggin Hill showcase, Tata Communications provided 500 mbps for a single feed, a capability that was only made possible thanks to the company's global Video Connect network, delivering video and converged IP services seamlessly for high quality sports events.

John Morrison, Formula One Management's Chief Technical Officer, says, “Formula One racing is the pinnacle of cutting edge technology, and provides the ultimate showcase for innovation. 4K is an exciting new technology which could have great potential when it comes to sports broadcasting. We are focused on giving F1 fans the best possible experience, which is why we are pleased to be supporting Tata Communications in bringing 4K closer to reality.”

The live demonstration also highlighted the global capability of Tata Communications' dedicated Video Connect Network which affords 4x redundant connectivity between source and destination, while ensuring zero packet drop for a smooth viewing experience. The network also offers ready connectivity to key media hotspots globally including stadiums, teleports, broadcasters and direct-to-home, cable and over-the-top service providers. In a world where customers have more choice than ever before when it comes to content consumption, Tata Communications specialised media network helps deliver a high-quality service regardless of the location, format and bandwidth required.

Mehul Kapadia continues, “Consumer demand for high quality and live content across different platforms is now the norm and with the emergence of bandwidth hungry production workflows, especially that of 4K broadcasting, quick turnaround and availability of content across multiple platforms are hygiene factors for content owners. Having the world's only wholly-owned global fibre-optic ring of super-fast cables means that we are able to fully exploit the potential of new technologies such as 4K, from any location across the globe; and give broadcasters and content owners the ability to reach an ever more demanding audience with ever higher quality content.”

In February 2012, Tata Communications signed a deal with Formula One Management to deliver world-class connectivity to all Formula One race locations over its global network, the largest in the world. Tata Communications also provides hosting and content delivery services to Formula1.com, which is accessed by tens of millions of fans around the globe throughout the racing season.