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Globo Streams 8K Olympics Content to Users

Brazilian broadcaster Globo partnered with Intel and others to live-stream 8K/60p content for the 2020 Olympics to its customers in Brazil.  The trial included 8K coverage of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as swimming, judo and tennis table, among other events.  The initiative is part of a research effort on the trends that will shape the future of TV.

Leonardo Chaves headshot
Leonardo Chaves

A companion article describes more of the production workflow and details of a public demonstration at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Here, we describe the efforts of Globo to live-stream the content over their Content Distribution Network (CDN).

The 8K content was initially produced by NHK and the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and delivered to Intel in an uncompressed format.  Intel encoders were then used to create a contribution signal which was then passed to Bitmovin to create a series of distribution encodes (ladders) to allow streaming on the Globo public CDN.

To learn more, we posed a series of questions to Leonardo Chaves, who works in the Mediatech Lab at Globo.

8K Monitor: Was the content available on a separate channel?

Globo: The 8K experience was offered through our OTT service, Globoplay. A special menu with 8K clips showed up to our consumers, for free, if they had a supported 8K TV set.

8K Monitor: How were customers notified?

Globo: Globo broadcast on the main national newscast TV program during prime time.

8K Monitor: What regions or local affiliates carried the transmission?

Globo: The 8K HDR VoD experience was national wide distributed based on our own CDN infrastructure. Today Globo has more than 50 points of presence (PoPs) across Brazil, including in areas outside the Rio-Sao Paulo axis.

8K Monitor: Was the feed the same as was shown to audiences in LA?

Globo: We receive a similar feed, provided by our partner Intel. The Globoplay 8K HDR VoD parameters were: HEVC, 59.94p, 4:2:0, 10bit, HLG HDR streamed using HLS protocol.

8K Monitor: Was the content encoded at constant quality?

Globo:  We used the best sets from our cloud transcoding partner Bitmovin to achieve the optimal quality for Globoplay delivery. For this, we defined a new set of profiles to create an 8K HDR ladder of encodes.

8K Monitor: Can you say more about the Bitmovin encoding ladders?

Globo: Sorry, but we cannot disclose the 8K ladder used in the demo since it is being studied for better quality delivery. We can say we performed some 8K profile tests with no segment exceeding 50 Mbps. One of the constraints we considered besides quality, was the broadband connection speeds in Brazil. And we hope we can run more tests in the near future based on next generation codecs, such as VVC.

8K Monitor: Were you able to confirm if ordinary customers received the 8K feed?

Globo:  Through the collected data, we were able to confirm that people were receiving the 8K HDR on their 8K TV set without problems. We enabled our call center to deal with possible user doubts, but we receive none of them. The experience was very smooth and we received a lot of positive feedback. Some people actually bought an 8K TV set just to enjoy this experience. Currently, an 8K TV set in the Brazilian market is close to R$ 10 000.00, which is approximately US$ 1,900.00.

8K Monitor: What are your thoughts for offering additional 8K content to customers?

Globo: This is a major milestone for Brazilian broadcasters and it is just the beginning to provide the best quality of experience that 8K HDR can offer to the viewers in their homes. We are very confident that experiences like that will push the market and technology to always offer a better experience to the people. We have also been running 8K trials on other sports and scripted TV shows.