For the first time, BT Sport in the UK will broadcast a Premier League football match (that’s soccer, for our US readers) in Ultra HD (UHD) and Dolby Atmos sound. On Tuesday, January 31, this clash between league leaders Chelsea and fourth-placed Liverpool will kick off at Anfield stadium in Liverpool at 8:00 p.m. Football fans will be transported into the middle of the crowd with the roar of the crowd and the sound of the game all around them.
Creating an immersive experience for football fans
This broadcast will be available to subscribers of the BT Sport 4K UHD channel in the UK. But what makes this different from any other match? During the game, a soundfield microphone will capture the sound of the crowd in 3D, while a range of other microphones will capture many different elements, from the referee’s whistle and the spectators’ cheers to the thud of the football being kicked. A total of 12 microphones placed around the edge of the football pitch and near the crowd will capture all of the multidimensional sounds. And of course, the sports commentators and reporters on the sidelines and in the studio will also have their own microphones so that viewers can hear their opinions.
All of these sounds from the stadium will be captured and then mixed into Dolby Atmos audio. The control center where all of this magic takes place is in two outside broadcast trucks at Anfield. From these trucks, the broadcast team and monitor the live Dolby Atmos audio from all around the stadium, whether on the pitch, in the crowd, or from the public address system in the stadium roof. Inside the trucks, speakers have been installed in the ceiling to enable the monitoring of a Dolby Atmos mix with overhead sound, while the microphones from around the pitch are connected to an audio mixing desk.
What happens next? Once the UHD images and Dolby Atmos sound leave the stadium, they pass through a range of BT facilities where they are checked for quality and where additional elements, such as advertisements, are added. The signal is then sent via BT’s Infinity superfast fiber optic broadband network to be delivered directly to consumers’ homes.
Bringing the football stadium into your living room
Dolby Atmos creates powerful audio and sounds all around you, including overhead. To create the best experience, you will need a Dolby Atmos sound bar or Dolby Atmos enabled speakers and a Dolby Atmos enabled AVR. A Dolby Atmos enabled home-theater-in-a-box system provides an alternative option that is worth considering for a simple, all-in-one setup. The great news is that the Dolby Atmos experience is now available in multiple form factors, making the experience more accessible to everyone.
Jamie Hindhaugh, Chief Operating Officer, BT Sport, said: “TV viewers are used to having the best pictures when watching sports, but sound is often overlooked. Now sports fans will be able to feel like they’re in the stadium, with the combination of Dolby Atmos and UHD providing the most immersive experience possible.”
At Dolby, we believe that there has never been a better way for football fans to immerse themselves in the action, all from the comfort of the living room. Just sit back and watch “the beautiful game” come to life.