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London Olympics opens new era for EBU’s HD TV coverage

The 2012 London Olympics – due to start in 11 days – will be the first time the European Broadcasting Union provides high definition-only coverage of a major sporting event.

Until now, the EBU has provided parallel standard definition and HD signals, but from the Olympics and Paralympics onwards it will provide only HD for such events.

Eurovision Network Director Graham Warren says the London Games marks a milestone in live sports transmission.   

“This is a turning point for Eurovision and the beginning of the end of standard definition,” he says. “Until now we have always provided parallel SD and HD signals, but this is the first big event where we have focused all our energy on HD alone.”   

Occupying a square kilometre of the International Broadcasting Centre in London, the EBU will run 12 simultaneous multilateral transmissions and three unilateral feeds for up to 13 hours a day for the duration of both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

Mr Warren says the EBU has made a considerable long-term investment in its Eurovision satellite and fibre network, ensuring that more than 70 EBU Members holding rights can flawlessly access all 12 HD multilateral signals.   

As part of the network upgrade, the EBU gave these Members up to eight MPEG 4 decoders each, to give European public service media and the audiences they serve optimal transmission quality.   

The EBU serves 74 Members in 56 countries in and around Europe. It also provides major events coverage and other cooperative services to regional broadcasting unions such as the ABU.