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On Thursday, 6 September TNO and a number of partners presented a world first: the match between the Dutch national team and Peru was not only played live in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam, it was also watched in real life and real time in Daejeon, South Korea. Viewers there were offered an unparalleled live experience: thanks to Ultra-Wide Vision technology, the entire stadium was displayed to them in panoramic high resolution, down to the tinniest drop of sweat and quivering blade of grass. It was as if they were there in person: real life in real time.
This was the first time Ultra-Wide Vision was combined with superfast data transport. The new technology makes it possible for people on the other side of the world to experience live events in real time.
Ultra-Wide Vison is an exceptionally wide screen format that is used to display film shot with several cameras at once. The Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) developed the technology to create seamless panoramic images using multiple cameras. During the match three cameras were positioned next to each other to ensure a panoramic shot of the entire field in super high quality. The resulting film gives the viewer the impression that they are actually at the match, even if they are on the other side of the world.
Sending the images over large distances requires massive data transmission capacity. The match on 6 September was shown live to a group of technicians in South Korea using a special dedicated fibreglass connection. This was the first such intercontinental broadcast using this technology, with only a 0.3 second delay (live broadcasts on your television at home often have as much as a 30 second delay). The required data connection was established with the help of SURF, the collaborative ICT organization for education and research in the Netherlands. This network allowed the images to be transmitted at the speed of light in uncompressed format.
This pilot was initiated as part of a European research programme called ITEA 3. The Ultra-Wide Vision technology for creating realistic film using super-high resolution panoramic images was developed by the Media Orchestration from Sensor to Screen (MOS2S) project, involving sixteen partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and South Korea. TNO is coordinating the project and also provides technical guidance, contributes to the development of the technology and is helping to look for market opportunities.
The final goal is to develop commercial applications of the technology. For example, the project is collaborating with the Johan Cruijff ArenA to see if they can broadcast high-profile matches during the 2020 European Championship (Euro 2020). Euro 2020 will be a unique competition, with twelve host cities in twelve different countries, including Amsterdam. It is easy to imagine that people would want to watch the semi-finals and final in Wembley stadium, London in high quality on a big screen in the ArenA. The audience will be able to enjoy the matches live – with only a 0.1 second delay – in a way that approaches real life as never before.
The same technology could also be used in the future for other events with an international audience. It is also possible to increase the number of cameras. For example, during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang (South Korea) the MOS2S project broadcast a cultural event live at Seoul Airport, 200 kilometres away from the games, using a video wall with 48 screens.
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