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World Cup Kicks Off Live 4K

Let the soccer action begin.

With the 2014 World Cup kicking off today, Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has become the latest partner to join with Brazilian pay-TV provider Globosat to deliver 4K Ultra HD coverage of the men's soccer tournament. Globosat will broadcast the final three World Cup games live in 4K, teaming up with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) for production, Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI) for video encoding, and Broadcom for video decoding.

The three broadcasts will be the first delivered in 4K at 60 frames per second with 10-bit color. Ultra HD provides four times the resolution rate of traditional high-definition video, and the 10-bit profile supports more than 1 billion color shades.

The 4K World Cup video stream won't make it to the US, but three service providers in Brazil -- Net, Telefônica Brasil subsidiary Vivo Participacoes SA , and Oi -- have signed with Globosat to distribute the feed. The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has also said it will stream 4K coverage. (See Eurobites: Vodafone Opens Window on Wire-tapping.)

Unfortunately for fans, the set-tops that support 4K viewing can't be purchased at retail yet. This means that access to 4K World Cup coverage will likely only be through special screenings.

In an interview, Broadcom told Light Reading that its hardware partners in Brazil will soon be announcing set-tops that incorporate the Broadcom BCM7445 Ultra HD system-on-a-chip. The SoC supports the High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) compression and video transcoding considered critical for supporting 4K, although the transcoding capabilities won't be on display for World Cup demos. The new chipset is not yet ready for general availability yet, but it is in volume production.

Meanwhile, this isn't the first time that Globosat has toyed with 4K video. The Brazilian provider ran 4K tests in 2013 during the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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