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2018 FIFA World Cup: SBS conducts immersive and interactive broadcasts with MPEG-H

The opening game of the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia marked the world’s first regular broadcast with immersive and interactive audio. The South Korean television and radio network company SBS transmitted the match live in UHD based on the ATSC 3.0 standard, utilising the advanced features of Fraunhofer’s MPEG-H TV Audio System, immersive sound and interactive audio.

In addition to the opening match, Russia vs. Saudi Arabia, SBS plans to broadcast more than 30 matches during the 2018 Football World Cup with immersive and interactive audio – including the final and all games of the South Korean national team. For a realistic user experience, the stadium atmosphere will be transmitted in an immersive loudspeaker configuration consisting of a 5.1 surround setup accompanied by 4 height speakers. The user experience is completed by a UHD image with High Dynamic Range. Additionally, thanks to MPEG-H’s object-based capabilities, SBS will offer a choice of three audio presets for each match transmitted in UHD: either a pure stadium atmosphere, or with Korean or English commentary added.

SBS viewers will be the first worldwide to enjoy enveloping 3D sound paired with personalisation when watching a regular television broadcast. Apart from choosing their preferred preset, they will also be able to individually optimize the mix of dialogue and effects based on their specific listening situation. This option, called Dialogue Enhancement, can also help viewers with hearing impairments in understanding what is being said.

The broadcast of the Football World Cup with immersive and interactive sound also marks the starting point for SBS’ initiative to introduce next-generation audio features in TV programs of all genres. Supporting the Korean TV stations in their effort for immersive and interactive audio production, Fraunhofer IIS offers training and demonstrations for sound engineers at its training and demo facility in Seoul.

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