It’s Official: FIFA World Cup Final Will Go 4K

FIFA World Cup

Fox paid $450 million to $500 million for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 soccer tournaments, snatching them from ESPN -- which had paid just $100 million for the 2010 and 2014 events.

AMSTERDAM – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil will be produced in 4K, it was revealed during Sony’s press conference on Friday at IBC. The news was not unexpected and follows 4K testing at the FIFA Confederations Cup last summer.

“At IBC 2012 Sony announced its technical collaboration with FIFA to produce the 2014 tournament in HD,” said FIFA TV director Niclas Ericson. “The World Cup Final in 4K is the next natural evolution. We needed to be sure we had the technology that could deliver the trial this summer. We believe 4K will create a richer and more exciting viewing experience for viewers.”

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Just the final match at this stage is to be captured in the format to entice broadcasters to take the feed. Public viewing venues and screenings at cinemas are also being discussed by FIFA, with the decision on the total number of matches to be shot and aired in 4K dependent, in part, on the outcome of the World Cup draw in December, which will pair interested countries with stadium venues.

During the press conference, Katsunori Yamanouchi, vice president of Sony Professional Solutions Europe, also made a big push for professionals to begin to use 4K in production. “Why should you invest now in 4K when viewers don't have 4K TVs? Because this live production system can also be used to shoot HD -- by offering HD cut-outs from 4K cameras, down-conversion to HD or high frame rate sequences for slow motion,” he said.

Sony has bolstered its existing 4K line with two new NXCAM camcorders, the NEX-FS700RH and the NEX-FS700R. Both models feature a 4K Exmor Super35 CMOS sensor and enable 4K/2K recording on an external recorder. A firmware update includes the S-log2 gamma mode and was designed to create a wider dynamic range, even for HD productions.

It also announced a new video server, the PWS-4400 Multiport AV unit, capable of 4K and HD recording; two prototype 4K OLEDs; and a 4K 60p SXRD projector.

3D was marked by its distinct absence from the press conference, although FIFA has not ruled out producing in the format thanks to interest from China's CCTV, among others.