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ESPN to stream every 2014 World Cup match online, with Sony filming it in 4K

ESPN announced last week via press release that it is preparing for “its most ambitious multiplatform coverage to date.”  The leading sports network will dedicate a full month of 24/7 news, analysis, commentary and interactivity around the world’s biggest sporting event – the 2014 World Cup – live from Brazil via WatchESPN and ESPN3 in the U.S. and globally through ESPN’s multi-language/multi-platform soccer-centric brand ESPN FC (which will launch a new app and website redesign in advance of the Cup).

Soccer fans will be able to keep up with the event no matter where they go – not only will all 64 matches be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and ABC, but viewers will have the option of watching on computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and connected devices with WatchESPN. ESPN will also have exclusive offerings with multiple languages and alternate feeds from ESPN3 Surround, which provides a live streaming companion feed that gives viewers alternative camera angles and in-stadium audio.

In other Cup news, Sony and FIFA last week revealed a joint project to collaborate on a variety of 4K initiatives at this summer’s massively anticipated event, according to press releases from both Sony and FIFA. The Japanese consumer electronics giant will, among other plans, produce the Cup’s official film footage in 4K Ultra HD and produce three full matches in 4K – all in the name of promoting the latest high-resolution medium. We first caught wind of Sony’s scheme at CES earlier this year in January, and the company touched on its strategy again last month within a press release regarding its Bravia series lineup.

Here are some of the measures that Sony and FIFA plan to implement:

  • In addition to traditional HD and SD formats, the 2014 World Cup Film will be produced in 4K (to be referred to as the “Official 4K film”). The film will include a selection of games, including the final, and is due to be distributed online by FIFA via 4K content distribution services after the Cup’s conclusion.
  • FIFA will leverage Sony’s professional 4K equipment with its 4K live production workflow processes in order to film one match from the round of 16 (set for June 28), one quarter-final (July 4), and the final (July 13). Sony will provide extensive tech support to FIFA, including the development of a 4K live production system. Sony will use various gadgets and solutions to tackle the event, including a stunning, $35,000 CineAlta 4K live camera (PMW-F55), 4K multi-port AV storage unit (PWS-4400), 4K LCD monitor (PVM-X300), and 4K multi-format switcher (MVS-7000X).
  • Sony will present 4K trailers featuring match action at its display booths within some of the Cup stadiums, and at FIFA’s Fan Fest HD public viewing events throughout Brazil.
  • Viewers will also be able to watch 4K/60P promotional trailers for the official 4K World Cup film on 4K-compatible Bravia TVs at Sony showrooms and retail outlets.

Click here for more specifics on ESPN’s scheduling and broadcast plans for the Cup, and here for more info on the Sony/FIFA collaboration.

[Image courtesy of Ivica Drusany/Shutterstock]

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Alex Tretbar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex Tretbar, audio/video intern, is a writer, editor, musician, gamer and sci-fi nerd raised on EverQuest and Magic: The…
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