Live Sports in UHD: Ultra Race in Reunion Island

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ATEME made it possible – live sports in UHD! The elation and emotions of what is perhaps the most insane competition in the world, ending with an awe-inspiring twist – all captured and delivered to screens from France to the Indian Ocean in pristine UHD quality. With the cloud.

But first, some background.

The Road to UHD in France

With an increase in competing platforms, DTT is trying to find new relevance. And UHD could help.

There’s still time for change in the French mainland before the 2024 Olympics. Perhaps at the 2023 Rugby World Cup we’ll see some new UHD channels. But it’s still a tough road ahead – and the road is not clear yet.

Clouds over Reunion Island

France Televisions, the national broadcaster, and its subsidiary Réunion La Première, chose one event – a race that is known worldwide for its difficulty and sheer insanity – for a 4K production offloaded to the cloud over a three-day period.

Ateme was present. And this live sports in UHD content was offered over satellite as part of the Fransat channel packet that was broadcast over mainland France.

The target was 12 Mbps and the quality of transcoding on a sports event was impressive.

The event was based in Reunion Island – an island in the Indian Ocean that is part of France’s Overseas Departments.

Rugged Race in Reunion Island

The Grand Raid race is known to be one of the toughest in the world, which is why it’s called La diagonale des Fous (The Fools’ Diagonal). Competitors cross the island in a 168-kilometer (104-mile) race reaching up to 9,611 meters (31,500 feet) of altitude on some of Reunion Island’s most mountainous landscapes.

The production was prepared by Réunion La Première in three days before the event. It used TITAN Edge on the start and finish lines for 4K encoding and decoding at 30 Mbps – thanks to the engagement of post-production company Globecast Reportage, which has events such as the Tour de France under its belt.

From its Cloud playout, Globecast offered some OTT channels. It also sent streams using SRT at 30 Mbs to a Kyrion gateway so that French broadcaster TDF could broadcast the live event locally over a terrestrial UHD channel. And Eutelsat transcoded the SRT 30 Mbs feed at 12 Mbps using TITAN Live, to add this stream to Fransat’s national channel packet that was broadcast over satellite.

Fransat: Read here.

France Televisions: Read here.

Tear-jerking Twist

In the end, the race went well – no accidents this year; just a few high temperatures. From start to finish, it was a breath-taking race in UHD. Until, after 23 hours and 2 minutes of gruelling competition, the winners crossed the finish line… together. Having competed fiercely all day and all night, with a delay between them of up to 8 minutes, they finally decided to share success.

What an insane race.

What a crazy finish.

What a performance.

And how perfectly France Televisions, Réunion La Première, Globecast, TDF and Fransat delivered the thrill of this event to audiences all over mainland France and its Overseas Departments!

The architecture of the outstanding Grand Race UHD event