BT TV announces pricing for sports coverage and 4K

BT TV presenters Image copyright BT
Image caption BT TV has announced pricing for next season's sport content and a new line-up of presenters

BT has announced it will be offering football and rugby matches in 4K quality from August.

BT Sport Ultra HD will be the first 4K channel in Europe, and the Community Shield will be the first broadcast.

BT also announced pricing for viewing next season's Champions League.

The matches will be free for customers who subscribe to BT TV, while BT broadband customers who choose to watch via Sky or the BT Sport app will be charged £5 a month.

Ultra-high definition, or 4K, offers four times the resolution of current HD.

BT Sport Ultra HD will show a variety of Uefa Champions League and FA Cup football and Aviva Premiership rugby, and the Community Shield - a charity match in which the winner of the FA Cup plays the winner of the Premier League.

BT will also launch a 4K set-top box, but users will need a 4K-compatible TV.

This service will only be available to BT Infinity customers, due to the bandwidth required to stream 4K.

"Being one of the first to launch 4K in the UK will be quite an accolade for the company," said Paulo Pescatore, an analyst with research firm CCS Insight.

"More so given that other providers such as BBC and Sky have traditionally been the first to launch new features or services.

"Though this might be significant, users might need to fork out more money in order to watch this new channel such as buying a new TV and upgrading their broadband line," he added.

Credible player

There has been speculation about what BT will charge for viewing next season's Champions League and Europa League matches since it outbid Sky by paying £897m for a three-year package.

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: "When we launched BT Sport we promised to make televised football far more accessible and affordable than it has been to date.

"We have opened the market to millions of new customers, and we want to build on that as BT Sport becomes the undisputed home of European football."

"We are of course giving our best offer to existing customers - broadband customers will get the new BT Sport Pack for the heavily discounted price of £5, whilst customers who take broadband and TV from us will get it absolutely free."

In response, Sky has said that the audiences for European football matches have dwindled in recent year with domestic Premier League matches remaining the most popular games.

But experts still felt that the offer would put BT head-to-head with Sky.

"These wealth of announcements demonstrate BT's clear appetite to be a credible player in the UK," said Mr Pescatore.

"It has raised the stakes, and Sky will need to respond," he added.

BT also announced that it has added Gary Lineker to its roster of sports presenters.

Lineker will front BT's Champions League coverage with Rio Ferdinand and Jake Humphrey.

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