Thomson and TF1 taps Rugby World Cup

By Kevin Hilton

The Rugby World Cup begins today (Friday, September, 7) at the
Stade de France and, like many other sporting events of comparable size
and importance, will be originated in high definition and broadcast in
the format for the first time in

France.
French broadcaster TF1 is providing host broadcast services through its TVH subsidiary but is working with the

UK’s
ITV Sport as not all matches are being staged in

France.

Games will be held at the Millennium Stadium in

Cardiff,

Wales and Murrayfield in the Scottish capital,

Edinburgh,
as well as at leading French venues. TVH, with ITV Sport, is in charge of producing the international feed, providing facilities and booking, while TWI, a subsidiary of the IMG media group, is handling distribution of the international signal, dealing with unilateral broadcasters and arranging interviews.

Much of the equipment and technology being used for the tournament is being provided by French manufacturer Thomson, which has a long-standing partnership with TF1. Most the

OB companies
working at the venues will be using Thomson cameras, vision misers and commutations grids to produce HD feeds.

The central control room has been designed to work in both SD, which will be made available to all platforms, and HD, for satellite and TV services using ADSL. Test sites for HD over digital terrestrial TV in Paris, Lyon and Marseille will also be transmitting coverage of the event. Digital transmitters in

Paris and

Rennes will additionally carry HD DTT
signals.

TF1’s technical director, Gilles Maugars, commented, “The longstanding partnership TF1 has with Thomson, notably in central control room broadcasting, will make it possible for us to bring the Rugby World Cup to millions of television viewers with, for the first time in France, full, exclusive HD images, which are now broadcast on most networks.”

The Rugby World Cup climaxes with the final, also at the Stade de France, on October 20.