The Ryder Cup golf tournament in Ireland has received comprehensive coverage on Sky. It is the first major event to be shown simultaneously across all its platforms: standard and high-definition satellite television with a full interactive service, as well as broadband and mobile.
Sky is the host broadcaster for the event, which is being televised in 140 countries worldwide.
In the UK the ‘press red’ interactive prompt can now be seen over a high-definition screen on Sky, with an interactive application linked from both Sky Sports HD and the standard definition Sky Sports 1 channel.
Interactive options include constantly updated highlights from the day’s play and across the matches, off-course coverage from the press room and practice areas and a video tour of each hole on the course.
Intriguingly, on the high-definition set-top box, the main channel shown in the picture-in-picture window is taken from the high-definition source. Even when displaying a standard-definition picture-in-picture the image is surprisingly crisp on a high-definition display. The result is actually quite watchable, rather than the compromise often associated with quarter-screen video in interactive applications.
It demonstrates the point that has previously been made on informitv that high-definition can change the interactive proposition. While the number of viewers with high-definition boxes may be relatively small, the interactive experience is also improved by the increased picture quality.
Conversely, standard definition interactive services look pretty poor by comparison. Tricks that have been used to squeeze multiple screens into a standard-definition picture reveal the inadequacy of their reduced resolution.
Complementing an online service there are also two video streams available to Sky Sports subscribers with broadband, with live coverage from start to finish across all three days and a constantly updated highlights stream.
The live coverage and highlights is also available as part of the Sky Mobile TV video streaming service with compatible handsets and the relevant subscription packages.