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Spark Sport moving to provide high picture quality

Spark Sport moving to provide high picture quality in lead up to RWC
Spark Sport viewers will soon notice an increase in picture quality while watching live and on demand sport, thanks to improvements in the way the platform streams video content to devices.

Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, says his team is adding a feature to the Spark Sport platform to ensure viewers receive the best possible video quality rendition that works for their device. The highest rendition on compatible devices will be High Definition (1080p), 60 frames per second and a bit rate of up to 7Mb/s (an increase from the previous top bit rate of 6Mb/s).

“Spark Sport is dedicated to delivering our customers a high-quality viewing experience. We have listened to customer feedback over the past few weeks and want to deliver a higher quality picture for our customers.

Latch explains the solution optimises the video quality for each device type, “Within the next week, Spark Sport will provide the highest video quality that each device supports. This means we will be offering the best possible viewing experience across Spark Sport compatible devices in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.

“For context, when we launched in beta in March 2018, we offered a framerate of 60 frames per second. As we launched a range of Spark Sport apps to ensure that we were available on an increased range of devices, it was necessary to lower the default framerate to 30 frames per second, as some of the new devices didn’t offer a good viewing experience at 60 frames per second. In the meantime, we’ve developed a framerate selector, which will launch soon and will allow us to offer 60 frames per second to devices that are equipped to deal with it, while still offering 30 frames per second to devices that are better off at that level.

“All our existing Spark Sport customers will benefit from this and we think sports lovers will be pleased with how Spark Sport will soon show up on their screens.”

Spark Sport will launch shortly on 2019 LG TVs. However, despite extensive collaboration between Spark Sport app development and the device manufacturer, the Spark Sport app experiences significant issues playing on 2017 and 2018 LG TVs, so the app will not be made available on these devices before the Rugby World Cup.

People with older LG TVs can still watch Spark Sport on their existing TV, by using a streaming device such as an Apple TV, a Google Chromecast or a Freeview Smart VU. This is the same situation as pre-2017 models of Samsung TVs, Sony TVs and Panasonic TVs and any model of smart TV that are not one of the four brands that Spark Sport supports.

The Spark Sport team has a range of options in place to help customers who have purchased a 2017 or 2018 LG TV since 20 December 2018 (the date Spark Sport announced that LG TVs would support Spark Sport) and who also hold a Spark Sport subscription or RWC Tournament Pass. These customers should head tohttps://help.sparksport.co.nz/device-support/watching-on-lg-tv for more information.

With Rugby World Cup 2019 getting underway in just under a month, excitement is quickly building around Rugby’s most anticipated event.

Latch says the All Blacks are not the only NZ team being tested this RWC, “we know the New Zealand public will be watching our performance closely and we’re confident we’re going to deliver a strong performance off the back of our extensive preparations and pre-tournament testing.

“We’re well into our final preparations for RWC 2019. Our teams are strengthening our app and website, we’re running stress tests to ensure our platform hold ups throughout the tournament and we’re getting the team organised for game day.

“There’s a huge sense of excitement in the office at this point and the team is looking forward to bringing this event to Kiwis through a strong streaming performance.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For RWC 2019, Spark Sport will be available on:

• Popular web browsers
• Google Chromecast
• Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K
• Freeview SmartVU
• 2017+ Samsung Smart TV
• 2017+ Panasonic Smart TV
• Android and iOS mobile and tablets
• 2017+ Sony Android Smart TV
• 2019 LG Smart TV
• Freeview A2 recorder

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