LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 2010: For decades, German sport on television has been associated with one program above all others – Sportschau, the weekend sports roundup produced by West German Broadcasting (Westdeutsche Rundfunk, or WDR) and broadcast on the main German public-service terrestrial channel ARD. As the Winter Olympics opened in Vancouver and German public-service TV channels began their long-planned transition to high-definition broadcasting, the much-loved Sportschau moved to a new timeslot on Saturday nights, and, from February 13, 2010, began transmission in high-definition with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.
WDR needed to ensure that the whole of Sportschau could be broadcast with a 5.1 surround soundtrack every week, even when older or archive material with a stereo soundtrack was due to be included – a considerable technical challenge. Many viewers find it jarring when a stereo segment is broadcast in the midst of a modern high-definition transmission which otherwise features a full 5.1 soundtrack. The stereo parts seem extremely ‘flat’ by comparison. After an intense period of testing various ways of up-mixing stereo to surround, WDR turned to UK manufacturer SoundField and acquired one of its UPM-1 Stereo-to-5.1 processors to handle the job. more