(Pocket-lint) - New tech in the BT Sport app will bring new features to football fans including 360 pitch-side viewing and Watch Together. Many of the features use the iPhone's augmented reality (AR) capabilities using Apple's AR Kit.
To begin with, the tech will available to EE customers with the EE Full Works Plan for iPhone. While BT says the plan is 'optimised for iPhone 12', most of the features will be coming to all current iPhones available on the plan and will also come to iPhone users on other networks in due course, as well as those EE customers not on the Full Works Plan (presumably at extra cost).
The features coming to the BT Sport iOS app include:
- 360-degree pitch-side viewing so you feel like you are in the ground. You can even now "pinch to zoom" to home in on your desired areas of interest
- 'Watch Together' enables fans to video chat with friends in a unique split-screen - EE says this is for iPhone 12 owners at present: "EE 5G iPhone 12 customers with the Full Works plan can create their own Watch Together rooms and invite any other BT Sport customer to join them". This feature is similar to Sky's recently-introduced Fanzone feature.
- Match Day Live enables you to access team line-ups and stats in AR
- Stadium Experience for behind the scenes access with AR -depending on the club, you can see areas such as dressing rooms, dugouts, trophy rooms and the tunnel. This also uses the iPhone 12 Pro's LiDAR capability if available
- Dolby Atmos for multi-dimensional audio, coming later in the season
- Manager Mode to add real-time graphics to match coverage augmented on the pitch
Match Day Experience features will be available for BT Sport’s live Saturday lunchtime Premier League match to begin with and then some of the features will come to other BT Sport coverage in the future including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Emirates FA Cup and Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
Customers taking out the EE Full Works Plan for iPhone before 15 January 2021 will get 24 months of the BT Sport App with Match Day Experience included as part of their plan. EE Full Works customers also get access to Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade plus uncapped and unlimited mobile data.
During the online launch of the new service this morning, BT/EE consumer chief Marc Allera said that the new features could go some way to replacing the live sport experience at the present time: "Sport for so many of us, it entertains us, it connects us socially, and it can unite us as well. I think being able to watch sport together is probably one of the things that I miss the most so many of our viewers will miss the most as well.
"We've always looked with BT Sport to push the boundaries of our technology. In 2018 BT Sport teams came together to make the Wembley Cup the first sporting event broadcast live over 5G using remote production.
"And over the last few years, BT Sport and EE have used a mix of technologies to deploy the most advanced remote production of any broadcaster, meaning fewer people need to be on-site here in the studio, in stadiums, and all sorts of sporting events. So we were able to keep our people safe and socially distance. And not only that, but it also builds on our sustainability ambitions, because less people need to travel, and it creates so many more opportunities for us."
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