UTV has taken further steps towards becoming a full HD broadcaster after purchasing kit to service a contract for BBC2’s MotoGP coverage, which began in Qatar at the weekend.

It said the deal to provide worldwide satellite downlinks, sound and graphics, archiving, storage and network feeds to BBC TV Centre provided the impetus for additional investment in HD-capable kit.

The initial stages of the MotoGP season are transmitting in SD, but UTV says the BBC could ask for it to be delivered in HD towards the end of the season.

Broadcast resources manager Gerry Feeney expects UTV to deliver a full HD schedule “around the middle of this year”.

“One of the aspects we looked at was delivery and how we get HD to the BBC in London,” Feeney said.

“Two weeks ago, we bought two Ericsson RX8200 HD satellite receivers, which were used at the weekend for the feed delivered from Qatar. Our core infrastructure has been migrated to HD, but it has to be backwards compatible to SD infrastructure.”

Last month, UTV purchased a Snell Kahuna production switcher to work alongside a Snell Cygnus HD router and Miranda HD multi-screens.

The broadcaster has also installed Snell’s Morpheus automation system and Pixel Power’s Brandmaster switcher.

Feeney said it was hard to put a figure on the total investment required to shift from SD to HD.

“£1m wouldn’t cover it,” he added.

The MotoGP coverage is made by Century TV.