BBC iPlayer 4K streaming now available on PS4
James R | On 20, Jun 2018
In news that will delight football fans across the UK, BBC iPlayer is now available in 4K on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
In a UK TV first, BBC iPlayer is streaming all 29 of BBC One’s World Cup matches in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) this year, but the service is only a trial of the new tech – there are a limited number of spaces available for each game on a first-come, first-served basis.
Just in time for the first week of the tournament, though, fans are about to see more competition for those coveted Ultra HD slots: PS4 Pro owners with a 4K TV will be able to stream all of BBC iPlayer’s UHD content, thanks to a new update on the console. The new iPlayer app will output at 3840 x 2160, with the BBC’s UHD logo in the top right of the screen indicating that you’re watching a 4K stream.
The World Cup streams haven’t been entirely successful so far, as the BBC stress tests its servers and bandwidth: fans have taken to Twitter to complain of dropped connections, intermittent buffering and poor image contrast during the UHD live-streams, all issues that the BBC will be looking to identify and fix, as it tweaks its 4K infrastructure for the future.
For more on which matches are showing on which channel, how to live-stream the games and how to watch the World Cup in 4K and VR, click here for our World Cup streaming TV guide.
BBC to stream 2018 World Cup live in Ultra HD and VR
31st May 2018
The BBC will stream the 2018 FIFA World Cup live to audiences in Ultra HD and virtual reality.
From BBC Three to BBC Taster, the Beeb has long sought to experiment with new streaming technology, particularly when it comes to streaming quality. This summer, it’s scoring another breakthrough, kicking off two major new trials.
The first will see all 29 of BBC One’s World Cup matches available in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) on BBC iPlayer – but fans should grab their seats early as there are a limited number of spaces available for each game on a first-come, first-served basis.
To watch the most life-like World Cup coverage the BBC has ever shown, audiences will need a compatible Ultra HD TV and a high speed internet connection (at least 40Mbit/s for the full 3840 pixel Ultra HD or 20Mbit/s for 2560 pixel Ultra HD). The 4K stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins until the trial is full for that match.
The BBC will use the Hybrid Log-Gamma version of HDR it invented with Japanese broadcaster, NHK. It provides improved picture quality not only to HDR Ultra HD devices, but to the vast majority of Standard Dynamic Range Ultra HD devices too.
The experience and data gathered from this trial will help the BBC to optimise UHD delivery in the future, as well prepare for a time when delivering such large-scale events in such high quality, for larger audiences, over the open internet is normal.
The second trial is the BBC’s first VR World Cup coverage, which will bring all 33 BBC matches from Russia through a dedicated BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app.
The app will be available for free on Apple (iOS 10 and above), Android (Android 5 and above), Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR. Anyone with a smartphone or compatible VR headset can open the app and find themselves inside their very own luxury private box in a Russian stadium. If there’s a game on, they can watch from the best seat in the ground by heading over to the box’s giant viewing window and looking out onto the pitch from their BBC Sport sofa.
From here, audiences can access a range of live match stats that pop-up from the virtual coffee table, or they can switch their view and choose to sit behind either one of the goals to get up-close to the action. And when there’s no game taking place, fans can watch a daily highlights package and other on-demand content on one of the virtual big screen TVs available in other areas of the private box.
Matthew Postgate, BBC Chief Technology & Product Officer, says: “The BBC has brought major live broadcasting breakthroughs to UK audiences throughout the history of the World Cup. From the very first tournament on TV in 1954 and England’s finest hour in 1966, to the first colour World Cup in 1970 and full HD in 2006. Now, with these trials we’re giving audiences yet another taste of the future.”