BBC to stream World Cup matches in 4K ultra HD

Three World Cup football matches
being played in Brazil this summer will
be streamed in ultra high-definition
(UHD), the BBC has announced.
The format, also known as 4K, offers
four times the resolution of 1080p high
definition video.
The matches – including the quarter
final and the final – mark one of the
first times a live event has been
streamed over the air in UHD in the UK.
They will only be made available to a
limited number of TVs at BBC sites.
But it could pave the way for more
widespread use of the technology.
One of the biggest challenges of
distributing UHD TV to the home is how
to make it compatible with existing
broadcast and broadband capacities.
Users need speeds of around 20Mbps
(megabits per second) in order to watch
4K content without glitches, experts
say.
“It’s a good idea for the BBC to trial
these things and the results on a large
screen look impressive but it also needs
to be realistic about the potential to
push this across current broadcast
networks,” said Toby Syfret, an analyst
at Enders research group.
Previously the BBC has worked with
Japanese broadcaster NHK on such
trials. Rival broadcaster Sky has also
run 4K trials.
The live streams will be distributed via
satellite, but only to a handful of UHD
TV sets in selected BBC Research and
Development facilities.
Matthew Postgate, controller of BBC
Research and Development said: “The
trials will prove hugely valuable in
furthering our understanding of UHD
technology, and potential distribution
models for the future.”
4K is the next great hope for TV
manufacturers hoping to persuade
viewers to upgrade their sets but like
any fledging technology it has
experienced teething problems.
There is not a great deal of content
available yet in the format and the
costs of 4K TV sets remain high.
Netflix recently made some of its TV
shows – including House of Cards and
Breaking Bad – available in the new
technology but the decoder required to
view the content was not compatible
with some early 4K televisions.

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