31/05/2018 11:24 BST | Updated 31/05/2018 11:53 BST

BBC Will Stream The World Cup In 4K HDR - Here's Why That's Important

This is a big step for how we watch TV.

The BBC has announced that for the first time ever, it will be streaming the World Cup in 4K HDR via BBC iPlayer.

Those wanting to catch the matches in this extreme resolution will need to be quick though as each match will only be offered to the first tens of thousands who click on the link and have a compatible TV.


While both Sky and BT offer some live 4K content via their TV packages this will be one of the first times that live TV in 4K has been streamed purely over the internet.

4K or Ultra-HD is a huge leap beyond High Definition (HD) as it offers four times the number of pixels. As a result content becomes incredibly sharp allowing you to make out even the tiniest details like the markings on a footballer’s boot or even the individual hands on a referee’s watch.

Now while 4K affects the sharpness of an image, HDR or High Dynamic Range is a new technology that then greatly enhances the overall quality of that image making it much brighter, more colourful and almost lifelike.

While the number of gadgets that support these technologies has increased from TVs to even some smartphones like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9, the amount of content is still growing.

Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Apple’s iTunes store now all offer some 4K HDR content but very few services actually allow you to stream live 4K content.

David Becker via Getty Images
4K HDR TVs offer a quite significant boost in clarity and brightness over older HD TVs.

The reason for this is that it requires an extremely fast internet connection, something that many of us in the UK still don’t have.

According to the BBC in order to actually stream the World Cup in 4K HDR you’ll need an internet connection of at least 40Mbps or 20Mbps for a slightly reduced resolution version.

In addition to the 4K stream the BBC will be showing over 30 matches in virtual reality (VR) through a dedicated app which will become available soon.

The app will be available to those with iOS or Android Devices, Oculus headsets and through PlayStation VR.



For those committed enough to watch the match with a virtual reality headset on they’ll be treated to a virtual viewing room where they can watch the match on a big screen.