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BBC iPlayer broadcasts live sport in 4K HDR before the 2018 World Cup

Written by  Apr 23, 2018

Over the weekend, the BBC successfully broadcast a live sporting event in 4K HDR in order to trial the feasibility of doing so for the Russia World Cup and/or beyond.

It streamed the Rugby League match between York City Knights and Catalans Dragons in Ultra HD and HLG on BBC iPlayer Beta. It's the first time the broadcaster has done so in such a high quality format live.

Previous 4K HLG trials, with Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II respectively, were limited to on demand content. However, the entirety of the latter series was available for almost a month from December last year until early January.

Those with the beta version of iPlayer installed on their HLG-capable 4K TVs were able to view the rugby action, although it wasn't widely advertised.

The Beeb will be analysing the statistics it received in order to understand how to present live 4K HDR events in future.

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Although it is yet to reveal those plans, it is hoped they will include at least part of the World Cup tournament that starts on 14 June.

FIFA has already announced that all matches will be shot in Ultra HD and HDR, with some countries committed to broadcasting them in that format. And with the BBC owning the rights to half of them, we're hoping it will offer at least the semi-finals and final in 4K.

The rest of the matches will be shown by ITV in the UK. We have not heard of any plans for ITV to trial or broadcast 4K content any time soon.

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